Saturday 29th July 2023
I hope you are all having a fabulous, pain free weekend with your child/children.
I had so much love on my post called Parenting Hack: Easy rainy day activities! that today I thought I would do one about easy outdoor play ideas that help give you a rest at the same time!
It is, of course, the summer holidays at the moment and I need you all to know that activities don’t have to cost you to benefit your child. We are all feeling the cost of living crisis at the moment. I am also a strong believer that as long as your child is with you, it doesn’t matter where you spend that time together or how much you spend on an activity, or whether it is indoors, outdoors or at home. As the old saying goes ‘The best things in life are free!’
So here are my top 3 easy outdoor play activities to help give you a rest yet keep your little one engaged and happy. Remember, we need to Fill up your own cup first!
1. Tuft trays
I went to a baby and toddler group with my son on Friday and in this group they had filled a tuft spot with dried oats and diggers and cars. Charlie straight away made a beeline for this activity and played in it for at least half the session.
After a fun filled morning at his Grandma’s today, this mamma needed a little rest! So, I decided to recreate this in the garden.
I am fortunate to have my own tuft spot that I purchased on Amazon when he was small. However, if you don’t own a tuft spot, a cardboard box, a plastic box, a baking tray or a sheet on the ground could be used instead to keep the cost of this activity low.
I already had the oats in and they were the cheapest oats from Tesco that you can buy but again just use what you already have in such as cereal or coco powder to look like mud, flour or rice.
I will admit there is some preparation time involved but it only took about 5 minutes. However, once you have it set up, your child can easily entertain themselves playing in the oats, scooping them up, sprinkling them, piling them up and generally working on their fine and gross motor skills. I sat back on a garden chair with a large glass of water whilst my son played for at least 15 minutes. There were times when I ran my hand through the oats, showed him how to operate one of his diggers and ways he could scoop because of his age (20 months) but still it gave me a much needed rest and was a great, engaging activity.
2. Water table fun
For Christmas last year, we bought Charlie a water table. This summer, he has absolutely adored playing in it. Again, at the group on Friday, they had water tables out with little plastic fish inside them so they could scoop them up with nets and jugs. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any nets at home but I improvised and used play cups and buckets so he could catch his fish.
Again, a very small preparation time and the only slightly heavy part is carrying jugs of water to the table but if your child is old enough they could carry it for you, you could use a hose pipe so you don’t have to hold a jug or ask your partner to fill it up for you. He had great fun with this activity and even brought the fish over to his oat tuft tray to combine the activities, whilst mummy soaked up some Vitamin D and tried her hand at pacing.
If you don’t have a water table, a washing up bowl will do the trick or a bucket. If you don’t have any play fish, pop a sponge in a bucket with soapy water and get them to wash their outdoor toys! Hours of fun!
(please do supervise children near water.)
3. Obstacle course
Charlie’s grandma has a beautiful cocker spaniel who loves agility. She can do jumps, weaves and tunnels and is such a pro at it. So today in her garden, we set out their equipment to play with the dog. Charlie loved watching her jump and weave about and dodge obstacles and I wondered how I could recreate this in my garden easily and without much effort on my part.
One item we used was a wash basket upside down on the floor. I asked him to stand on the wash basket, get down from it and run around it and he was ace at it. Plant pots are also a great idea where you could set out quite a few and demonstrate to them how to weave between them. (make sure yours are sturdy and empty unlike the stock image I have used!)
If you are lucky enough to have a little slide too you could put that at the end of the course for them to go down independently! Again, a little more energetic than the other two activities so could be saved for a day when you have a little more energy but was super fun to watch and helps your child get their physical activity in for the day.
(I do appreciate that not everyone has a garden and I feel grateful to have one but if you don’t have a garden these activities can be brought inside or played at a nearby green space.)
Mummy the Fibro Warrior Top Tip:
1. Have a list of easy outdoor activities you can set up for your child when you are having a flare or have minimal energy. Ball play, sand pits, rock collecting, stick collecting, digging in the mud, swings, slide, obstacle courses. The simpler and easier to put together the better, to conserve your energy.
If there is one takeaway I’d like you all to remember today is that you are not being lazy if you ask your child to play independently sometimes. You are not a bad mum if you need to rest. In the dark times, remember the positives! Independent play aids their creativity whilst giving you a much needed rest and outdoors is the perfect place to be creative and fun! (when it’s not raining of course!) I need you to know you are doing the best you can, your child/children love you just as you are and you are Mummy the Fibro Warrior.
Until next time,
P.S. What easy, outdoor activities do you do with your child? Please do comment below!