November 28, 2023

Spring Outdoor Play

Miranda, the Early Intervention Mama
Miranda, the Early Intervention Mama

Miranda is a mama to two young girls and a self proclaimed child development nerd. After spending 13 years serving families of babies and toddlers in early intervention, she recently left her position with Early On in Ingham County to care for her daughters and build her own small business, MI Early Parenting, LLC. Miranda currently provides parent and me enrichment classes and courses while offering robust Instagram and Facebook accounts  filled with tips on parenting the 0-5 crowd. In her spare time she enjoys baking, creating, sharing a meal with friends or family, ,and working hard to keep her pandemic house plants alive.

Springtime is here. I know you are ready to get your kids outside and soaking up the sunshine. Suddenly you think you need to head out to grab the latest outdoor toys and you are sidetracked by looking up what the must haves are for outdoor play this season. Let me help make it easy for you. Your child doesn’t NEED every brand new thing on the block. 

In fact, you probably already know this if you have a toy or two who lost its fun after a day, or if you’ve heard yourself say “They’re playing more with the box than the toy”. Trust me, I love the Target dollar spot just as much as you do, but I’m learning to love what we already have at home too. Using materials you already have on hand is like a big giant hug to the planet. But the real bonus is in the creativity and open ended play you are providing your child. You are showing them ways to problem solve and be creative- how to utilize a material for more than one thing.

Here are 5 household materials you probably already have and can incorporate into your child’s play outdoors as the weather opens up.

  1. Colander

Try it in your sandbox as a sifter. Add it to a water table and watch the water pour out through the holes. Search for long, dry, ornamental grass and stick it through the holes on the sides.

  1. Paint Brush or Basting Brush

Paint with water on the sidewalk. Make side walk paint and leave messages on the neighborhood sidewalk that will last for days. Let your child paint your patio furniture, their outdoor play equipment, or rocks with washable paint that can wash off in the rain. 

  1. Bed Sheet

Sheets are lightweight and easy to drape and secure over a clothesline or lawn furniture to make an outdoor fort. Utilize the sheet as a parachute like you used to do in gym class. Use an old sheet and let them paint on it like a giant canvas.

  1. Big Box or Bin

Add a little bit of string to your most recent diaper box and voila, homemade sled or wagon for your little one to haul rocks around the yard in. Set the boxes up and add their  balls alongside them to play toss into. Boxes can also make the perfect large tower that your child could crash their outdoor car or bike into for those who love a big impact.

  1. Muffin Tin

Have a tiny human who loves pretend play? Make mud cupcakes with grass frosting. One who likes collections? Encourage them to find 6 different rocks, one for each slot and you are working on one to one correspondence. Use the muffin tin to collect different outdoor elements to bring inside to glue onto a paper.

Next time you need something entertaining for your infant or toddler in a pinch, start by searching your cupboard. If you are looking for more ideas to support you, join me in a MI Early Parenting, LLC class where I utilize the increasingly popular Learn With Less® curriculum to increase parent’s confidence and connection with their tiny humans. Head to my website or Instagram for more information.

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