Here at Muddy Puddles we truly believe in the benefits of learning outside the classroom. As well as promoting a sense of well-being, it gives children contact with the natural world and the ability to play and learn in a less restrictive environment. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum places strong emphasis on the importance and value of daily outdoor experiences for children’s learning and development.
Read on for some simple ideas you can do with your toddlers in the garden or when out and about exploring the great outdoors.
“The best kept classroom and the richest cupboard are roofed only by the sky” Margaret McMillan (c1925) Nursery Schools and the Pre-school Child NSA Publication
1) Sink or Float
Fill a bucket or large container with water and gather up a few different items from your garden to test. Drop them in the water one by one and take it in turns to guess whether the item will sink or float. You could also try building your own paper boats to float on the surface or you could take them to your local park and try them out on a pond or lake (just remember to take them home with you after!). Here’s a handy guide for making them.
2) Number nature art
Ask your little ones to gather up items on your next family walk like leaves, pinecones, sticks and moss. Roll a dice and task your children with creating a masterpiece using that number of pieces. This is a great game for teaching children to count and is creative and fun too!
3) Muddy moulds
If you have some play dough or biscuit cutters at home, why not take them outside with you and use them in the mud to create different shapes and animals? Your little explorers will enjoy decorating them using leaves, stones, grass and other items in your local park, wood or in the garden. This is a great activity for helping to recognise different shapes and animals.
4) Mud Kitchen Fun
The perfect idea for a bit of sensory play. Why not attempt to build a mud kitchen for your children? We recommend wooden palettes but you can also use a table, bricks, cardboard or even plywood and a couple of empty buckets to support them. It’s a super fun way to get messy with different textures and you can add all sorts of fun ingredients to decorate your delicious muddy creations like flowers, grass, little stones, feathers and twigs.
5) Paint using raindrops
This is a fun activity to try with your little ones in the rain. You’ll need watercolour paint, thick paper and brushes. Ask your children to create their paintings using plenty of watercolour paint. Once they are done, help them take their pieces outside in the rain and watch how the raindrops transform their work.