5 Outdoor Easter Games for Kids

5 Outdoor Easter Games

Easter is the perfect time to celebrate the joys of spring and wherever kids are involved boundless energy and enthusiasm for chocolate eggs follows. I’m sure my boys could quite happily consume their own body weight in chocolate over Easter (so could I for that matter!). So here are 5 Outdoor Easter Games that should keep them (and you) busy, and might, just might hold off those chocolate pangs until after they have filled up on a yummy Easter Sunday dinner.

Get messy with some flying eggs. You will need at least two teams of two to play this game. Try pitching the kids against the adults or pull names out of a hat for some random family pairings. Beware though, this one is messy and changes of clothes may be required! Start off with both pairs standing fairly close to each other. Each team starts of with a box of six eggs. Once each pair is ready they start throwing the eggs towards each other. After each successful throw they take a step back. The aim is to get as far away from each other without breaking the egg. Once an egg breaks the team takes another from their six and starts from the same position they left off. The first team to break all their eggs is the loser and the remaining team, who are probably slightly less messy than the losers, usually wins themselves some more chocolate eggs, although you could be a little more adventurous and maybe offer them the chance to egg the other competitors with the eggs they have left over. It probably depends on how messy you really want to get!

Have a go at the good old Easter Egg hunt. These usually require a little bit of preplanning but lets face it, who doesn’t love hunting for treasure in the shape of chocolate. Check out our post Easter Egg Hunt Ideas for some alternatives to the traditional style hunt.

Set up an egg and spoon obstacle race. Make this old favourite slightly more interesting by putting a set of obstacles in the way of the competitors. Hard boiled eggs are often used for these races but spice things up a little and use raw eggs. Again, it could get mucky but hey, it’s bound to be fun!

Have a go at egg rolling races. There are several ways to set this one up. You can use a straight course, give each competitor and spoon and see who can roll their egg to the end the fastest without breaking it. You could create a twisty obstacle course the competitors have to roll their eggs around or you could sack off the spoons and get each competitor to roll their eggs with their noses. This last one has to be the funniest option but also much trickier than you might think.

Run around like hens and chickens! This game is a bit like the popular kids game ‘It’. One person starts off as the Hen, everyone else is chicks. The Hen is placed in the middle of the ‘road’ and the chicks at either end. As the chicks try to make it to the other side the Hen must try to gather up her chicks and keep them safe by catching them. Each one that is caught then has to help their mother Hen catch the rest. This is a brilliant one for letting of some steam after some of the more difficult games and what kid doesn’t love running around like a loopy chicken anyway.

Do you have any favourite Easter games you like to play? We would love to hear about them.

Our favourite outdoor play post from the past week is The Magic of the Secret Beach from the lovely Coombe Mill. The secret beach does sound absolutely magical and holds lots of lovely family memories for her and her children. Do you have a special spot that has stolen your families heart?

Spring is Springing

Spring is springing

March has arrived and with it we are seeing lots of lovely signs of spring, getting us all excited about the year ahead. There is just something about the new life in spring that gets us all motivated and looking forward to the sunshine. The warmer lighter mornings are a sign in themselves that spring is nearly here making those horrid early morning starts just that tiny bit easier. Of course it isn’t all sunshine in spring time, rain is often a common feature at this time of year but without the wet stuff all the lovely flowers, fresh grass and new buds that we love about spring wouldn’t happen. Celebrate the rain this spring with our 10 ways to play in the rain.

One of the first signs we have spotted this year is the pretty little snowdrop, peaking through the ground even in some of the worse weather we have had recently. I don’t know about you, but they remind us of fairy hats and conjure up all sorts of images of spring fairies frolicking about amongst the spring blossom.

We haven’t heard them yet but soon enough the air will be filled with the warm fuzzy buzz of bumble bees, taking full advantage of the early nectar. Queen bees will be out looking for new nests with the buff-tailed bumblebee being one of the first to emerge. I do love standing in the garden on a warm spring morning just listening as their hum is carried along the wind.

Another wonderful sound to hear in spring time is the new burst of birdsong that happens as male birds start to sing for their mates, searching out females to bring up new broods with in just a few weeks time.

Probably one of the most iconic signs of spring is the appearance of newborn lambs in fields across the country. These little cuties remind us all that this really is the time of year that brings about an abundance of new growth. Why not grab your family and head on out around the fields seeing how many you can spot. As the season moves on you will see more and more appear and watching their unsteady antics is sure to make you all go ‘Awwww’.

A lesser known sign of spring is the sight of oil beetles. These little creepy crawlies are becoming quite rare in the UK and have a fascinating lifecycle that relies on solitary bees to survive. Once the larvae hatch they head on up the stem of a nearby flower, lie in wait for an unsuspecting bee, hitch a ride back to their burrow and then feed on their eggs. Not too nice for the bees but necessary to keep the Oil Beetle alive. To find out more about these fascinating little beasties check out Buglife’s Oil Beetle campaign (https://www.buglife.org.uk/campaigns-and-our-work/oil-beetles) and get involved in the Oil Beetle Hunt (https://www.buglife.org.uk/oil-beetle-survey) . We think this is a great way to discover more about our micro wildlife this spring.

What signs of spring have you spotted so far? The brilliant Nature Detectives have some fabulous printable sheets to help you head out with the kiddies and get closer to nature at this time of year – http://www.naturedetectives.org.uk/download/hunt_spring_early.htm

If you are looking for more ideas to help you make the most of the warmer weather and longer days then check out our 10 Ways to Play Outdoors this Spring.

However you choose to enjoy this spring we would love to hear about it. Drop us an email at sales@adventuretogs.co.uk or share your pictures on our facebook page and help inspire others to play outdoors this spring.

Outdoor Blog Roundup – February

Outdoor Play Roundup

We have a lovely mixed bunch for you on the Roundup this month with posts about searching for the first signs of spring to fun with crates. We hope you enjoy!

One of the lovely things about late winter is that some of our first flowers start to appear as spring takes hold and gets ready to take over. Wild about here shared a lovely post about spotting colourful flowers at this time of year including a fabulous spotter sheet that is well worth printing out and taking along on your walks with you.

Everybody knows kids love a cardboard box but who knew about crates? Wonderful fellow outdoor play party co-host Learning for Life shared a great post about the amazing diversity of crates in children’s play. So if you can get hold of any for your garden or your school it certainly seems like they will be well worth the very small investment involved.

obligshadow1

Lastly we loved these grass caterpillars shared by Red Ted Art. They are so very cute and so easy to make. The perfect way to get your kids into gardening.

Over on facebook we discovered a fabulous new Forest Schools Kindergarten based in Sheffield. The will be running The Dangerous Adventure Club over the Easter which sounds like so much fun! We would love to see more of these across the country.

 Please do share your posts with us here at Adventure Togs and tell us how you have been playing outdoors this fortnight.

Storytelling Outdoors

Storytelling outdoors

Storytelling is one of those things that we never feel like we can do. It is a mysterious art left only for authors and those with a natural talent for it. However, our kids tell stories all the time so when did we lose the confidence to tell stories ourselves? Was it when we forgot our imaginations or did real life get in the way?

Storytelling is such a lovely way to share a piece of our children’s imagination that we think everyone should get involved an we know that everyone can do it if they give it a go. Here are some ways we think you and your kids can share a passion for stories and have a go at making up your own. Let us know how you get on.

Choose a spot to site and then take turns to tell part of the story. With each person putting in their own ideas there is never any way of knowing where the story might go.

  1. Once upon a time in a deep dark wood…..
  2. A fairy princess fell down a hole……
  3. The hole had been put there by pixies to capture dragons…..

And so on and so on. Once your story is complete spend some time playing using your story as your theme, each choose a character and as you play the story will develop growing in your children’s imaginations. You can even continue the theme when you get home by retelling it at bedtime, spending some time drawing your story and any other ways you can think of to bring it to life.

Create your own mini fairy houses and then talk about the characters that live there. Encourage your children to discuss what they look like, what they might wear and eat. Are they naughty or nice? Think about how they might get about and interact with the other characters their siblings/friends have made. Get involved and use your own imagination too and take the characters into a story. Ask your children to imagine an adventure they might go on and then all head off and follow them into it.

Choose a favourite book or fairytale and take it outside. Easy and obvious choices might be ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ or ‘The Gruffalo’ but think of others too. For example, ‘The Princess and the Pea’. Can you make a bed out of natural materials? What would you make the mattress out of? How about ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. Can you go for a walk in the woods to find Grandma’s house? Maybe Daddy could be the Big Bad Wolf?

Simply choose a spot and make up your story right there. Be inspired by your surroundings. Your kids will love it no matter what you think of it. If you get stuck encourage them to help you to finish it. Let your kids take turns too. You might be surprised with what they come up with.

Pick a tree, a plant or an animal and tell its story. Think about how much they might have seen, what might have happened during their lifetime. Trees can live for hundreds of years, how did it get there, who has it seen, who has been to visit it? When I was a kid I had a special tree we used to visit a lot and I always made up stories about how magical the tree was and why it was so special, I did the same for the big Oak tree in our garden. There was something mysterious about trees for me so make them magical for your kids too.

If your kids are old enough to read by themselves then simply give them some space to do that outdoors. Reading outdoors can be a lovely experience and as you get lost in the book your senses get tickled by the world around you. I would recommend this activity to everyone at least once in a while, big or small.

Collect a bucketful of natural materials then blindfold your kids. Ask them to choose an item from the bucket and then make up a story about it. By simply feeling and smelling the item their story becomes very different to the one they would have created if they had seen the item. Their senses pull them in and their imagination remains unrestricted by what they already know about the item. This one is great fun and it is always funny to hear what they come up with.

Do you tell stories to your kids on a regular basis or does the thought of storytelling give you a fright?

My featured post for this week is Mother Natured’s Give a Sewn Leaf Heart this Valentine’s Day. We love the idea of leaving a secret message inside and think it will make a lovely Valentine’s gift. We would be happy with one anyway!

 

Outdoor Blog Roundup – January

Outdoor Play Roundup

It’s time for the first Outdoor Play Roundup of 2015 and we have some lovely wintery posts for you all to enjoy.

First up the lovely The Boy and Me started their new year enjoying the beach on Barry Island. They made a cracking moat and waited for the tide to come in and fill it up. This is something we think everyone should try at least once. It looks like great fun!

We absolutely loved this post from Mummy LogicHere are two sticks.  Her post just goes to show how wonderful sticks are for our children’s imagination. Something so simple yet utterly magical.

With all the snow in the news we know some of you are feeling left out. Coombe Mill has the answer though with their Snow Free Snowmen. With these there is no need to miss out, who needs snow hey?

Last but not least we loved Wild Family Fun’s post about not letting winter get in the way of their outdoor play. We love their spirit and think their photos are fabulous. How much fun have you had outdoors this winter?

Now it’s time for this week’s Outdoor Play Party. My featured post for this week is Bubba Blue and Me’s post Frost Doesn’t Stop Play. We loved reading about how the cold never seems to stop her boy getting outdoors and as a Mum of boys myself, I loved seeing them roughhousing and having fun despite the cold. Do your kids feel the cold or do they long outlast you when the temperature drops?

pile up on the trampoline

10 Ways to Play Outdoors this Winter

10 ways to play outdoors this winter

Here at Adventure Togs we think winter is one of the best times to play outdoors. The wild weather combined with heaps of mud, rain and snow make for some great adventures. We have given you 10 ideas to get you started but, as always, we love to hear your ideas too!

Make multi-coloured ice building blocks. Fill up an ice tray or some other plastic containers with water and add different food colourings to make different coloured bricks. If it is cold enough where you live then leave them outside overnight and you will have ready-made play blocks for the morning. If not pop them in the freezer and then take them outside to play with so they won’t melt so quickly.

Go pattern hunting. Rain, mud, snow and ice all make great patterns. Check out all the different natural patterns you can find or make your own in the mud and the snow. Rain can be especially fascinating to watch, especially as you watch the way it falls on different surfaces.

Make some ice art. Raid the recycle bin and use all sorts of different shaped containers that can be filled with water. You could try freezing water in balloons too. Add food colouring and any natural materials you can find, such as leaves and berries, then leave the containers to freeze overnight. If you add some string in a loop before they freeze you will even be able to hang some of your art in the trees. Once frozen show off your art by decorating your garden with them or head on over to a local park and let others enjoy your art too.

Go sledding! If you have snow and a decent hill then this is a must but if you don’t have snow then see if you can find a suitable muddy slope to try. Look out for trip hazards though, muddy ground won’t be as smooth as snow so check it out before you take the plunge.

Just play. The wonders that winter brings with it from mud to snow make great play materials. There are plenty of twigs on offer as well as fallen leaves and big sploshy puddles. Go outdoors without a plan and see where your imagination take you, just revel in the fun of going wild.

Collect items for your winter nature table and discover this wonderful season in more detail. What treasures does winter have to offer and what can you find out about them?

Make snowmen and snow animals. See who can build the wackiest snow monster. If you don’t have any snow try making miniature versions out of mud. For both versions you can use twigs, leaves and berries to dress up your creations.

Build an igloo. If you are lucky enough to have deep snow then build yourself a mini igloo. If you don’t have snow then winter is a great time to go den building. There should be plenty of large twigs and fallen tree branches around so head on down to your local woods and make your very own hideout. Just avoid the woods in high winds though, you don’t want any of those branches falling on your head!

Go wildlife tracking. The winter can be the best time to spot signs of wildlife. Check mud and snow for prints. Look out for droppings and use the bare trees and hedges as places to spy on birds. Find out what had been prowling around your local area.

Get cooking. Winter is the perfect time to be playing in your mud kitchen. With all that mud and snow you could make some fabulous mud pies or winter ice lollies. Experiment and add some new recipes to your mud kitchen repertoire.

What are you favourite winter play ideas?

My featured post for this week is Coombe Mill’s Wildlife Trail. We think it is a great idea and will be a fabulous addition to the farm. Do you have a local wildlife trail, gruffalo trail or something similar near you?

5 Outdoor Science Experiments Well Worth a Try

5 Outdoor Science Experiments

Make a smoke bomb

This is brilliant fun and the kids will love it although it is probably best with the slightly older ones. You will need some sugar, some potassium nitrate (which you should be able to pick up from the garden centre), an old pan you don’t mind ruining, a long candle, some goggles and a fire glove. Weigh out 60g potassium nitrate and 40g of sugar and place them in the pan together. Place the pan over a hob on a low heat and bring it to the boil, stirring to avoid it burning. Once the mixture is a liquid brown it is ready. Head on outside with your safety goggles and your fire glove. Place the mixture in a safe place such as on a wooden table or in a clear area on the floor. Using your gloved hand light the candle and use this to ignite your mixture. Once the mixture catches it should start to smoke and will keep going until it has burnt off. Step back and enjoy the show. Once it is done then leave the pan to cool before you attempt to pick it up as it will still be quite hot.

The good old Coca Cola Volcano

This is so simple but kids always love it. It even works with littlies who are overawed by the results. All you need is some diet coke and some Mentos. Pop one or two Mentos into the Coca Cola stand back and watch the fizziness explode.

Turn water into ice with a bang

This experiment is only for the patient but the results are well worth the wait. It is also perfect to try outdoors at this time of the year while the weather can help with keeping the temperature low. The long wait just gives you the perfect excuse to play outdoors while you are waiting – http://www.bbc.co.uk/bang/handson/super_cool.shtml

Create your own homemade bubble solution

For this one you will need water, washing up liquid and some glycerine and whatever additional ingredients you want to try such as food colouring and gelatine. Experiment with different amounts of each ingredient until you find the perfect recipe. Once you have it then write it down and you will never need to buy another pack of bubbles again.

Create a film canister rocket

You will need an empty film canister, some baking soda and some white vinegar. Some goggles might be useful just to be on the safe side. Put a spoonful of baking soda into the canister and then add some white vinegar. Quickly add the lid and place it lid side down on the ground. If you get the timing right your pot should rocket up into the air making a loud pop. Experiment with different amounts of baking soda and vinegar to find out which recipe shoots the rocket the highest.

Want to know how all the experiments really work? Spend some time using your tablet or smartphone to discover the science behind the reactions. In the process your kids will learn how to discover the answer to their questions, learn which sources are trustworthy and which aren’t and build on their scientific knowledge. If you want to extend it even further you could even ask them to show their friends or someone in the family the experiment asking them to explain how the reaction works.

Do you have any fun outdoor science experiments to share? Send them over to us on our facebook page Adventure Togs or catch up with us on twitter @Adventure Togs. We would love to hear how you enjoy science outdoors.

Outdoor Blog Roundup – December

Outdoor Play Roundup

Merry Christmas everyone. We hope you are all suitably stuffed from all that Christmas food and that you have all had a magical time. What a wonderful time of the year it is! If you are ready for the Christmas wind down we have some lovely December posts to share that will have you back outdoors and playing in no time.

The first is from the fabulous Wild Family Fun. If your kids are ready to step up the risk factor in 2015 but the weather is holding you back then try an indoor climbing wall. These girls made it look easy and show us why climbing is a great sport to get involved in.

For all you fabulous teachers out there, the wonderful Kierna from Learning for Life shared a great guest post about how the children in Iceland learn to manage risk. Can you believe it? They don’t have to fill in risk assessments!

Red Peffer has the perfect way to blow away all those Christmassy cobwebs with a lovely welly walk. They have been visiting a local National Trust property but we reckon any muddy spot in your locale will do nicely.

Welly Walk Packwood House

Last but never least is Planet Pals Blog’s amazing ways to play in the snow. If you haven’t already got snow yet (we haven’t!) then be sure to pin this one because there are some great ideas in here. We can’t wait to try some snow painting!

Are your kids already fed up with all their toys? Over on facebook the fabulous Woodland Trust – nature detectives shared their 20 things to do with sticks download. Ahh, there is no better toy than a stick!

What was your stick?

Don’t forget to let us know if any of the posts have inspired you to play outdoors or to share your own ideas with us. You can contact us on our facebook page Adventure Togs or catch up with us on twitter @Adventure Togs

Learning on a Simple Winter Walk

This month’s regular guest post from outdoors mummy blogger, Leila Balin is all about how her little man is learning all the time….

Learning on a simple winter walk

I love how a simple winter walk with any toddler will always be an adventure. They just find pleasure in every little detail. This weekend we headed down a lovely leaf littered path we hadn’t explored before and although it was pretty it didn’t look like it had much in the way of toddler entertainment. Looks were, however, deceiving and the amount of time exploring meant that we never even found out where the path led. We stopped, we played and we headed back the way we came before Little Man decided his legs could carry him no more.

Firstly it was the leaves that caught his attention. They were good for kicking and jumping in, he explored a few in great detail discussing their colour and their shape. Colours and shapes are important to him at the moment. He is learning about them at nursery and at every opportunity he will show off the shapes he knows and the colours he can pick out. It’s amazing how little ones learn with such relish, oblivious to the fact that learning should be anything but fun and exciting. Whatever he learns at nursery always transfers through to his play and I expect that has a lot to do with being taught through play too. I watch this miracle of knowledge gained and I wonder why learning ever needs to change. Why can’t it always be fun?

He soon moved on from the leaves to discovering stones. Stones are always good for throwing. Forget checking out their intricate colours or exploring their smooth shapes, how far can they be thrown? One of the ditches beside the path was full with water and besides asking if he could get in it (it was far too deep and cold!) every stone and twig he found from there on in was hurled as hard as he could. Giggles erupted every time the water exploded with a plop and a look of determination came over him whenever a throw failed. He soon discovered that the twigs didn’t make great tools for creating a splash and they were quickly discarded in favour of the stones.

Little Man trawled the same patch of path for what seemed an age, picking up stones he thought would be good for splashing and discarding anything that didn’t look promising. Each time he threw one in he waited to see what happened, getting more excited the bigger the splash. As he searched you could see his brain assessing the stones, comparing the stone in his hand to the ones he had thrown previously. Which ones would work and which ones wouldn’t. He was practising science. Experimenting as naturally as any true scientist does. For me this is simply more proof that our kids are all born ‘little scientists’ and that we don’t always have to try very hard at all to encourage them to explore their own natural curiosity. Get them outdoors and let them discover for themselves and before you know it they will have learnt more than we can ever teach them.

How do your little ones show off their inner scientist?

Leila writes a personal, nature inspired blog at Mud Marvellous Mud. She is passionate about connecting children to nature and writes about her son’s experiences as they explore together. She is trained to Forest Schools and Beach Schools level 3 and is currently studying for an Open University Open Degree.

My featured post for this week has to be Creative Star’s Outdoor Snacks and Drinks. We love Creative Star and we especially love this post. Eating outdoors is such a treat and this post shows just how much learning can take place simply by moving food outdoors. We really enjoyed the idea of a flask experiment. It sounds like great fun.

Outdoor snack 4

Why we love the nature table

Why we love the nature table

Do you remember having a nature table at school? We had a little one in the corner that every morning we would proudly place our collected treasures on. What I remember most about it is the chance to discover the items for myself. Pick them up, explore them, play with them and find out more about them in our small collection of natural history books.

I’m not sure how many schools have nature tables now but that is no reason for our kids not to get in on the action. Why not make one at home? All you need is a corner of a table or an easily accessible shelf and you are part of the way there. Once you have your designated nature space then the really fun part is filling it. You can do this by going on designated nature hunts or simply picking up things that interest you when you are out and about. However you collect for your table try to spend time each week or each month exploring the collection, finding out more about what you have found. Keep a little journal of what you find and have a pocket camera handy on your walks just in case you find something you can’t take home. It is such a great way to learn about nature and the learning really sticks because your kids will have discovered it all for themselves.

Here are just some of the reasons why we love nature tables….

They look delightful. All the different textures and colours of nature look lovely all sat together in one place. There is no need to hide away any of your treasures.

With a nature table you can really explore the seasons, discovering what happens in nature and when. Why do certain colours turn up at certain times of year? At what times of the year do you discover the same things? How does the table change as the seasons change? If this becomes a long term task in your house then your kids won’t just learn about the objects they find but they will discover how it all works together.

Collecting treasures for your table will create all sorts of lovely family memories. Do you remember when you found the biggest conker ever? How about that bit of seaweed that we found out was a shark’s egg? Do you remember you fell in the mud trying to reach that stick and you lost your wellies?

Having little bits of nature on display at home can remind us of how connected we are to all it has to offer. It reminds us that we don’t exist only inside our own little bubbles and that sometimes we should stop, relax and enjoy what the world has to offer.

A nature table offers something different to every individual. Whether you have a budding scientist, artist or engineer the nature table will have something for them. Some kids will love to discover the textures, shapes and colours of things, others will revel in discovering more through books while some children will use items as prompts for play and storytelling. The beauty of a nature table is that it is personal no matter how many people contribute to it.

Do you remember having a nature table at school? Do you and your family already have one? We’d love to hear your nature table stories. Send them over to us on our facebook page Adventure Togs or catch up with us on twitter @Adventure Togs. See you there!