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.
Create a can of ‘Wooley Worms’ from old wool/ribbon/string and…. Oh No! They’ve all escaped… See if your toddler can creep up on them and get them safely back in their can!
What you’ll need:
- Some old wool/string/ribbon that you don’t mind cutting up
- A jar/tin/box (optional)
Get your toddler focused with this simple but effective activity. Introduce your toddler to the ‘Woolley Worms’. When they’re not looking, hide them along a vaguely linear feature – a hedge, a fence line, a living room wall – and then show your toddler the empty container – Oh No! They’ve escaped! Guide them to the start of the linear feature (perhaps where you last saw a Wooley worm?!) and let them do some hunting.
Top tips (and what we learnt along the way):
- Depending on your childs age, it may help to point the first one or two out to them – don’t hold back on how exciting it is to find a Woolley Worm!
- Point out (or let your toddler name it, if they can) the colour of each worm as they find them.
- If your child has a good understanding of the activity, let them hide the Wooley Worms for you to find!
Oscar got so excited when he started finding the worms, and was happy to repeat the activity quite a few times. He got the gist of hiding them for us to find, and loved when we dramatically found the worms hiding places.
For older ones –
- If you can, have some colours that are similar to the background you use – i.e. green or brown for most outdoor settings. Add a few brightly coloured worms in, too. Which Woolley Worms were found first? Why? (adaptations, camouflage – where can this be seen in nature?)
- Hide all the worms – set a timer – how fast can you find them all? (make sure you count how many you have hidden!)
Thank you the National Lottery Heritage Fund for support with this content.