Our usual winter activity centres like indoor swimming pools, indoor play places, adventure parks and playgrounds really came to a halt with the recent pandemic. According to Australian guidelines, children between the age 1-5 years should be physically active for at least 3 hours everyday whereas children aged 5-18 years should be involved in at least 1 hour moderate physical activity. During this challenging times, it wasn't easy to keep up with the guidelines, however, I tried my best to keep my 4 year old and 9 months old active, out in the Nature and this is how it looks like.
We assign couple of days a week to play any sports. So we play cricket, football (Australian Footy), basketball, Volleyball, Soccer and so on. Well, my daughter has just turned 4, so when I say we play sports it mainly involves the moves of each sport as she learn the rules at her pace. Cricket is her favourite sport if she can keep batting even after being “out”.
I wonder if there any child who doesn’t like chasing bubbles. It’s a perfect one for windy day, just keep bubble wand in the direction of wind, it saves your energy from blowing them non stop ! But definitely keeps my little ones busy for a while.
Kite or Paper planes
This activity is also for those windy days, if your backyard is bit longer its perfect! Children learn about the wind directions and gain an understanding of controlling things against wind with this fun game.
Alert : Always watch them around when they play especially when it involves water! And give only a little amount at a time. This is the best in summer but if you get some sunshine in winter, let them soak in a bit !
Our favourite water game is float or sink in a water play table (picture above). You can use different objects with varying weights , from as light as dry leaves to as heavy as stones for this water activity. Let them guess if that’s going to Sink or Float.
My daughter takes her toys for a bath in the water play table most of the time , if your little one is also interested , make sure fluffy toys may not need a bath as they may take looong time to dry ..
we don’t have a sand pit, but we use the water play table for our sand art. We use all our beach toys - spade, bucket, sea animals for this activity just like how we play on beach. This is a sensory game for children with lots of benefits.
Running race and Play tags
This activity use up all the energy in two minutes but worth it.
Throwing, catching, kicking , rolling, balancing on finger, bouncing , there are tons of games you can play with different types of balls depending on their age.
Hide and seek
Everybody knows this game ! Its such a universal game which kids enjoy where you take turns to hide and find them.
This is inspired by Easter egg hunt. In our version of games, instead of egg we hide a seashell (could be anything special for your little one) in the garden and let children find it. Of course, we don't make it too hard for children and they need a lot of clues.
Have got nothing to play with ? Then this game will save you ! And you can play it anywhere.
Ears to listen :
Let the kids listen to the birds and imitate the tweets. And then mum and dads can make a bird sound and see if kids can guess the bird correctly
Touch it Smell it and Taste it :
( herbs from left to right for a blind taste game for kids : rosemary, thyme, parsley, mint, "panikoorkka" in Malayalam - a medicinal succulent for cold)
If you got some herbs in your garden, this works well for you. Let them pluck a leaf of the herbs (that you are aware of ) and ask kids to smell and taste it. I use this game to teach the herb names in English and Malayalam.
Later, I pick a leaf of each plant they tasted and keep them in line for them to blind taste it and guess the names. It’s fun !
Eyes to see :
Have you got flowers in your garden ? If so, Wonderful ! Get them to pick a favourite colour flower and see if they can observe and describe its petals, pollen, stem, leaves. This activity is to encourage their vocabulary and narrative skills. You can model them first.
Are you ready to get muddy ?
Gardening is the best way to get along with the Nature! Give kids a little spade or any safe garden tools and let them dig away your veggie Patch.
( 9 month old pulling out a weed)
Stone and Pebbles :
If nothing interests children, then pebbles can. There are many ways we can play with stones/pebbles, we can count them, paint on them, categorise them based their shape and colour. Our favourites game with pebble is making music with them, tap two big pebbles in your hand and make music out of it and try different pebbles to keep changing the notes!
Bringing childhood games alive !
Most games what I used to play growing up in Kerala is pretty much same as the universal games like hide & seek, tag, running race. Some traditional ones like Kuttiyum Kolum, Goli, seven stones are NEXT on my list to share with my little ones.
Lets make our time at home colourful with games.
What was your favourite outdoor game in childhood?