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!
Blindfold sensory challenge
A mix between a memory game and a sensory exclusion activity, try this fun challenge out with your toddler, and they can have a go at testing you, too!
Sensory and focus
Attention to detail
What you’ll need:
Lots of items, as varied in texture, shape, size and weight as possible.
A blind fold of some sort – a scarf, a tea towel, or even a hat pulled low will do it.
Lay the items out on a tray, or on the ground. For younger children, let them look at/explore the items first. For older children, you might want to start with them never having seen them before.
Cover your child’s eyes, and place an object in their hands for them to feel.
Help them to describe how it feels – is it rough? Smooth? Heavy? Etc.
Top tips (and what we learnt along the way):
- Try to include a few items that are similar in certain ways, but with subtle differences. You can make this as challenging as you like, depending on your child’s age and ability.
- This is an activity you can dip in and out of. Leave it to one side, and keep coming back for another go now and then.
- Let your toddler blindfold you and have you guess what they put in your hands. It’s great fun for them to watch you play the game too.
At 2 and a half, Oscar was definitely on the young side for this game. It took him a couple of ’rounds’ to get the idea, but making me take turns to wear the blindfold really amused him, and it seemed to really help him grasp the concept. Dipping in and out of this one worked well for us, interspersing the ’rounds’ with other activities and coming back to it.
For older ones –
- Include groups of objects that have more similarities – perhaps a selection of coins or buttons, or a few pebbles, for example. Choosing things that will really require an attention to detail to recognise again once they remove their blindfold will add to the challenge.
- As an added twist to the game, you could let your child feel an object, then take it away. Once they remove their blindfold, rather than letting them see a selection of objects to choose from, ask them to draw what they think they were feeling. See how close they can get with their interpretations!
Thank you to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for support with this content.