Outdoor Activities for Children this Summer
Getting outdoors is so important for children. It assists in the development of curiosity and enquiry, and enables children to connect and interact with their community and feel a sense of belonging.
It’s also important for your child’s health, with the outdoors offering many physical and mental benefits.
With summer finally here and lockdowns lifted, it’s a great opportunity for you and your child to get out and about, enjoy the fresh air and soak up some vitamin D.
Outdoor experiences are a significant part of our Summer Learning Program. From water play to science experiences and excursions into the local community, there is something to spark every child’s needs and curiosity.
Here are some great – and free – outdoor experiences you can create at home with the children.
Playing with water is a great experience for children of all ages, and the learning opportunities just seem to ‘flow’! Water can change its form, temperature, shape and volume quickly and easily – so it really is an ideal real-world play experience.
At Guardian play-based learning is the basis of our curriculum. It’s not just play for the sake of it. There is always intention behind what we do, and outcomes for the children.
Try a Water Relay Race at home – it’s a great way to get the children outdoors and active, and has the added benefit of cooling them off (and probably you too!). Simply set up two large tubs – one filled with water, and the other empty. Place some smaller cups at one end and use them to transfer the water from one tub to the other. See who can transfer the water the fastest without spilling too much. It’s great fun, but it also teaches children about the way water moves, concepts around volume as well as fine-tuning their coordination and motor skills.
Getting your child involved in gardening is a great learning experience.
Whether you have a large yard or a balcony with space for small pots, there is plenty to do. Embrace the fun of growing some fruit, vegetables or even some beautiful flowers. You can check with your local gardening centre about what grows best at this time of year in in your local area. Or you can even start your own worm farm, which is a great hands-on way to teach about sustainability, nature, how food is grown, and the lifecycle of plants.
Gardening with children is also a chance to get their hands dirty – which we all know they love to do. They will also practice patience, as their plants may take weeks or months to sprout. Once it’s time to harvest your crops, enjoy them in a healthy outdoor picnic!
‘Tricky’ play refers to the physical and mental challenges associated with experiences that encourage children to try new things and test their limits to grow and learn. Activities such as climbing a fort, leaping from log to log, or rolling down hills are great. These experiences will help your child develop their coordination, balance, and fine and gross motor skills.
Tricky play will help make your child more resilient, confident and better at risk assessment. So, take your child to the local park where they can race up the climbing net, play tag with their friends or roll in the grass.
Yoga teaches children balance, flexibility, breathing techniques (which are beneficial self-calming tools). But it also gives your child the chance to laugh and have fun as they experiment with different poses.
Bring a yoga mat outdoors, or simply practice on a soft patch of grass to connect you and your child with nature. You can even take our short and sweet ‘Mummy and Me’ yoga session outside onto the grass.
But don’t forget to follow these Sun Smart tips when heading outdoors with your child.
In Australia, we have exceptionally strong sunlight, which can lead to overexposure to UV rays – the leading cause of skin cancer. It’s important to set a good standard and be a positive role model when it comes to sun safety.
This means to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide – the SunSmart statement to live by.
- SLIP on and cover up with your protective clothes
- SLOP on your sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside
- SLAP on a hat that shades your face, neck, head and ears
- SEEK out some soothing shade to set up under
- SLIDE on a pair of Australian-approved sunnies.
Encouraging your child to practice sun safety can be a challenge, but it’s necessary, so you may have to get creative in this department.
Take your child shopping for their own cool new wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. If your child is old enough, give them some independence when it comes to applying sunscreen. Even invest in a beach tent or umbrella so you can create your own shade while not missing out on fun outdoor activities.
Find out more about our Summer Learning Program. It’s completely free for enrolled families and will run 14 December, 2020 – 29 January 29, 2021 at every Guardian Centre.
This year we will also be running ‘A Flying Start to School’ program (4 January – 29 January 2021) for older children who are moving on to primary school. This program will include extra experiences designed to help prepare children for the exciting transition to school.
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