Lockdown has been difficult for everyone, but particularly for our youngest children who have missed out on so many experiences over the past year. As a result, they may have had less time to go outside on a walk, playing in a park, garden or open space.
Getting outside helps your little one stay active, run, climb, balance and exercise so that they can stay healthy and strong. Fresh air, wind, rain and sun are different ‘sensory’ experiences to being inside and can help us feel happy and alive. When they are outside, children can sing, chat, shout and explore using their voices – it doesn’t matter about the noise!
Children enjoy exploring and collecting acorns, conkers or leaves and will love to watch squirrels running about. They often notice things adults are too busy to see. Chat with your child about what they have spotted and find interesting and this will help their speaking skills improve.
Here are some tips to help you and your little ones enjoy being outdoors:
- Dress warmly with a hat and gloves in cold weather and wear a coat and wellies if it is wet - children love splashing in puddles!
- Count the steps together as you go up to the shops or in to the park
- Hold hands and find a safe space to cross the road and your child will begin to learn about road safety
- Have a listen to all the sounds you can hear – it may be a dog barking, the noise of traffic, or a bee buzzing by. Have a go at making the same sounds!
- See if you can find any ants, woodlice, spiders or ladybirds and watch what they are doing and how they move. Have a go at moving the same way, if you can!
- See if you find any birds to watch, flying in the air, pecking on the ground, pulling up worms or starting to build a nest. See if you can find any feathers on the ground
- Take big ‘giant’ steps and tiny ‘mouse’ steps. Practice walking on tiptoes or help your child balance with arms out wide as they walk along a low wall
- Go on a ‘number’ hunt and see how many numbers you can find on buses, doors and road signs. Can you find a number that is the same as your child’s age?
- Look for the first letter in your child’s name – can you spot that letter on road or shop signs?
- Are there any shop signs or logos that your child can recognise? This is a first step in learning how to read.
Did you know?
As well as being good for your little one, getting outside can boost your mood too! If you go out for a walk regularly, you will start to notice the change in the seasons with the leaves appearing on trees, spring flowers beginning to grow and the weather becoming warmer.
If you are wearing the right clothes, going for a walk outside can be fun in any weather and at any time of year!