As the summer holidays draw to a close and the heat ramps up, it can be difficult to think of new and exciting things to do - especially with the little ones who can't organise their own play.
Thanks to netmums.com, we've found 8 really cool (pardon the pun) summer fun ideas.
1. The Car Wash
Combine your toddler’s love of water and pretend play with an outdoor ‘car wash’. Take a washing-up tub, a cloth, sponge or brush, add soapy bubbles and set them to ‘work’ cleaning their vehicles. Get them to dry up too. Not into cars? Try other waterproof toys such as figures and dolls clothing that could be laundered and pegged up to dry on a makeshift washing line.
Making a tepee is usually cheaper than buying one, surprisingly easy and they make a lovely, shady spot for small children. Place six bamboo canes in a semi-circle each about 60cm apart at the base, push them around 2cm into the grass. Gently draw the top of the sticks together, tie with string and your frame’s done. Fix a sheet on with pegs and, voila, your tepee is ready for play.
3. Sandpit Treasure Hunt
Fancy a change from the same old bucket and spade? Switch things up by creating a mini-treasure hunt. Hide lots of small items in the sand – shells or figures perhaps – and get the kids searching for them. Or try mixing in plenty of water with the sand to create a muddy consistency, ideal for sculpting with hands and tools … messy but fun!
4. Driveway Art
Allow your littles to decorate the drive or patio with chunky chalk, before rinsing it all away later. If you haven’t got a suitable surface and your neighbours aren’t going to get annoyed, the pavement’s an option (well supervised and away from traffic of coiurse). For younger toddlers who haven’t got the hang of mark-making yet, why not draw a basic road track for them to wheel toy vehicles around?
5. Ice-Ice Baby
Fill a couple of washing-up bowls or plastic tubs with a little water and quite a lot of ice and provide the kids with a variety of jugs and containers, plus (child-safe) kitchen utensils – slatted spoons, sieves, tongs – for them to grab and transfer the ice with. Make your ice with food colouring or in trays for different shapes for added allure.
6. Cloud Spotting
A parental favourite because it involves lying down - just lie on the grass together on the sort of breezy, partly cloudy day when the clouds are fluffy and fast-moving and see what you can see in their formations. Does that one look a bit like a sheep? The one over there remind you of Grandma’s face? Afterwards get everyone to close their eyes and talk about what sounds you can all hear, too. If you're lucky, everyone might just fall asleep!
7. Backyard Bowling
Skip the expensive bowling alleys and create your own for free (plus you needn’t wear those funny shoes). Raid the recycling box and fill six plastic bottles with some water and a few drops of food colouring. Place the bottles on flat ground, grab a ball that’s an easy size for your child to roll and await those first shouts of ‘strike!’
8. Paddling-Pool Fishing Trip
Give your child a small fishing net, fill up the paddling pool and add a load of waterproof small toys (ideally ones that float) – bath toys, plastic bricks or balls etc, and let your child fish for their playthings! Once they’ve caught them all, tip them back in for another round … and another … This one can be done with your little one either sat in the pool or crouching beside it.
The lazy Summer Days are here for a while still so these ideas are also great for those weekends when everyone is at a loose end. Enjoy!