Friday, 27 May 2016

TODDLER: 12 Easy Garden Activities

Despite almost being in June the weather in the England has been very unpredictable. We've had it all: hot days, rainy days, days that were rainy, cold, hot, hailing and cloudy all in one. However, we've not let that stop use having fun in the garden.


A while ago Isabella was kindly sent the Regn Kappa Sea Dots Rain Coat from Kozi Kidz and it's been such a staple for enjoying the outside during the spring months. It's knee length, fully waterproof, has a detachable hood, pockets for filling with exciting finds and very lightweight. The perfect combination for splashing in puddles, playing in the garden, trips to the park etc., not to mention it's adorable design. I really like that the cuffs have a Velcro strap that can be tightened, therefore reducing the length of the sleeves. Isabella has the rain coat in 12-24 months, so the sleeves are slightly too long at the moment. However, with the Velcro feature she can still have her hands free to explore and it means that the coat will last her a lot longer than some others. I'd highly recommend the Kozi Kidz Regn Kappa Sea Dots Rain Coat (also available in pink dots) for the spring/summer because it's not too warm, yet completely protects from the elements.

 There are plenty of expensive toys and play equipment you can buy for your little one to enjoy in the garden, but if you're looking for some more affordable activities then look no further! Here are 12 very affordable activities you can enjoy whatever the weather...

1) Collecting twigs/stones/leaves - Use a basket or bucket that your little one can hold themselves and then let the collecting begin! Isabella loved picking up twigs/stones to put into her basket and it was good practice for her coordination. You could also use the collected items in a craft activity, such as sticking them onto paper to create a nature scene.

2) Make a stone maraca/shaker - Isabella loves shaking anything that will make a noise, whether it be a maraca or a packet of crisps. Using an empty metal container (pringle tube or Tupperware container would work well too) we filled it with a few little stones, popped the lid on and shook it. So quick and affordable to make, we emptied the stones out and re-made it quite a few times too. It's an activity that can be repeated again and again! 
3) Put up a bird house and watch the birds - When birds fly around above us they always catch Isabella's eye, so a fun activity was for her to put a bird house up in the garden (with our help, of course). Every time we go into the garden she points at her bird house, which is so cute.
4) Spin a rainbow wind mill/spinner - Bright colours that move in the wind are a winner for grabbing the attention of a toddler. Add the fact that they can move it around themselves and lots of fun can be had. Isabella's great grandparents kindly gave this to her, but there's a similar one here or you can often find them in discount stores. Very affordable, add colour to your garden and provide entertainment for your little one...winning combination in my eyes.
5) Make music with kitchen utensils - Toddlers love making noise, so giving them plastic kitchen utensils to make music in the garden is an easy way to keep them occupied. I picked up a three set of plastic kitchen utensils for 50p from IKEA, very affordable and can be used for lots of different activities in the garden. You could also have some upturned metal bowls, saucepans etc. for an extra musical area.
6) Make a cauldron/soup/mixture of anything you can find in your garden - We went around the garden collecting anything I knew was safe to touch in the garden and added it to our 'cauldron'. Isabella loved stirring all of the 'ingredients' together, all good preparation for when we can properly bake together! You could add fresh herbs and some water to make this activity even more sensory based too.
7) Painting with water - The cheapest paint you'll be able to get your hands on and so effective too. You could paint on coloured paper, a patio or wall, there's no clearly up to so ad you may actually be getting a bit of cleaning done for you. Painting with water works really well on a blackboard too, so if you have an outdoor one or an blackboard easel (see the one we've got here) your little one can enjoy painting with water and a paintbrush. It's that simple!
8) Mini pouring station - Collect a range of measuring jugs from your kitchen (nothing breakable), fill them with water and place a container next to them outside. Let your little one enjoy pouring the water into the container, or at least trying to. It's a fantastic activity for coordination and if your child is anything like mine it will inevitably end up in splashing around in the water. I couldn't believe how good Isabella was at actually pouring the water into the container - I'm wandering if they do something similar at nursery. You could extend this activity by colouring the water a variety of colours and/or having a range of different size containers for the water to be poured into.
9) Splashing in puddles - After playing around at the mini pouring station we obviously had to have a good old splash around in the puddles that had been created. You can't beat a bit of splashing in puddles, despite the fact that Isabella can't jump yet she still loves walking through them.
10) Play on any play equipment you have in your garden - Isabella's Grandad bought her a swing for her first birthday and she's obsessed. Every time we go into the garden she walks straight towards it with her arms in the air. She loves it when we're pushing her and we pretend she's hit us by jumping out of the way...the giggles are infectious. In fact we've had neighbours comment on how lovely it is hearing Isabella giggling so much and it's all thanks to the swing!
11) Mark making with chalk on a wall or patio - Chalk is ideal for using outside because it washes away in the rain and it allows children to create as much mess as they want to while mark making. We bought these jumbo chalks from Tiger for around £3, but any chalk will do. I really want to install an outdoor blackboard somewhere in our garden, so Isabella can chalk on it/paint with water etc. It would be such a versatile addition - if you have one or have any advice for installing one I'd love to hear your experiences.
12) Flower/minibeast hunt - Watching minibeasts crawl around absolutely fascinates Isabella (adult supervision needed at all times to prevent minibeasts becoming hurt), she points at them and follows them around. She does a similar thing when she sees colourful flowers, so a classic flower/minibeast hunt is a fun activity for her. Depending on the weather will depend on which minibeasts you find and its a perfect activity for introducing new vocabulary to your little one.  
What are your little ones favourite activities in the garden?

Feel free to leave a comment :)

Helen x

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4 comments

  1. lol. I had to google what a minibeast was. I have never heard that term before! Ive been dying to put an outdoor blackboard in our backyard too but where I want to put it isn't under cover and I'm not sure if it would get wrecked by rain etc. I'll probably do it anyway! Some really great ideas here. I especially love the little windmill idea. I'll be keeping an eye out for some of those.

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  2. Great post! We do most of these although I keep putting off the pouring station because it means lugging water downstairs (I also keep putting off buying a water butt...). Matilda also enjoys making shadows on the white wall of our shed, smelling the herbs and chasing the neighbours' cat.

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  3. My boys love outdoors. Muddie puddles, playing with water and picking flowers a hit. I like the idea of collecting stones in a tun my youngest loves stone so a great entertainer idea. Another fun activity is having a mid kitchen they love yukky mud, haha! X #thelist

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  4. Thank you for sharing with us this delightful list of gardening activities. Your little one looks gorgeous in her outfit too. #thelist

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