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.
Sticktionary is a great game to play with the whole family. We tried a simplified toddler version, which went down well with our nearly-3-year-old, and has become a game we keep coming back to in the garden. A great way to learn shapes and encourage imaginative play and creativity. The beauty of this activity is in its simplicity, and its ability to be played almost anywhere!
Art and design
What you’ll need:
- An area to play on
Gather some sticks (and anything else you want to make the pictures with) and find a flat-ish place to lay them out. Start creating shapes and characters with them – it really is that simple! Depending on the age and ability of your child, you might decide to ask them to make certain shapes, or make shapes yourself for them to guess or try to learn the names of.
In true sticktionary fashion, you could take it turns to make a shape while the other guess what it might be.
Top tips (and what we learnt along the way):
- Try to gather a good range of sticks and arrange them in size to make selection a bit easier later.
- If you make some characters, have some pebbles (or something similar) ready for eyes to help bring the characters to life.
- For younger ones, make a few shapes yourself first to let them get the idea of what the activity is about.
This has become an activity we keep returning to, which is great. Oscar is just learning shapes, so this was a brilliant activity to help him along with his shapes, and to start introducing new ones.
We also had a go at making a person (who became a farmer) and a cow that morphed into tractor – the possibilities were endless, and you could almost hear his imagination whirring!
For older ones –
- Play sticktionary! Start making a picture, and see how quickly someone else can guess it. If you want to get serious, try doing this with a timer and see who can guess the quickest. If you have a few family members you can play with, try playing this in teams and keeping score!
- Can you write your name with sticks? Maybe even a secret message?
Thank you the National Lottery Heritage Fund for support with this content.