Tag Archives: outdoor play

Outdoor Play: Bubble and Straw Painting.

bubble paintingMy kids love messy activities but sometimes it’s just a little too much to handle indoors.

We decided to do some outdoor painting.

A small amount of paint, a squirt of washing up liquid and a few drops of water were mixed in our pallet.

I showed my 4-year-old  how to blow bubbles with a straw. We talked about the difference between blowing and sucking.

What will happen if you suck the straw?

I’ll drink the paint. Yuck!

It’s like the wind, the wind blows but it doesn’t suck.

blowing paint
We tried to make the bubbles come over the top. We found that we needed to blow gently. They still didn’t quite bubble enough so we carefully added more water and tried again.

We placed the paper on top to make bubble patterns.

placing the paper on a bubble printbubble print

Next she made a bubbly hand print.

Time to get clean.
Time to get clean.

When the paint overflowed onto the deck she discovered that you could do something else with the straw.


The paint moves and makes patterns when you blow it with a straw.
The paint moves and makes patterns when you blow it with a straw.


Blowing the paint on the paper with the straw made a whole new type of painting.

blowing paint with a straw


Outdoor Play: Catching Butterflies

ElefunThis morning we were playing a game of Elefun, the game where fabric butterflies are blown from an elephant’s trunk for the children to catch in nets.

 I know, let’s go and catch butterflies outside.

My 4-year -old quickly ran outside to look around the garden for butterflies. I explained that we needed to be quiet and still if we were to find any butterflies.  Butterflies are attracted to red, yellow, pink and purple so we looked for flowers in these colours and waited.

I might find a butterfly, they like red and yellow so they might land in my net.

If we are very quiet we might catch a butterfly.
If we are very quiet we might catch a butterfly.

The hunt for butterflies was not very successful so they started to look for other creatures instead.

They found a woodlouse (or roly-poly as the kids here call them) and lots of bees but no butterflies.

I know let’s make some butterflies out of paper.

I cut out some paper butterflies. The girls wanted to decorate them with stickers but I could only find white ones.

I know let’s draw patterns on the white ones.  Now you hide them and we can find them and catch them in our nets.


Outdoor Play: Making Potions


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My eldest daughter has been an avid potion maker all her life.  We are always finding concoctions in her bathroom and when she was young she would leave them on the windowsill of her bedroom or on the side of the bath and if you knocked them off whilst having a relaxing bath the cold would give you the shock of your life.  She is now a huge Harry Potter fan, having read all of the series 4 times and her potions are taking on new meaning. Her younger sister is following in her footsteps. Now that the weather is nicer I set up a little potion station for them in the garden – they love it.

It is a great  sensory play activity and science experiment, they got their hands in, testing and smelling the potions and used all kinds of things from the garden. Best of all I love how the imaginary play scenarios evolved.  I suggested to my 9-year-old that she might like to make a book of potion recipes.

‘Yes’ she exclaimed excitedly, ‘ But we’ll need about 70 pages, the McClary recipe book’


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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

8 Things a Child Can Learn From Playing Golf.

willows run put put courseToday I met with a group of mums and their toddlers to play golf at the pitch and put, Willows Road Golf Course. All of the children were new to golf and most of the children were below the age of 2.  My girls had a brilliant time – my 4-year-old even asked if she could come back tomorrow.

Before 11am under 12’s can play the 18 hole pitch and put for $5. The beautiful setting meant that my 2-year-old, who lost interest after a few holes had plenty to keep her occupied.

There were lots of opportunities for learning too:

  • Number recognition as we moved around the holes
  • Recognising colours – who has the red ball? What colour flag do we have this time?
  • Reading signs – Please rake your footprints, keep on the path.
  • Gross motor skills – how do you hold the club? You need to hit it hard to get it up hill.  What is the best way to get it in the hole?
  • Counting – how many shots did you take that time?
  • Writing – filling out a score card.
  • Vocabulary – What is the stick called again? I’m in the bunker.
  • Turn- taking and awareness of others.

We’ll definitely be doing it again, a great way to spend a sunny morning.

Outdoor Play: Making Muddy Footprints Isn’t Always Easy.

I had a bit of alone time with my middle daughter. We thought it might be fun to try to make muddy footprints.

Do you want to make shoe prints or do it in bare feet.

Her face lit up

Bare Feet!

In Seattle it rains a lot. Finding soft mud shouldn’t be a problem….

But then it is still only just outside of winter and we still have frosty mornings.

child with hose

The mud didn’t look much like we would be able to make footprints. We decided to wet it with the hose.

We tried again.

standing in mud

It’s not working.

How about we dig a bit and try to find the clay-like mud?

We found trowels and proceeded to dig.

digging in mud

Let’s add a bit more water now.

wet mud

We tried again.

Now it’s too wet! It doesn’t work properly.

mudHow about we try to smooth it out and make it flat and then see what happens?

playing in mud

Press your foot in

footprints in mud

Look it worked.

mud playWe can try again in the Summer or in another bit of mud. Can you wash my foot with the hose?

It’ll be cold

I like it cold.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Outdoor Play:Water Painting

mark making toddlersGetting my children to put things away when they are finished is often a struggle but sometimes it has its advantages. A tub and paintbrush were left on the driveway. After a few rainy days it inevitably filled with water. My 2-year-old picked up the brush, dipped it in the tub and proceeded to paint the garage.

On a sunny day she returned to the tub but couldn’t find her paintbrush. I brought a selection from the garage and as she discovered the different lines the brushes made. Painting on a dry driveway was a very different experience. I later found a paint roller – below are her remarks as she played.

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Outdoor Play: Finding The Alphabet in Nature

Having recently discovered some of the amazing hikes in the Seattle area we are really keen to encourage the children to appreciate the wonders around them. My kids love outdoor play, especially in the woods but a 4 mile steep hike can be hard work for an 8, 4 and 2-year old. To keep them going on our last hike I asked them to see how many letters of the alphabet they could spot in the surrounding area. The letters had to be found in nature and they weren’t allowed to create a letter by moving an object.

Here are some of the letters we found