When the weather permits, spend time with the children outdoors, if you don't have a garden, taken them along to a park. As well as outdoor games, try taking some of your children's favourite puzzles and board games to play outside too - being outside adds another new dimension to the games. Here are some fun games to play outdoors:-
Pin the Bug on the Daisy: This is a version of pin the tail on the donkey only using a big drawing of a flower and some stickers. Draw a big daisy flower with a stalk and leaves on wallpaper. Hang it up and blindfold the children getting them to try and stick their sticker nearest to the yellow centre of the daisy.
Hunt a Bug: This is a scavenger hunt game game which is easy and fun! Each child gets a list of five things (draw each one) they need to find: a branch, a red curly leaf, a pine cone, a dandelion flower, a feather etc. They then have to go off in pairs and them.
Bee Landing: Draw a small bee (or find a picture of one) and stick it to some blue tack or play dough to give it weight. Draw a large sunflower outdoors with pavement chalk. Blindfold each child and get them to throw the bee and see who gets nearest to the centre of the flower!
Mr and Mrs Pots: Turn empty flower pots into flower pot people. Paint on faces using poster paints, and glue or tape on hands and feet made from twigs or rope. Loop a long string to the top of the pot and you have a garden puppet! Why not put on a show?!
Landing on Leaves: Draw a large leaf for each child and get them to colour it in. Place one on each chair. When the music starts each child must fly like bugs around the chairs and when the music stops they must find a leaf to land on.
All sorts of wonderful things are happening in the garden and parks at this time of year, so lets get out and do some great things with the wonderful wiggly worms, flippy flappy butterflies, busy buzzy bees and all the other bugs in the garden. Have a bit of messy fun and have a great time!
Before you start, go through a few basic rules for the Outdoors to keep the little ones safe and the bugs alive!
- Do not eat anything you find. Some berries can be harmful.
- Don’t touch anything unless a grown up agrees it is safe.
- Do not pick up any bugs or creatures in case they sting or bite you.
- Wash your hands when you have finished in the garden or park./span>
Keep a note book and record what you find.
1. Go for a bug hunt and when you find something draw it in your note book. Or you could photograph it and stick it in. Talk about what it looks like, how many legs it has, what colour it is etc.
2. Make a wormery! Take a tall transparent plastic bottle and cut off the top. Fill with layers of soil with some small pebbles and some grass or leaves on top. Put in a dark place. Place a couple of worms into the wormery and leave. Take a look each day and see if the worms have made tunnels and left worm casts on top of the soil. Set them free after a couple of days.
3. Hide some toy bugs in a sand box and see how quickly you can find them. Count them out and group them in colours.
4. Digging in the garden can be a great activity. Take some spades and dig some holes in flower beds. Talk about how much energy you need to do the job and which parts of the body you are using. When you have a nice howl, sit back and see if any birds come along to search for worms.
5. Snail racing is fun if a grown up is nearby to ensure the safety of the snails. Find two snails, draw a chalk circle on a patio slab and place them side by side in the middle. See which crosses out of the circle first. Does cheering help?
Some children love bugs and worms, but others are scared or nervous around them - this is a great activity to enthrall those who are interested, and gently introduce worms to those who need some encouragement! By setting up a wormery, you get to see what happens underground. It's clean for us, safe for the worms and very interesting for the children.
You need to find the following:
- one large plastic drinks bottle - the bigger the better, the 2 litre ones work well
- one smaller plastic bottl
- some clean sand (horticultural sand not the coarse DIY sand)
- some peat free soil
- Poke some holes in the bottom of the large bottle so the water can run out. Also, cut off the top of the bottle so you can place the small bottle inside.
- Fill the smaller bottle with water and place it in the big one. (This keeps the worms cool)
- Fill the outside bottle with alternate layers of sand and soil so each layer is 4cm deep. Pour in some water so it is damp.
- Hop out to the garden and search for some worms. Dig up a bit of soil and you should find some.
- Put them carefully into the soil/sand area of the bottle and pop it somewhere dark (shed or under an empty bucket) for a couple of days.
- When you get them out to take a look, you should see that all the soil and sand have been mixed up as they tunnel around.
- After a few days let them out again, and then you can start again with some different worms.