What comes to mind when you think of Summer? Is it sand, sea and sunshine? It sure is for me! So why not really embrace the season, lean into it hard and use it as a way to stimulate your child’s play!
Sometimes having a theme can really boost our creativity, it seems counterintuitive, but putting some parameters in can often allow us to think more freely. There’s the added benefit that if your play is inspired by the season then you can play outside and enjoy the weather OR play indoors and take a sunbreak! The best of both worlds.
So, let’s take a look at the three summery themes shall we?
Sand is an excellent base for sensory play, it is incredibly tactile and mesmerising to watch as it moves, but what can you do with it?
1) Mark-making – pour a tray of sand (or dried polenta if you have some hidden at the back of the cupboard that has gone out of date) and pair it with a stick or chopstick and a small container of water. Show your child how to draw shapes in the sand and experiment with the texture by adding water.
2) Capacity – set up your tray in the same way as above, but this time pair with a few small cups, bowls and spoons. Try and guess how many spoonsful of sand each container will need before reaching capacity.
Another fantastic sensory base that is perfect for some ‘clean’ messy fun! Either do this outside or in the bath and play without worrying about spillages!
1) Sea scene – add some plastic sea creature toys or figures to your child’s bath and just a couple of drops of blue or green food colouring to give the water a tint. Chuck in a few of their regular bath toys and sit back and watch their story telling unfurl.
2) Another fantastic way to jazz up some small world play: dye some rice blue or green to make the sea. Do this by adding a blob of poster paint to some rice in a ziplock bag and mix before leaving to air dry). This rice could always be paired with your polenta to create a beach scene.
We all love a bit of sunshine, don’t we? It’s proven to boost our feel-good hormones and so why not extend this love to our children’s play.
1) Paint a paper plate yellow. Once dry you can add facial features with a black Sharpie. Around the outside edge write the alphabet in lower case letters. Using wooden clothes pegs, write an uppercase letter on each peg until you have a full set. Ask your child to match the upper and lowercase letters by pegging them onto the plate. The pegs then look like the rays of the sun! You could vary this to be answers to times tables or number bonds, French and English words – whatever it is that your child is working on at school at the moment. Play has been proven to be the best way to help children learn and retain new information.
2) Sundial – If you have a full day at home and some outdoor space, why not set up your very own sundial. You’ll need to pop out each other with some chalk to mark where the shadow of your chosen object falls! A good and fun science experiment for all ages.
I hope that you all have a lovely Summer. If you’re looking for more Summer themed ideas then
check out my Summer and Outdoor play pack, available as a digital download from my website.
Susie Robbins is a Leighton Buzzard based busy mum of 3 and founder of Resolve To Play. She provides quick and easy play ideas that support your child’s development, emotional wellbeing and learning!
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