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!
Get creative, create a work of art, and learn about light and shadow with this simple activity – perfect for a sunny day.
Art and Creativity
What you’ll need:
- Interestingly shaped objects, along with a few that your child will recognise by their shadow.
- Some paper
Find a sunny spot, perhaps in the garden, or by a window. Lay out the paper, and place some of the objects at its edge to create their shadows. It may take a few goes to get them so their shadows are at their best. Ensure your child sits at the right side of the paper, so as not to create one giant shadow. Get drawing!
Top tips (and what we learnt along the way):
- If shadows are a new concept to your child (and, indeed, drawing around them!), then start by drawing around one or two yourself.
- Once you or your child have drawn around a shadow, remove the item, so you can see the drawing without the shadow.
- Try adding ‘extras’ to your shadows. Perhaps colouring them in, giving them eyes, etc, to really make them come alive.
Oscar isn’t yet able to draw around a shape remotely accurately, but he definitely grasped the idea of the shadows, and enjoyed his scribbling around them. He seemed quita fascinated when watching me draw around a shape, and then seeing the item removed.
For older ones –
To get their imagination going, try making whole scenes from your shadows. Try creating a whole scene by drawing around a single item in different places and at different angles.
Draw around one object. Leave the item in exactly the same place. Come back to it a little later. Has the shadow moved? Can you record it moving every hour? What does the overall picture look like?
Thank you the National Lottery Heritage Fund for support with this content.