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!
Make a Mini garden
Make your own mini garden out of things you have around the house and garden.
Fine motor skills
What you’ll need:
A container (we used an old grape punnet)
A basket or box to collect things in (optional)
Soil/Sand/a mix of both
Items found in your garden and home (the possibilities are endless…)
Collect some small items from around the garden and/or your home (that you don’t mind getting wet) and gather them in a basket or box.
Fill your container with soil or sand or a mixture of both.
Help your toddler to arrange a garden. You can use pebbles as stepping stones, small sticks as trees, lumps of moss and grass as bushes, and you could even use a small pot/piece of tin foil to make a pond.
Top tips (and what we learnt along the way):
- Help your child to find suitable things around the garden, or have them pre-pared for them to assemble (with your help for younger ones)
- Using sand or dampened soil will help upright items stand up easier.
- Ask your child where someone might want to sit, where birds and other animals might live to get their imagination going.
Oscar loved collecting different items from around the garden, especially after we started putting the first few items in, and he got the gist of what we were making.
Oscar loved using the forks and spoons as ‘gardening tools’ and to fill the container up with soil and sand. I placed the first couple of ‘trees’ and ‘stepping stones’ to give him the idea of what we were doing.
For older ones –
- Have a go at drawing a plan for your garden before you start.
- Try using a larger tray, and adding more complex features such as ponds, garden furniture, fences, patios, and maybe even planting seeds to grow over time!
We would love to see some of your gardens. Take a picture and tag us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Sarah and Oscar x
Thank you to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for support with this content.