Let's take a little wander through some of the fun activities we did outside last week with the family day care kids.
The weather is certainly warming up but it's no reason not to get outside and play...we just do our outside play early before it gets to hot!
We do most of our craft and messy play outdoors so the children are free to explore without me getting worried about where the mess is ending up inside!
We started our Christmas craft last week...we have a bit of a recycle theme going on in the program at the moment so most of our activities started with recycled items from around the house and repurposed.
I filled a few old foil trays with some water paint (edicol powder and water...too simple but gives lovely bright colours and the children enjoy mixing it to make the colours come to life) added a few egg carton trays, some brushes, some old medicine syringes and asked them to colour their cartons with whatever colours they wanted!
It was interesting to observe who went for the syringes and who went for the brushes and discuss why they chose the ones they did.
This activity was more about the process than an end product. I will be working with the kids to make some easy Christmas bells from them but making rainbows on the table was by far the best part of this activity for all involved!
We also began making some woollen Christmas balls to hang on the trees. A big basket of wool strands (pre cut or cut up by the older preschoolers), some cellmix paste and partially blown up balloons.
I did provide brushes but this activity is actually easier if the kids scoop up big globs of the lovely slippery paste and rub it all over the balloon before wrapping their wool strands around. Again it was about the process...some of them won't work but they had a lot of sensory fun and showed pride in making their creations.
We shall hopefully finish them this week and I can show you the finished balls.
With a younger toddler in care some days it's important to have some simple outdoor activities planned that all ages can join in safely.
My home made mesh dabbbers are a simple painting tool but babies and toddlers love to paint with them and they are easy for little hands to grab and hold onto.
I added a little paint onto our sponge pads which uses less paint and encourages the little artists to use their muscles and press down a little harder.
The dabbers are simply some cut up bath & kitchen sponges wrapped in the mesh from fruit bags and tied at the top with a knot.
They make lovely stamping patterns and we will be using these beauties for our Christmas wrapping paper .
Scourers also make great little stampers for toddlers and the ones with holes in the middle provide a handy little space for chubby fingers to grip.
There was simple water play most day...the silver teapots and jugs are very popular at the moment.
I use water play as an opportunity to talk about using our water wisely and recycling it where we can. If the children want to walk around the yard with water I ask that they water a plant or flower on their travels which they all do gladly.
We spend a lot of time in the garden, on this day we picked a few weeds from the vegie garden and threw them to the chickens. We also filled up their water with our watering cans and collected the eggs.
And there were new flowers and herbs to plant which of course had to be watered. We used the water from the trough we had been playing with so we didn't waste a drop!
Balls and boxes were very popular last week and I moved the ball pit (just balls in our favourite cardboard box from Daddy's work) around the yard and back verandah.
We combine our outdoor yard play with activities set up on the outdoor verandah. This way those that need to retreat or cool off from the sun for a while can find a little space to enjoy without having to go inside away from everyone else.
I buried some small balloons in with the balls and yelled out colours for each child to find. This was such a fun group game and of course helped with their colour recognition skills while the younger toddlers just had fun diving into the balls like they saw the big kids doing!
I set up a different mini obstacle course each day to encourage some spatial awareness exploration.
We talked about through, under, over, top and bottom while having fun!
The box went outside one day so little people could join in the fun....older kids soon found a use for the loose parts in the yard.
By resting the plastic piping against the table and into the box they soon found they could roll the balls down into the box. With a little problem solving they also figured out how to raise the bottom end a little (propping on the pot) so they could see the balls roll out.
And there is always the fun of collecting balls you have thrown around the yard...
We had a little friend pop by at morning tea time and I think he was more than a little startled when he heard lots of excited voices saying hello to him from the verandah!
I'm looking forward to this week's outdoor play too...don't forget to check back each Sunday (sometimes Monday I admit!) for more ideas and inspiration.
Have you been having fun outdoors? Is it hot or cold in your part of the world right now?