Now that it’s technically the Easter holidays, the pressure to home-school has relieved slightly. A massive bonus for the lucky people with gardens is that the sun is set to shine for the foreseeable future. So we’ve rounded up some activities to keep you busy outside. If you don’t have outdoor space, many of these can be done indoors.
Not much is more exciting than a picnic! This can be done on a picnic rug inside if you don’t have access to a garden or it’s raining. Make it a surprise for breakfast, lunch or tea and it’ll be even more thrilling.
Make story stones
Collect some stones on your daily walk, or use some you already have in the garden. Paint or draw pictures onto them and then use them to make up or retell stories. This definitely counts as educational, as it encourages imagination and literacy. You can also hide the stones and turn it into a treasure hunt, or use them for maths practise.
What can you spot?
Sussex Wildlife Trust have lots of free nature spotting sheets that you can print or use on a phone. They feature birds, bugs, flowers and animals that can be found in rural and urban areas. You could copy them out onto a grid and ask children to cross them off once they see them, or give a prize when they’ve all been found. For younger children, draw a picture of things from your own garden or home for them to find.
Lie down on the ground together and look up at the sky. What can you see? There will be clouds and stars, the sun and moon, the odd plane or helicopter, birds, bugs, even a planet or satellite. Make the activity last longer by asking children to draw or write what they’ve seen, or by finding shapes and pictures in the clouds.
Chalk is your friend right now! It’s cheap, fun and washes off easily. There’s hours of fun to be had drawing pictures, colouring walls and fences, playing hangman, making hopscotch, drawing goals, practising spellings and sums…the possibilities are endless.
Obstacle course (for pets or humans)
Use plastic cups, plant pots or garden furniture to make an obstacle course for pets or family members, and time people to take part. Can you do it backwards? Can you do it with your arms behind your back or with a blindfold on? Who can do it the quietest?
The Big Little Tent Festival
Join the Little Big Tent festival from the comfort of your own home. Set up a tent in the garden, living room or bedroom and have a cosy sleepover. Take part and download the free activity pack.
If it’s warm enough, a bucket or bowl of water is an easy and popular choice. It can be transformed into a car wash or a swimming pool for toys. Add some cups and you’ve got yourself a café or teddy bear’s picnic. Find a paintbrush and ask children to ‘paint’ (with water) a fence, wall or patio. Turn it into a science experiment to see what sinks and what floats.
Easter arts and bakes
Get some inspiration from our Easter art and baking article here.
You can make some amazing creations using sticks, leaves, flowers, stones, grass, mud, sand, shells and anything else you can find. Think flower crowns, magic wands, leaf faces, mud monsters… please share your pictures with us!
The garden is a great place for messy play because you don’t need to worry as much about the mess! There are loads of recipes online for homemade doughs and slimes, but you can really use anything you have at home that you’re not rationing! Or just mix up some good old mud and water!
You’ll be surprised how many children are more excited to play with everyday indoor toys, in the garden. Take the train track, toy vehicles, people and animal figures outside and make a little town. You can create brilliant dinosaur lands using stones, water, grass and leaves, or a farm with some mud and dried grass. Make tunnels and houses from twigs and add a bowl of water for a duck pond. Get creative.
It’s a strange time right now for all of us. Why not make a time capsule and bury it in the garden? You could include pictures and notes, photos, toys, anything that will remind you of this time. It might help children to vocalise what they are feeling, and give them a chance to ask you questions about it. There is advice for talking to children about coronavirus here.
Let us know what we’ve missed and hang in there everyone. You’re doing great 😊