COVID-19 has made things really difficult for families across the world, particularly those who aren’t used to homeschooling or aren’t sure how to keep their kids busy during lockdown.
So, as self-isolation continues and the sun begins to shine, it’s a great time to get outside and use mother nature to keep your kids entertained. From scavenger hunts to stargazing, these 10 garden activities will stop your kids from getting bored at home, and teach them a few important lessons along the way.
#1: Host a scavenger hunt
Give your kids a checklist and a bucket, and send them out on a nature-themed scavenger hunt for a lesson in the great outdoors. As your kids tick off garden treasures like acorns and pinecones, they’ll have a great time learning in a more dynamic and interactive way.
You could even add in some insects to your list for a more exciting hunt — just don’t ask your kids to physically collect them, a tick will do! You can then do worksheets on the various things you’ve found in the garden, such as flowers, leaves, bees, beetles, butterflies, ladybugs, and perhaps even a praying mantis!
#2: Storytime under the sun
For something a little more laid back, head outside to a shaded spot under a tree and read your kids their favorite story. This is a great way of keeping your children busy towards the end of the day, when you want their excitement levels to start dialing down.
Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
#3: Did someone say water fight?
OK, so this probably isn’t for everyone! But a water balloon fight is a great way of encouraging your kids to let off some steam and learn a thing or two about physics.
While tensions might be a little high in the house right now, letting your kids run wild for a bit — within reason, of course — might be just what they need. Always put safety first though, and don’t forget to keep the noise down!
Here’s a great blog post all about the science behind water balloons, to supplement your play! For an added activity, look up how to make origami water bombs, which will not only keep the kids busy that little bit longer, but will also avoid the use of plastics.
#4: Care for the plants
From water balloons to watering cans, getting your kids to care for plants is a great way of teaching them about nature and science in a fun and hands-on way.
Explain to your kids why we have to water our plants, get them to experiment with different water sources — a hose pipe vs a watering can will do — and, before you know it, you’ll be teaching your kids about nature conservation… all without a single book in sight! Caring for plants has wonderful calming and theraputic qualities. If you haven’t got a veggie patch to tend to (or start!) there are loads of container garden options to investigate.
#5: Picnic time!
In lockdown, things can quickly feel repetitive. So, to switch up your daily routine, why not head out into the garden at lunchtime and set up a little picnic for you and your kids?
As well as breaking up the monotony of physical distancing, an outdoor lunch could also provide a great opportunity for a few games. ‘I Spy’, for example, would be a clever way of encouraging your kids to really pay attention to their surroundings, and learn about mother nature.
#6: Arrange a paper airplane race
For a fun science lesson, get your kids to make paper airplanes and test which ones fly the best outside. Encourage them to experiment with different types of paper, different sizes, and different ways of folding.
This way, you’ll be able to turn a bit of fun into a fully-fledged science lesson on gravity, aerodynamics, and why certain airplanes fly better than others. Let your kids respond to what they’ve observed by redesigning their planes, and ask them to talk you through any changes they’ve made.
#7: Bring out the paddling pool
If the sun is on your side, bringing out the paddling pool is a great way of keeping your littlest ones active and entertained in lockdown. And even if the weather isn’t quite warm enough yet, why not get creative and use the pool for some fun and games?
You could fill it with water and ask your kids to ‘fish out’ some floating toys, or turn it into a ball pit if your kids are missing trips to their favorite play areas. Just remember to supervise them at all times.
#8: Rock painting
Rock painting is a great way of letting your kids get creative in lockdown. Ask them to collect some rocks outside, and set them up with the necessary painting tools to transform them into works of art.
Not only will this be fun for your kids (and improve their motor skills), but it’ll also provide you with some sweet souvenirs of this pretty extraordinary moment in history. Older kids can even use the rocks to write messages to their friends, which can be delivered at a safe distance to their doorstep!
#9: Camp out in the garden
If your kids are feeling really adventurous, camping outside in the garden for the night would certainly give them a night to remember.
Depending on the age of your children, you’ll have to decide whether or not to join them for the adventure. But, either way, they’re sure to enjoy the excitement of getting out of the house for the night, especially after staying in for so many weeks.
#10: And finally, what about a spot of stargazing?
If your kids are camping out for the night (or just for an evening pastime), getting outside and looking at the stars is a great way of helping your kids feel a little less trapped during lockdown. And who knows, maybe they’ll spot a shooting star?
You could also use some stargazing as a clever opportunity to teach your kids about space, and all that surrounds us. Why not use our free solar system curriculum guide to set you up with a host of topics to cover. You can then download a free stargazing app, such as SkyView® Lite, which uses augmented reality to bring the night sky to life.
The great outdoors is calling…
We hope this article has given you enough ideas on how to keep your kids busy in the garden throughout lockdown. Getting some fresh air will do them the world of good, and making the most out of nature is a great way to switch up how they learn.
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