Take the inside out

Do you find that your children get bored easily when they are out in the garden? They don’t want to go on a walk but you are desperate to spend some time outdoors? You would like to extend your outdoor time but don’t quite know how to? Try taking the inside out – toys that your child normally plays with indoors might be just the ticket to make the outdoors a lot more enticing.

Of course we are not talking anything that is of too much value or need batteries – no, good old sturdy things that can ideally be washed down, are big enough not to get lost and not too precious just in case they do go off on their own adventures. You could keep a bag of things by the door or in your rucksack so you got them handy when needed. Charity shops are the perfect place for sourcing outdoor suitable toys (once we are back to normal, of course).

In our parent and toddler groups we have a whole range of toys you might normally find indoors – all sorts of teddies, big dinosaurs, cars, construction vehicles. Some people would say that being outdoors should be enough for children, that they can use their creativity and imagination to make their own toys out of sticks and whatever else they might find. Yes, that is true. But for me, the most important and beneficial thing is to be outdoors and engaging with nature, and if we use some props to make it easier for us or to extend the time we spent outside, then that’s absolutely fine.

Here are some ideas:

  • Make a mini den for a teddy
  • Make lunch in the mud kitchen and invite some dolls for a picnic
  • Build a house for Playmobil people
  • Create a Jurassic World for dinosaurs or the Serengeti for elephants, giraffes and co.
  • Make a race course for cars
  • Open a shop and sell treasures or mud pies
  • Play with marbles – build a track or look up old fashioned games (or just make up your own)

Try different settings and observe how play changes, e.g. in the garden, the park, a local woodland. As always, make sure leave everything as you have found it and be especially mindful to protect the spring flowers out at the moment.

We would love to know which toys you take out on your adventures. Please send us your comments and pictures!

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