Unstructured outdoor play is the best for children in the early years.
If you have a back yard at your home, take your child outside for as much of the day as weather permits. If you don’t, follow social distancing recommendations while enjoying some outdoor time.
Why not try some of the following activities while soaking up all the benefits of outdoor play?
- Half-fill a large basin/bucket with water and add an old paintbrush. Encourage your child to make patterns on the concrete with the water. Add bubbles for some messy fun!
- Make a mud kitchen, using old pots and pans or utensils that you no longer use in the kitchen. Encourage children to play and get messy.
- Provide your child with pavement chalks and explore and create some street art for your back yard. Or make your own chalk puffy paint with our recipe here. [link to learning hub resouce]
- Blow and chase bubbles together using a dishwashing liquid and water mix, experiment together to get the right mix, and items with a bubble-blowing hole. Design and make a bubble blower out of some straws or wire or pegs.
- Play games together such as ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’
- Go on a listening walk, listen for the sounds and guess what these are.
- Search for caterpillars and butterflies, along with any other bugs you can find. You could use your phone to research the names of these with your child and even set up a ‘bug hotel’ in your garden to encourage bugs to come and visit.
- Create a fairy garden or a gnome garden, inspiring imagination and creativity (look at Pinterest for ideas).
- Make your own obstacle course using simple items that are available, such as hula hoops, play tunnels and stepping stones. Set up different stations and make it a challenge for the whole family!
- Start your own vegetable garden together, taking inspiration from the vegetable gardens at some of our own centres, and making sure to take regular care of the plants together. Children love anything that can be picked from the garden and used in meals, such as herbs, tomatoes and strawberries!
We’re all for silver linings, and the stay home orders provide a golden opportunity for parents and children to be each other’s gym buddies, keeping that motivation pumping.
Many gyms have taken their workouts online or are offering subscriptions to online classes while others have seen this crisis as an opportunity to offer a free public service.
We’ve gathered up some of the best resources for you below…
- Sam Wood was one of the first to offer free 30-minute workouts live streamed at 9am Monday to Friday. He’s joined by wife Snez with young Charlie running interference in his walker. The comments suggest that there are plenty of families tuning in and loving it! Find them here.
- Sydney Kings basketball player Kevin Lisch has produced a short video demonstrating some fun exercises using children and household items as gym equipment. It’s not quite a full workout, but a little nudge to suggest that this can be fun for all. Click here to find them
- Popsugar Fitness offers a family cardio workout that incorporates games that children love, and has made their online workouts free for a limited time. Find them here.
- For the duration of lockdown, Yoga Ed’s online yoga classes are free. Their 20-minute kids’ yoga class for ages three to five is easy to follow and you can also explore the site to find classes suitable for older children and adults. Click here to watch on Youtube.
- Cosmic Kids offers yoga, mindfulness and relaxation videos tailored to children from age three, and you can sign up for a free two-week trial. You can find them on Youtube here.
- We know Sesame Street all too well from our TV screens, but this children’s favourite has a treasure trove of resources to help families through the lockdown. To find exercise videos and other activities, go here.
- Sesame Street also offer up a handy resource that combines movement and games for when you have run out of ideas. Find it here.
- Sometimes children can be a little reluctant to get moving, but combine it with these Disney inspired workouts and you might just win them over! Click here to find them all.
Zoos, museum and art galleries may have closed their doors – but with virtual tours, behind the scenes live streaming and activities specially designed for children at home, there’s still plenty of fun to be found in taking an online visit.
With careful selection, you can steer your child from the virtual to actual activities to extend the learning.
- Mogo Zoo came close to obliteration in the summer of bushfires and its gates were closed before lockdowns began. But zoo keeper Chad is posting daily Instagram videos with some of the cutest critters you could hope to encounter – and big ones too. Find them here.
- Melbourne Zoo is live streaming animal action from Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo 24/7. Catching activity can be a bit hit and miss. so best to tune in at feeding times when the animals are guaranteed to make an appearance. Click here to join in the fun.
- You can catch live videos daily of keepers feeding the animals at 2pm on the Reptile Park’s Facebook and Instagram, or on the website, a series of educational and fun videos with Park Director Tim Faulkner. Find them here.
- Complementing live streaming of animals from Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park, Zoos South Australia has collated a highlights package and added a few activities for children. A highlight of this site is a section on how to keep pets happy and healthy at home. Enjoy it by clicking here.
- Perth Zoo has put some serious thought into rounding out its virtual zoo offering for children with videos complemented by fact sheets and activity tasks, and keeper talks. Find all the fun here.
- In addition to live streaming feeding time at its aquariums and wildlife parks Merlin has a nifty Education Toolbox featuring worksheets, videos and fun activities. Find it all here.
Most art galleries around Australia have responded to the COVID-19 crisis by offering a range of resources and activities suitable for children online. Below you will find links to galleries where you will find activities to engage your children in a range of arts, crafts, games and videos.
There’s nothing like theatre to really engage young children but with live performances closed that’s a pleasure to be set aside for later. In the meantime, actors and performers have taken their talents online with some offering fare suitable for the under 5s.
Emily Who is hosting the first Aussie Kids Couch concert, featuring 12 children’s entertainers from around Australia, bringing music and dance into homes everywhere. The line-up includes The Beanies, Cheeky Tunes, Lizzy Loo, Penny Pom Pom, B Minor Music, Pevan and Sarah Van Serano. Find it all here .
- Canberra’s National Museum of Australia has a seriously good catalogue of activities for children at home. While they’re there, they might even find themselves exploring some of the other treasures to be found in the museum. Find all the activities here.
- The National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour is a family favourite to visit and its online offering will whet the appetite for a return to the “old normal”. Children can play educational online games, access art and crafts and activities, and explore the museum’s library of videos. Click here to access.
By: G8 Education Team
Unstructured outdoor play is best for children in the early years. If you have a back yard at your home, take your child outside for as much of the day as weather permits.
If you don’t have a back yard, enjoy exploring the neighbourhood or the local outdoor spaces together.
Sit back and enjoy some time watching your child running around, kicking balls and exploring how their bodies move.
If you’d like to organise an activity for them in the back yard, here is one great idea.
- Bubble bath or body wash (make sure it’s tear-free)
- Food colouring
- Make a 2:1 ratio mix – 2 parts bubblebathto 1-part water. A good amount to make is 1/2 cup bubble bath with 1/4 cup of water.
- Beat it with a wooden spoon or whisk until it becomesreally foamy. Find a mixer so that your child can join in with this.
- Put into a large, flatcontainer, somewherethat mess can easily be cleaned. This can be used on its own for bubbly fun or you could add in containers and toys!
This is a really fun way to use up small pieces of old sidewalk chalk, or take your sidewalk chalk game to a whole new level – especially if you’re taking part in the #rainbowtrail movement in your community!
Children at our centres love making and playing with sidewalk puffy paint. If you are concerned about getting it off your sidewalk once dry, just be sure to wash it off while it’s still wet.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid
- 1 piece sidewalk chalk – or the leftover remnants of old chalk are perfect for this!
- Plastic squeeze bottle
This recipe fills up a small bottle of paint. If you’d like to make several colours, simply double the recipe and divide the mixture before adding the chalk.
- Mix flour with water, then add 1 tablespoon of dish soap. Mix well until all clumps are gone.
- Using a cheese grater, grate the sidewalk chalk piece on the finest setting in the colour of your choice. The more chalk you add, the brighter the colour will be!
- Be sure to use within the same day you make it – and have fun creating beautiful pictures on your driveway!