Now that the weather is finally warming up, the kids can spend more time playing outside. Lather them up with sunscreen, slap on a hat, and head out to the yard… it’s time to get messy!
The cold winter months seemed to drag on forever this year, but finally spring has sprung and it’s time to enjoy that beautiful sunshine again. Thank goodness!
Where we live, the wintertime is absolutely freezing. The kids rarely get a chance to play outside, the wind here can be just too cold to bear most days. We’ve spent the last few months keeping ourselves busy with indoor activities, but nothing beats some fresh air and sunshine.
The possibilities are endless for outdoor play, but I find my kids have two real favourites: sand and water.
We went on our first trip to the beach when our children were just toddlers, and they really loved the sand. Soon after we arrived home, our son started pretending to build “sand castles” with his toy cars. So, we built a sandpit for our children, of course!
Over the last couple of years, it has given our family hours and hours of entertainment.
I once found my not quite two year old daughter playing in the sand at 6am, she had woken up before me, put on her hat and taken herself out the back to play! (I told her to wake me first next time.)
If the kids aren’t building sand castles adorned with leaves and rocks, they’ll be making potions, or cooking sand cakes to enjoy.
There are so many imaginative games to be played in the sandpit, the ideas are never-ending!
Some of our favourites are:
* Building sand castles with different shaped buckets
* Making roads and driving old toy cars around the sand
* Making an ice cream shop
* Making a birthday cake, using leaves for candles
* Pretending to be wizards and witches, creating potions with the sand, water and things they can find in the yard (like rocks, leaves, twigs and gumnuts)
* Making pizzas with sand and also those same rocks, leaves, twigs and gumnuts
* Making Wombat Stew (inspired by on of their favourite books)
* We once made a pirate map to match our sandpit, and hid chocolate coins under the Xs we’d marked on the map. This was a big hit that I plan to do again soon (before it gets so hot that the chocolates melt in the sand)
Kids have the best imaginations, you’d be surprised what they will come up with when given just a bucket, a shovel, and a pile of sand!
If you don’t have a sandpit yet because you don’t want to build one in-ground, there are plenty of other options available.
Whatever you decide on, your kids will have hours upon hours of fun playing in the sand.
On these glorious sunny days, if my children aren’t playing in the sandpit, you’ll find them splashing about at their water table. It’s basically just a shallow tub of water on legs, there’s really nothing snazzy about it. But they just can’t stay away from it. These kids love to play with water.
They’ll pour and mix, using cups and watering cans. They’ll fill buckets, they’ll drag sand over and they’ll make a giant mess. Boy, do they have fun.
I’m all about free play at the water table, and the kids come up with lots of ideas on their own.
The whole area around the water table often becomes a giant puddle, if they can find some dirt you can be sure it’ll be mud within seconds.
Forever the Peppa Pig enthusiasts, they love jumping in puddles. So much so, my daughter will tip the water from her cup to make tiny puddles for herself in the wintertime.
Thank goodness the warm weather has returned, now she can happily play in real puddles! It’s so lovely to see the kids laughing and playing outside in the sunshine, no longer cooped up inside in their winter layers.
The calming nature of water is great for the kids moods, and it’s a great way for them to stay cool and entertained in the shade on a hot day.
If you’re looking for something to keep the kids happy and entertained for a few hours, head outside with them while they play.
The kids will have hours of fun, and a healthy dose of vitamin D will be great for the whole family!
Jess Hunt is a freelance writer from Australia. Her work has been published by some of the country’s biggest parenting websites, including: Essential Baby, Kidspot, and Mamamia.
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