Tag Archives: under 5’s

20 Outdoor Things to Do Before You are 5

 

outdooe pin.pngThese Ideas were originally written for Parentmap in 2013

When my eldest daughter was working through the National Trust’s list of ’50 things to do before you are 11 3/4′.  I was inspired to create a companion list for my younger children.  Some of the challenges on the National Trust list, like picking wild blackberries were easily completed by young children but I felt a list of basic foundational outdoor experiences for babies, toddlers and preschoolers could work alongside it.

I realise that we are fortunate to live in a house with a garden and nature all around us but I tried hard to make the experiences accessible to all, in all weather and without an outdoor space at home. There are many amazing things that young children can experience outdoors, these are the ones I believe are essential .

20 things to do before you are 5.   

  1. Splash in a puddle:  Put on your rain boots and/or waterproof trousers and splash in puddles large, small and muddy.puddles
  2. Blow a dandelion clock : counting out the hours of the day as you blow

    blowing a dendelion clock
    child blowing a dandelion clock
  3. Play in sand: In a sand box, at the park or at the beach. Playing with sand needn’t be limited to building sandcastles. Explore wet and dry sand, fill containers, hide things in the sand, draw in it with a stick or make a dinosaur swamp.

    sand play
    Sand play
  4. Walk through crunchy autumn leaves: You could also catch some from the trees as they fall, take them home and print with them or make a crunchy collage.autumn leaves
  5. Catch blossom from a tree.blossom
  6. Play in the snow:  If snow is thin on the ground head out to a snow park or if you live in a country where you don’t have snow, set up some icy play in the sunshine.

    lying in the snow
    I just want to lie in it
  7. Grow a flower from a bulb or a seed: Guess the colour of the flower that will grow or grow a tall sunflower and measure it as it grows.WP_20130718_004 (2)
  8. Ride a tricycle, bicycle or scooter.IMG_0513
  9. Make a mud pie: You could even build a mud kitchen using old pans and kitchen utensils.mud kitchens
  10. Walk barefoot on grass, mud or sand: Walking barefoot helps children to balance and strengthens muscles in the foot. It is also a great way to stimulate the senses and talk about different textures.IMG_0615
  11. Collect natural materials from the woods, beach or park: Collect shells, leaves, pinecones or seeds. Put double sided tape on a pair of boots or a hat and help the children collect items to stick on. Use them to make pictures, sculptures or for small world play.skeleton leaf
  12. Go on a bug hunt: Dig for worms, look in dark places or watch spider webs wet with dew.

    bug hunting
    I found a beetle.
  13. Play with a stick: Sticks can be swords, fairy wands or pencils. We have a huge collection outside our front door as our only rule is ‘No sticks in the house’.

    Y sticks
    Let’s see how many ‘Y’ sticks we can find.
  14. Go for a walk in the woods.
  15. Paddle barefooted in the ocean, lake or stream: If your budget or location doesn’t allow you to get to the seaside, lake or stream, paddle barefooted in a puddle.paddling
  16. Play Pooh sticks.pooh sticks
  17. Throw and kick a ball: Start with large balls and as children get older experiment with different shapes and sizes.

    fairground games
    Throw the ball at the trampoline and see if you can bounce it into the tub.
  18. Go fruit picking: At a farm or pick wild berries in the woods or park.strawberry picking
  19. Run in an open space.kite(1)
  20. Chase and blow bubbles.
    dr mazes farm
    small bubbles

    My little ones are over 5 now but still their favourite thing to do is climb the tree in our front garden,  make a mud pie or potion (my 8-year-old carried a pot of gooey mud home from school yesterday) or collect and create with sticks, petals and stones.

What would be on your list?

 

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The End of an Era – Goodbye Under 5’s

As an early education consultant, today is a momentous day. Tomorrow is my youngest daughter’s 5th birthday and so, after 11 and a half years, this is the last day I will have children under 5.

A few years ago I looked forward to the day when my children would be growing up but today I am a little sad for all the things I will miss.

  1. Their chubby little faces and hands
striped hat

2. Watching them play

3. Cute drawings

child's drawing

4. Messy faces

Finished!
Finished!

5. Thumb suckers

thumb

6. Kisses, cuddles and holding hands

mother kissing baby

7. Having a constant companion

pap

8. Learning to sing

9. Sleeping babies

Had enough now mum
Had enough now mum

10. Everything about this

Luckily, I have almost a year before she goes to school, so lots of time left as a pre-schooler. Happy Birthday little one and as your t shirt says ‘Never Grow Up’
never grow up

Top 5 Books for Children Under 5 as Chosen by my Children

My competition to win 6 Picture Books has prompted some wonderful comments about reading with young children.  Lots of the comments suggested that parents were always keen to find new books to share with their children.  I have already written a post sharing my top books for under 5’s so I thought this time I would ask my children.

  The Elephant and the Bad Baby  by Elfrida Vipont and Raymond Briggs.

This was my 7 Year olds favourite book when she was 2.  We read it again and again and the repetitive text almost drove my husband bonkers.  When my middle child was 2 she latched onto it also and it became a firm favourite.  The first part of the book is repetitive and it is easy for the children to learn it by heart and join in with the story, especially the ‘rumpeta,rumpeta rumpeta as they go down the road.  The message behind the story is the importance of saying please and it does this in a charming and humourous manner.  Both my children have loved the page with the baker’s shop, looking at the cakes and deciding which one they like best.  I’m sure it is a book you will find your young children ‘reading’ by themselves before long even if they are unable to read.

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

This was my 3 year olds choice.  Her dad read it to her recently and said ‘What a lovely book, why haven’t I read this one before?’ (his other favourite is The Snail and the Whale  by the same authors).

Written by the authors of the Gruffalo , this rhyming book is about a Stickman who gets himself into situations because he keeps getting mistaken for a stick.  He is desperate to get back to his family and is losing hope when he meets Father Christmas who lends a helping hand.

You Choose by  Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt

This was one of the books from my 7 year olds Bookstart Treasure Chest.  This soon became the one book we read every evening until I became so sick of it and I would plead with her to choose something else.  She is still very fond of it and it is one of the few picture books she refuses to pass down to her younger sister.

Each page asks a question such as if you could have any house what sort of house would you choose?  Then you choose the one you like best from the illustrations.  Nick Sharratt’s illustrations are lovely and it is a great book to stimulate discussion but in our house it was a little over read!

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

This is not strictly for under 5’s, my 7 year old chose it and I’ve allowed it in the list because we first read it together when she was 4. Pippi Longstocking is a very witty and insightful book and you will get a lot out of it as an adult too (in a similar way to Winnie the Pooh).  There are a few books that stand the test of time and this is one of them.  My daughter’s copy has been so well read it is falling apart but when I offered to replace it with a new copy she declined my offer.

Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

There is a Charlie and Lola story about a library book that Lola is fixated with and takes home every time she visits.  This was the book that my 7 year old borrowed from the library time and again until finally the library sold it off because it had become too shabby.  We bought it for 30p.

It is a beautiful rhyming story about sharing and friendship and helping others.  We lost our copy a few years back after I used it at work .  My 3 year old found a copy at our doctors surgery, we read it together and I explained that it had been her sister’s favourite.  She loved it too.  When my 7 year old suggested this one she beamed and said’Oh I love that one’ running to her bookcase to get it.  I explained that we didn’t have it anymore.  Writing this has prompted me to buy a replacement copy and I will enjoy reading it to my 2 younger daughters.

My Top 5 Books for Under 5’s

To mark World book day, I thought I would list my top 5 books for under 5’s .  I have chosen the books that the children enjoy, but also that I do not get tired of reading. There were lots on the shortlist but I think these are my favourites.

  Any of the original Mr Men books by Roger Hargreaves.  I loved these as a child and my children love them too.  The stories are witty and clever without being too long and my eldest learned some really sophisticated vocabulary from them when she was 3 .  When I was a child (much older than 5) my aunt worked in a bookshop and we would visit her and sit by the Mr Men shelf reading all the ones we didn’t have.  Timeless.

Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne – not strictly for under 5’s but my eldest had a real thing about Winnie the Pooh when she was 3, to the point that Piglet was her imaginary friend and went everywhere with us.  We used to have to listen to the audio books (with Stephen Fry and Judy Dench) in the car, but I never tired of them.  This is a book that I first read as a university student and found it endearing and hilarious.  Thankfully the children love it too.  Some of the best quotes come from Winnie the Pooh.

 

 Something Else by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell  This is a heart warming story about a creature who is teased because he is different and then strikes up a friendship with another creature.  It has beautiful illustrations and a quirky twist at the end.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Lauren Child  – I love this one, a traditional story retold in an intelligent and witty way,  in the way that only Lauren Child can.  On my first reading it made me say ‘Wow!’  If you love Charlie and Lola you will love this too.

 

Burglar Bill by Janet and Alan Ahlberg –The comical story of a burglar who steals a box and later finds a baby inside. I really enjoy reading this one and acting out the voices of Burglar Bill and Burglar Betty.  There are lots of funny bits in it that make the children laugh out loud.