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Make the most of any sunny summer days with activities for all the family

With the start of summer comes the hope of sunny days and time spent outdoors, which means lots of new ways to keep children occupied – so long as the rain stays away!

Just getting out of the house to enjoy some fresh air can make everyone feel better, even if you can only manage ten minutes. If that’s all the time you have, switch off from your to-do list and go for a walk, or take out a drink and a snack with you into your garden and try doing some activities together outside – which could be anything from playing their favourite game or reading a book to them, to colouring in or blowing bubbles together.

Other things to try include letting them loose with pavement chalk so they can create their own masterpieces, or let them use safe, washable paints to decorate cardboard shapes, pebbles, even pasta shapes that can be turned into jewellery for them to proudly wear.

If you’ve got a little bit longer try some gardening together, which can be fun whether you have a garden of any size or just some planters. Let them help while you plant some seeds or bulbs or even make an herb garden with them. Not only are they fun to create, but you can watch everything you lovingly planted grow over time.

If you feel like getting out and about, then a trip to your local park, nature reserve, playground, beach or even an inclusive playground if you have one nearby – whatever you have access to – is always a good plan, especially if you can meet up with some friends. But you can make more of an event out of it by taking a picnic which is a nice break away from normal routines which can be as simple or grand as you like. While you are there, why not fly a kite, take skittles and a ball, or simply explore your surroundings to see what treasures nature has to offer. You can take pictures of interesting bugs or collect any interesting pebbles, shells, sticks, leaves, or flowers you find along the way.

If you are happy to go further afield there are lots of places to take a day trip. If you need them to be wheelchair accessible then visit the Motability site t0 discover what’s available. For children who have autism check out some autism friendly activity days here.

If you want fun that’s closer to home but a bit more interactive, especially if you have a few children to entertain, try a treasure hunt. This can be pre-planned with simple clues and a cache of gold (chocolate coins) for them to find – dressing as pirates optional! Or, you could hold a scavenger hunt with a list (or pictures for those who can’t read) that they have to find and bring back to a central place.

You can also turn a walk an ordinary walk into a sensory tour. Along your journey, look for things with different textures to feel, such as the roughness of bricks or sticks, the shape and texture of different stones and leaves, look for different colours. You can also concentrate on different scents on your route such as different flowers, freshly cut grass, cooking smells from restaurants, or bread from bakeries.

Nice weather is also a great chance to do some exercise in the fresh air – so long as it’s not too hot. Try doing some yoga, which can help balance and concentration – if you’re not sure how there are lots of free options you can stream. Alternatively try using a hula hoop or put on your favourite music and have a dance party.

Other outdoor activities include:

  • Messy play with water, sand, clay, playdough – all the fun without worrying about what might get ruined.
  • If your child has trouble holding a paint brush, let them finger paint or fill an ice cube tray with non-toxic watercolour paint mixed with water and freeze. They can then paint with paint cubes – and you don’t have to worry about the mess as they melt.
  • Tie dye some old white t-shirts and give them a new lease of life with some funky designs. Doing this outside means less mess indoors and they will be ready in no time if you leave them in the sun to dry out with their new bright and colourful patterns.
  • Fill a tray or old ice cream tub with sand and hide some items for your child to find – if you do this outside it doesn’t matter how much sand ends up on the floor or table!