Join me on my quest to keep a toddler entertained in my garden and home, with nature as our inspiration, and with fun (and a bit of learning!) as our goal. My 2 and ½ year old will test out these simple and easy-to-do-at-home activities; we’ll let you know the results, and would love to hear how you get on, too. I’ll offer some Outdoor Learning Top Tips on how to adapt the activities for older children, and suggest what skills each activity helps you and your child explore. All the activities are simple, use mostly things you will find in and around your home, and will be free, and will hopefully help to keep you both entertained (and sane!) a they have done for me. Enjoy!
You will probably enjoy this one as much as they do.
Art and Creativity
What you’ll need:
- Paper or card
- Colouring pens/pencils/crayons
- Glue or Cellotape
- Blunted cocktail sticks or wooden skewers (optional)
Depending on the age of your child, this might be an activity you may have to take much more of a lead on the design and creating, but the end result is sure to capture the imagination of all ages.
Create some characters by drawing them on paper or card and cutting them out. You or your child can bring them to life by adding colour, faces, etc.
Add a loop of paper on the back to turn the character into a finger puppet, or attach a stick or skewer (blunted) to the back to make into a stick puppet.
You can create a back drop too (optional), which can be as simple or as elaborate a scene as you fancy. Once it’s created, have a go at playing out a story with the characters. You can introduce props, different voices, and more characters to really get their imagination fired up.
If you are feeling particularly ambitious, you could even have a go at filming your own mini production!
Top tips (and what we learnt along the way):
- For younger ones, make the puppets really simple. Shapes and images they will recognise.
- If you or your child prefer, you can try cutting out characters from magazines, cereal packets, etc.
- Have a go at ‘performing’ a production to your child, and then switch for them to perform one to you. Get the whole family involved if you can.
Whilst Oscar wasn’t interested in helping with the design and creation (despite repeated invitations!), he really enjoyed wearing the finger puppets on his fingers, and letting them ‘interact’ with the puppet I was using at the time. This was definitely an activity that we dipped in and out of throughout the day, and it’s been put aside for future puppet sessions, too, which I really like about it.
For older ones –
- Let them design and create their own characters and set.
- Can you make a food chain? Or the water cycle? A great way to get interactive with the sciences!
Thank you the National Lottery Heritage Fund for support with this content.