Being outdoors is good for your little one’s mental health AND microbiome health! Here at Chuckling Goat, we’ve compiled a list of tried and tested outdoor activities that help support your little one’s sensory and physical wellbeing. (Plus…they’re just plain fun! ; )
1. ‘Fruit Tea’
Fill a large container with water, chopped apples, lemons and oranges. Surround the container with kid-safe utensils, cups, mugs, teapots and other vessels for filling and pouring. Filling and pouring activities help develop fine motor skills and provide opportunities to explore simple math concepts such as ‘less’ and ‘more’. To minimise indoor mess and maximise benefits for your kids,1https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/6-reasons-children-need-to-play-outside-2018052213880 place the container outside and let them splash to their heart’s content.
2. Mud Kitchen & Potion Play
If you have a purpose-built mud kitchen – great! Otherwise, the same fun can be had with a simple collection of old kitchen pans, empty bottles, soil, picked grass, leaves and sprigs of herbs. Let them use their imagination to create messy ‘food’ and ‘potions’ of their choice. This open-ended nature of mud-play encourages creativity, curiosity and experimentation, not to mention the benefits of immune-boosting dirt!2https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-your-kids-microbiome-can-be-affected-when-they-play-outside
3. Nature Photography
Take a walk through fields, near the coast or even country/back roads, allowing your child to snap away at any plants, bugs or animals that grasp their interest. A polaroid camera works best for this as they get the gratification of an instant photo which can be stuck into a Summer scrapbook – bonus! Outdoor photography enables your child to enjoy the benefits of both connecting with nature3https://parentingscience.com/kids-connected-with-nature/ and engaging in a creative activity.
4. Rock Painting
This was one of our favourite lockdown pastimes. The added element post-lockdown is that you can collect suitable rocks and pebbles from anywhere – near or far. Using chalk paints, or good quality acrylic, little ones can create their own piece of artwork onto the rock face. Allow to dry before coating with a weather-resistant sealer (best that grown-ups to do this bit).
5. Barefoot Walking
Let them cast their shoes aside and go barefoot, whatever the weather – your little one will love the sensory experience and you’ll love that it’s improving their proprioception and balance.4https://www.healthline.com/health/walking-barefoot#potential-dangers
Barefoot walking should be practised on safe terrain/surfaces. Examine the bottom of feet at the end of this activity in case of minor injuries.