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Toddlers learn by exploring. So when the weather's good, and they can finally spend more time outside, there's a whole new world for them to adventure around in. Try these fun nature-inspired activities that will keep them occupied in the fresh air for hours on end.
Use chalk to draw a target – a big circle with two smaller ones inside, and a bullseye – on a fence or wall, and then make mud balls to throw at it. To make the mud balls, mix soil, sand and water into a thick paste, roll into balls, and roll around in some extra sand. Then assign points for each circle and take it in turns to throw. With mud looking a lot like chocolate to a little one, keep an eye out to make sure they don’t try to taste it!
Of course, this could get messy, but don’t worry. First, make sure that everyone washes their hands thoroughly as soon as they come in. Then, just pop any muddy clothes into the wash with a handy, Fairy Non Bio Pod. The 3in1 no enzyme pods have an added ingredient to make fabrics huggable and soft on your toddler’s sensitive skin.
Remember, as with all household detergents, keep Fairy Non Bio Capsules out of sight and reach of children. The Family pack has an improved child lock, so make sure to keep it closed tight as well as out of sight.
This is one that will prepare you for the next rainy day. Spend a day collecting pretty sticks, feathers and leaves (children LOVE collecting stuff!) and point out the different shapes and sizes as you go along.
Then when you get home, or on the next rainy day, they can use poster paint to make leaf prints, and non-toxic glue to stick the feathers, sticks and any other bits and pieces they've found on to paper to create a natural masterpiece.
If the sun's shining, it's time to get the paddling pool out! To make it more fun, seek out seashell and fish-shaped toys to put in there (real sea shells are lovely, but make sure they don't have sharp edges), and you can even use non-toxic water colouring (available in toy shops) to colour the water ocean blue. If you have a sandpit as well, place the pool near to it for a beach feel, so they can make sand castles too.
Always make sure your child is supervised in the water – even a few inches can be dangerous if you're not there – and check the water isn’t too hot or cold before putting them in. On hot days ensure your little one has plenty of sun protection for their sensitive skin, including a parasol while they're sitting still.
There's something really appealing to toddlers about the idea of a little house of their own, and it's easy in the summer to help them play this game. If you have an easy-to-erect tent, put it up in the garden, or peg some old sheets up between fences or trees to create a den.
Then take out some plastic bowls and cups, help them make a pretend campfire, and make their imaginary guests a fine campside ‘dinner’ – you could chop up some fruit and veg to serve (and snack on!). Bring out a blanket for cosy cuddling up by the “campfire”, washed in Fairy Snuggly Soft Fabric Conditioner. It’s been 100% dermatologically tested for extra soft snuggles!
If you have a path, driveway or patio, you can get some coloured chalk and let them go wild drawing on it. They might want to draw a game, like hopscotch, or their family, or you could encourage them to draw a whole garden on the path, with colourful flowers and leaves.
Then you can either wash it away at the end of the day, or keep it there until the next bout of rain washes it away naturally.
Kids love rocks. The endless sizes, shapes, colours and textures, from craggy flint to smooth pebbles. So help them to collect rocks of all shapes and sizes in a bucket, and then lay them out, sorting according to size.
Dig some of the larger rocks into the soil, then pile them up so they're stable, and pot in some alpine plants or succulents for a colourful effect. Your little one will see it as their own magical garden.
What outdoor activities do your tots and toddlers love to do?
Share your ideas in the comments box below.