Last week had several sunny and warm(ish) days in a row and I was hit with a sudden need to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Unfortunately, my children don’t seem to share my enthusiasm. To be fair to them, the toys and TV are inside, whereas the garden is a relatively dull square of grass and a small plastic slide, so their reticence isn’t entirely unreasonable. I’ve tried quite a few ways to persuade them outside and these are the top five I’ve found:
1. A picnic – for some reason Quibble and Squeak think this is against the rules, so lunch, or even just a drink and snack, on a rug becomes an illicit treat.
2. Tunnels – we have a few pop-up tunnels in the shed and they are great for hide-and-seek, crawling (and chasing) through, rolling round in, squashing down and popping up… and anything else they can think of.
3. Water play – I’m not great with messy play in the house (luckily they get lots of it at nursery), but water outside doesn’t require cleaning. In full summer heat, we have the paddling pool and sprinklers, but in the spring-time warmth, I gather all sorts of jugs, bottles and bowls, paint brushes and spoons onto a towel on the patio or straight onto the grass.
4. Bubbles – ever since they were babies they’ve both loved watching bubbles. We now have a little bubble machine that I can set up for them to chase, but they are very keen to produce the bubbles themselves, so I also have some big sword wands and handheld bubble-makers for them to use. This summer I have big plans to use string and straws to create a giant bubble wand like this one for Quibble.
5. Box of toys – a little bit like a cheat sensory box, I like to grab a plastic box and throw in some toys and books at random, then take them into the garden with a blanket and some pillows. The kids are always a bit intrigued by what might be in the box and end up playing with the toys in a different way just because they are outside. This week we’ve had cars racing down the slide and Tre-Fu Tom fighting dinosaurs in the jungle (or lawn as it is usually known).
Of course, today it is back to rain and I should probably admit that I have bought them matching all-in-one waterproofs, for those rainy days of summer!