10 Ways to Play, Straight from the Garden
Wow, 2020 what a kicker! Everyone is limited for resources and so many of us are strapped for cash, we can't get out of the house and we are in desperate need of getting some work done, without the help of any external care.
You know we love nature play and this my friends, it exactly why. It's easily accessible, it can cost you absolutely nothing, the possibilities are only limited to the imagination. It is always a wonderful way to encourage you and your tiny humans to get outside, switch off and enjoy soaking up the sun.
So here are our Top 10 tips on way to play, using elements found in the garden. Your garden.
1. Pressing Flowers
Don't have a flower press? No matter! Don't you remember doing this as a kid, using books and paper towel. Well I do. All you need is to find your heaviest stack of books, lining each side with paper towels and between two covers, sandwich your flower. The more weight you can add the better! Now, forget about it.
2. Frozen Flowers
Surely you have some kind of container or ice-cube tray, somewhere in the house. Now, head into the garden and collect whatever you can find. It does not have to be flowers, although they are super pretty. Grass, leaves, deceased bugs, it really doesn't matter. Stuff your tray or containers and now fill with water. Pop in the freezer and allow to chill overnight. Ta da!!
Now, there are multiple ways you can extend on this depending on your child's age and interests. Add water, salt, hammers, etc. Trust us, the love just about anything frozen. The solid to a liquid component is absolutely fascinating. (Yay! Science).
3. Nature Wands
Got a stick? Yup, you do! Now, if you have glue - great! If you don't, it's okay, no need to rush out. What. Can. You. Find? Rubber bands? Perfect! String? That will do! Anything you can use to attach some nature finds to your stick and voila, you have made wands. Obviously this will keep your kids entertained longer if you actually let them do the making. But in our experience, the mums do tend to take over...
4. Nature Crowns
Always a favourite and again, you can use just about anything. Paper, cardboard (pulled from the recycle bin), daisy's chained together, vines, etc. Use your imagination and see what you have got.
5. Fairy Soup
Super simple nature play, in fact I don't think it gets easier then this. A few pots, pans, containers, anything you have laying around that you are prepared to donate to play. Which at this point, is probably anything. Fill them with water, if you have some food colouring, wonderful! If you don't, they will still play anyway. Again, go on a walk around the garden together and pick an assortment of natural elements. Add some spoons, measuring cups, whisks, etc. and just let them create. And they will, trust us.
6. Bug Hunt
Does your little explorer love crawly critters? No, doesn't matter. There are ways you can make this so much fun anyway. On a scrap piece of paper or cardboard, draw a few different style bugs and insects e.g. ant, lady bug, butterfly, beetle, grass hopper, etc. Now head out into the garden and see what you can find.
Want a few ways to make this more fun? Make a set of binoculars or telescope (just the old loo rolls will work fine), or cut out a magnifying glass from some cardboard.
7. Colour Match
This one is a simple favourite around here, but works best when you do have flowers or other plants in bloom. Again, I hope you are saving any delivery boxes, you are going to need that cardboard! Get a scrap piece of paper and using pencils, crayons, paint, whatever you can get your hands on, scribble out a swatch of each colour. You guessed it, now take a walk outside and see what colours you can find that match!
8. Sink of Float
Easy peasy, collect anything and everything - rocks, sticks, blades of grass, a leaf or two and fill a container with water. Now let the fun begin. Have a conversation, "wow, that is a really big stick, do you think it might sink or float in the water?". Depending on the age of your child, you will get some great conversation starters. Others, will just happily put the items in and take them out. But don't forget, however they choose to play, they are learning.
9. Natural Threading
Super simple, great for our little hands and all you need is some leaves, string (or a stick?). Punch or cut holes in your leaves, using string or twine, encourage your littles one to thread. Let them take part in the whole process, from selecting the leaves and punching the holes. The more children are able to participate in the "set-up" the more likely they are to engage in enriched play.
10. Mud Painting
Now, I have left the messiest to last. Now you have warmed up to the idea of nature play, let's get messy! Dig a hole in your lawn (#sorrynotsorry husband) or find some dirt in a pot, add a bit of water and amazingly, you have mud. Good, old, real, squishy, squelchy mud. Dirt and exposure to its biomes is so good for us, but I will leave that for another day. For today, we just want to keep our tiny humans content, busy and engaged. We all know what happens if they aren't. I digress, now let them paint! If you have glass doors or windows at their height, let them go to town (from the outside, obviously...). You can just hit it with the hose when you are finished!
We are all out of the norm and our personal routine, so let's take this time to reset, connect and most importantly play! For more play ideas the Curious Me way, head to our socials.