Is your child telling you they are bored or is your toddler showing signs of boredom? One of the best ways to entertain a bored child is to take them outside. The outdoors offer endless possibilities for having fun. It’s also a healthy alternative to playing in the house.
Here are some of the things you can do with your toddler, without having to leave your neighbourhood.
This activity is inspired by Eric Carle’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which most toddlers love. Here’s one way to transform this storybook into something practical and fun for your child.
Get a piece of chalk, go outside and pick your favourite spot on the sidewalk.
Draw a large circle with a face and antennas, then add ten or twenty more circles to create your huge caterpillar. Challenge your toddler to run from one end to the other of your caterpillar.
To make this activity more interesting, you can transform it into it a time challenge by bringing a stopwatch with you. Also, you can use coloured chalk and draw the circles in different colours, then encourage your child to jump from red to yellow to blue, for example.
WASH 'N' DRY
Water turns any activity into a blast for toddlers. So let’s get started:
Get a bucket or a big plastic container, fill it with water and add a few drops of baby shampoo to make sure this will be a tear-free activity. Gather some of your child’s favourite vehicles (bikes, scooters, tricycles etc.) and use some clean sponges to give them a really good clean. Playing with the bubbles throughout the process will most likely be a highlight!
After your child has had their fun with the bubbles, get a hose, rinse all suds off and let your toddler dry everything with clean old rags or towels, whatever you have close by. After all this hard work, encourage your child to take their sparkly-clean wheels on a parade-ride through your neighbourhood.
Growing their own edible plants will not only stimulate your child’s curiosity but will also give them a significant sense of accomplishment. At the same time, it is a great opportunity for them to fall in love with veggies.
You can transplant seedlings into pots filled with potting soil. Keep your plants in these pots as they grow and later you can plant them in your garden if you want. Some of the veggies you can try for this activity include tomatoes, basil, onions, and garlic.
This activity will give you the chance to get out of your backyard and explore the surroundings with your child.
You can let your child choose the route of your exploratory walk by creating index cards with arrows on them (left, right, forward, backward) and bring them with you. At each intersection you can let your toddler choose the way to go ahead with the help of an index card. Extend by getting to draw what they see at that junction to give them mapping knowledge.
To make it more interesting, you can try to predict/imagine what you will see on the next block: a red mailbox, a blue door, etc.
THE SNEAKY BEAR GAME
Pretend play is great for children because it not only stimulates their problem solving skills and empathy, but it also helps them make sense of the world around them.
Tell your toddler to pick three toys (a teddy bear, a ball and a toy car, for example) before “going to sleep” under a blanket. Then comes along the sneaky bear (you or another child) to steal one toy (hide it). Yell, “Wake up!” as soon as the toy is safely hidden. Your toddler has to figure out which of their toys were stolen.
You can make this activity more interesting and more difficult by having more than two players. You can have them each take turns at being the sneaky bear.
This activity involves making your own bubble solution by adding one cup of dishwasher soap to a gallon of warm water. The secret to getting monster bubbles is glycerine – add extra 2-3 tablespoons.
Pour your solution into a sheet-cake pan and dip in a large DIY wand (made by bending a wire hanger into a loop). Show your toddler how to dip the wand into the soap and then lift it slowly and walk backward to make a monster bubble.
You can get different shapes of bubbles depending on the wand you create, or you can use straws, pipe cleaners etc. For super-giant bubbles, you can pour the soapy solution into your child’s little pool and use a Hula-Hoop to make the bubbles.
This activity will help your child develop their gross motor skills, as it involves activities such as jumping, running, kicking and throwing.
Create an obstacle course in your backyard with things like buckets, balls and hula-hoops. You can get your child to throw tennis balls into the bucket or stepping in and out of a hula-hoop. Get creative!
Make this activity more fun by gathering more children from your neighbourhood and organising a race. Your child will have so much fun and will enjoy the social interaction.
Find a playgroup today...
A lot of parents and carers agree that playgroups offer children a chance to socialise and try new play activities, both outdoors and indoors. Whenever the weather allows it, you may like to try some of the play activities above with the children, parents and carers at your local playgroup for a day filled with fun and smiles.
Playgroups are an important part of early childhood, and parents across Australia recognise the importance these gatherings have to their children’s development.
Find a playgroup near you.
Feel free to contact us for any questions, enquiries, or additional information.