Sun’s out, time to slap on the sunscreen and enjoy all the benefits of outdoor play!
Children crave being outdoors doing what they do best – exploring the world around them, burning off all that amazing energy, and discovering all the fun that can happen outside. But this year has put a bit of a dampener on their adventuring with the lockdown.
Well, mums and dads, it’s not too late to make the most of this glorious weather and let our wild ones roam free (just not overseas, of course!)
We’ve counted down our top activities to do outside with the kids and why it’s so important to play outside.
Time to play outside
Why outdoor play?
Outdoor play is good for your child’s physical health, development and self-confidence. It’s great fun too and is always a good way to get them feeling great, burning off energy and enjoying the great outdoors. But there are so many more benefits to outdoor play as follows:
- Outdoor play assists in the development of curiosity.
- It enables children to connect and interact with their community and feel a sense of belonging.
- Outdoor play is great for children’s health – the outdoors offers many physical and mental benefits.
- It encourages plenty of hands-on learning experiences (messy, yes, but that’s all part of the fun).
- Outdoor play activities (such as sand and water play) encourage early maths and science concepts as children measure sizes, quantities, and volume.
- It’s also beneficial for sensory development and hand-eye coordination.
- It provides children with a chance to move and develop those coordination and gross motor skills.
Five outdoor activities to try
Water play is a great experience for children of all ages, and the learning opportunities just seem to ‘flow’! It’s easy to bring water play to your backyard with a paddling pool, a hose and some bath and sand toys.
If you happen to have some bubble mixture on hand, grab it out and prepare for even more giggles!
Tricky play refers to play on things like playground equipment – slides, obstacle courses, climbing frames, etc.
However, you don’t have to have playground equipment to get them into tricky play. We recently set up a Floor is Lava obstacle course outside using pieces of timber from the garage, outdoor cushions, and a few rocks. So. Much. Fun!
Backyard Ninja Warrior is another favourite, and great for building confidence and resilience too.
This is a great activity because you’re teaching children all about sustainability, nature, how food is grown, and the lifecycle of plants, but you’re also getting something out of it – pretty plants or yummy veggies to enjoy.
It’s also a chance for children to get their hands dirty – which we all know they love to do – as well as learn patience, as their plants may take weeks or months to sprout.
Yes, sand play is messy, but it’s also so fun for children. You can pick up play sand through shops like Bunnings and let them make mud pies, sandcastles and anything else they wish.
My toddler loves sand play, but it does take a lot of self-restraint watching her throw sand all over the freshly mopped outdoor area.
Yoga teaches children balance, flexibility, breathing techniques (which are beneficial self-calming tools), and, most of all, gives your child the chance to laugh and have fun as they experiment with different poses.
Sun safe comes first
Of course, when it comes to outdoor play, make sure you are being extra sun safe and teaching your children how important it is to take the time to cover up and get ready before you go outside to play.
Follow the Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide statement and make this part of your outdoor play routine. First, we SLIP on protective clothes, SLOP on sunscreen, SLAP on a hat, SEEK out shade and SLIDE on sunnies. Then we play!
Outdoor play in childcare
Spending time outside with the children is so important but, let’s be honest, many of us have to juggle play with work, and thus, some days we aren’t at home to play outside.
Sure, we want to be there, splashing around and enjoying the sun, but it’s all about balance. #WorkingMumLife
This is why we love Guardian Childcare & Education. Not only do they offer children a comforting and safe home away from home, but they also incorporate outdoor play in their curriculum so children can still benefit from outdoor play, even if we’re stuck in the office.
In fact, they incorporate ALL of the activities above in their Summer Learning Program.
As Sharon Whiteman, Guardian Childcare & Education’s Chief Network Officer, explains,
Outdoor experiences are a significant part of our Summer Learning Program, which is unique to each Guardian Centre and tailored to the interests of the children.
These programs ensure our children have the opportunity to have a fun, engaging and social time during the holiday period, while continuing their learning journey – which is especially important for those older children about to transition to primary school.
Our Summer Learning Programs also support our families who have work and personal commitments over the summer period.”
And what we especially love is that children come home content and full of fun memories. Possibly a bit of sand in their shoes too, but, hey, at least it’s not all over the backyard!
Guardian’s Summer Learning Program is completely free for enrolled families and will run 14 December 2020 – 29 January 29, 2021 at every Guardian Centre. It’s definitely worth checking out!
If you aren’t already enrolled in Guardian Childcare, this may be one reason to consider their childcare centres. With over 110 centres across Australia, there’s a pretty good chance there is a Guardian near you.
Find out more
Guardian will also be running ‘A Flying Start to School’ program (4 – 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.
If you would like to experience the Guardian difference and secure your child a place in our Summer Learning Program, book a tour today!
We’ve heard nothing but great things about Guardian Childcare & Education Centres and their amazing programs. From water play to science experiences, gardening, and excursions out into the local community, there is something to spark every child’s needs and curiosity.