Summer is Here!

Summer is Here!

If you had told me at the beginning of January that in a couple of months time we would all be staying in for more than 100 days with no additional preschool, school, access to family or any sort of childcare support I would have thought you had lost your mind! 

Well somehow it happened and we all got through it. For some lockdown has been one big, logistical nightmare of juggling working from home and homeschooling and for others lockdown has been a surprisingly precious gift.

If like me you've had moments of both these experiences and feel like you've already exhausted every downloadable worksheet, toy and activity pack under the sun then you may be in need of some new ideas to help you to keep the kids entertained through the rest of the summer.

Luckily my fabulous friend Emma has a wealth of experience and knowledge so I asked her if she could share some ideas here...

Hi!

I’m Emma, founder of Monty’s Play Hub: a place to spread the love for Montessori, where parents feel supported and children grow happy! It’s my absolute pleasure to have been asked by my wonderful friend, Victoria, to guest blog here for Bear & Bloom.

Montysaurus is my Montessori mascot over at Monty’s Play Hub. As well as being a plant-eating, people-loving dinosaur, his favourite thing to do is to play with the children and join them on their adventures at Monty’s Play Hub. Keep an eye out for him, as he sometimes makes an appearance on social media!

I’m a huge fan of creating activities for young children that take minimal time and resources to prepare. I know from my teaching experience, and as a Mum, that simple, no fuss activities are always winners, and because these activities take such minimal prep, they won’t leave us parents in despair when our kids play for 30 seconds before moving onto something else.

Summer is here and I want to share with you my favourite #growhappywithmontysaurus water activities for children under 6.

First of all, it's really important to recognise the dangers around water with children. Even a very small amount of water can be incredibly dangerous so please remember to supervise your children at all times when engaging in water play.

Splash! - Babies (4 months+)
You will need:
 A baking tray
 Some water
You know, a baby of 4 months old doesn’t have to miss out on water play just because they can’t sit up yet. One of my most favourite and simplest activities for babies is to put out a baking tray with a splash of water in it. This is not only a lovely opportunity for them to splash about in some water but it’s a fab way to get some tummy time in too. For this activity, it’s really important that the baby has enough upper body strength to push themselves up so that they will be able to remove themselves from the water, should they put their faces in it.
(Because we know they’re definitely going to try and lick that water aren’t they?!)

Warm and Cool Bowls - Older babies (9 months +)
You will need:
 Two bowls
 Some warm water
 Some cold water
This is one of my most favourite activities for babies 9 months upwards. I like to call it “warm and cool bowls” because it is simply that. One bowl filled with warm water and the other cold.
You could add ice cubes to the cold bowl but I prefer not to, because I just love to see the look on a child’s face when they touch each one. Isolating their sense of touch gives the child a really enriching sensory experience. They cannot tell which bowl is warm or cold without actually touching it.

Scoop & Pour - Young Toddlers (12 months +)
You will need:
 A large bowl of water
 Some cups, scoops and spoons from the kitchen
 Recycled bottles
 Baking trays and cupcake trays
 Turkey baster or pipettes
Young toddlers LOVE to pour water. They’re fascinated by transferring and this is a really simple way for children to enjoy transporting water into different containers. Raid your kitchen cupboards, grab any kind of container, scoop or spoon and sit back and watch!
They’ll have a whale of a time.

Sink or Float? Older toddlers (2 years +)
You will need:
 A large bowl of water
 A basket or container to collect things in
This simple activity is a fabulous hybrid of language and science. Toddlers around 2 years old typically have a huge explosion of language around this age, so supporting them with new and interesting vocabulary really appeals to them.
For this activity, simply hunt around the garden for things to dunk in the bowl of water: rocks, leaves, petals, sticks etc. Talk with your child about whether they sink or float, and name each item too, using the correct terminology. You could also use different names for one item e.g. stone, pebble, rock and describe them too e.g. its hard, heavy, smooth. Never underestimate the toddler’s ability to pick up new language. Ask them to say palaeontologist, and they will!

Ready, aim, fire! Preshoolers (3 years +)
You will need:
 Empty, recycled tins or plastic bottles
 Water gun or squeezy bottle (like a shampoo bottle)
This one is super fun for your preschoolers. Set up your cans or bottles in a row on a low wall or the patio, step back, aim and fire! Make a game of it by seeing how many you can hit before the water runs out, or alter the difficulty by stepping forwards or backwards. If you want to tie in some maths, you could fill the bottles and cans with varying amounts of soil or sand, and award scores for knocking off them off. The heavier the bottle the higher the score!

Water works – School Age (4 years +)
You will need:
 Tubing or guttering
 Some buckets, bricks or chairs
 A watering can
Get some simple construction in by creating your very own water system. I love using guttering for this activity, but you could use whatever you have lying around. Prop up your guttering using some upturned buckets, bricks or garden chairs at various heights and overlap them so that when you pour water from one end, it all runs down through the system. Carrying the guttering will be a welcome challenge for your child, so try not to help too much. You could place a bucket or tub at the end to collect the water and reuse it!

Water limbo - School age (4 years +)
You will need:
 A hose
Put your hose on the thinnest possible setting so that you have one thin stream of water coming through it. Then hold it at different heights whilst your children limbo under it.

I really hope you enjoy splashing about this summer! Remember – stay water and sun safe, and use the hashtag #growhappywithmontysaurus as I’d love to see your little ones having fun!

You can follow me over on Instagram at @montysplayhub and find me on Facebook too!

Emma

P.S

Follow the link below for my free download of suggestions for 5 days of sensory play...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hsdlhmuditgseru/5%20days%20of%20sensory%20play.pdf?dl=0

Victoria Morris

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