With the summer holidays drawing to a close this week, many of the children in your care will probably be getting ready to return to, or even start, school. Depending on where you live, you may already be back into the swing of the school run already.
No matter what month we’re in though, there is still time to organise trips with your setting, whatever the weather. We recently asked some of our followers on Facebook what they had been up to this summer, so if you’re still stuck for somewhere to go why not take inspiration from your fellow childcare practitioners?
Visit the seaside
This is a classic summertime activity, but a day out at the beach can be exhilarating and educational. Whether they’re building sandcastles or having a quick paddle on a warm day, or watching waves crash and feeling the spray on their face if it’s a bit wilder, there is lots for children to learn! Nearby rockpools can fascinate older children as they look for resident sea life – it’s a great way to teach children about the environment and looking after our oceans. Remember to keep the seaside activities appropriate to the age and stage of development of the children, though – and be prepared to change plans if the weather closes in unexpectedly. If you dont live near the coast why not see if there are any 'pop-up' beaches in you local area, or have fun creating your own day at the seaside with a sandbox, a bucket and spade and maybe an ice-cream!
Sarah from Little B’s Childminding, Harrogate mentioned that they “…went to Saltburn beach yesterday for a special treat” on our Facebook post.
Visit the zoo, local animal sanctuary or a farm
From giraffes to clown fish, a trip to the zoo is an exciting and educational day out. Children will enjoy seeing all kinds of animals and learning about how zoos and animal sanctuaries help with conservation efforts. If you don’t live near a zoo, see if there’s a local farm that offers day visits. Some farm visits can give children the chance to interact with animals such as ponies, sheep or goats. Great for increasing their understanding of the world and practising those animal noises!
Explore your local park
Never underestimate the power of your local park! Letting children explore the park can be especially beneficial for their understanding of the world and stimulating a child’s senses. Helping them to learn how to play outdoors with others, parks can offer the chance to explore nature – some larger parks may have nature trails and, as autumn approaches, activities such as collecting conkers or spotting leaves that are changing colour can be the perfect way to engage a child’s learning.
Helen recently took the children in her setting to Greenwich Park, in London. Despite being just a few miles from the city centre, the children were able to see the deer, feed the ducks, pick flowers and even had time for a picnic!
Local museums and art exhibitions
Local museums are an excellent way to develop a child’s interest in science and history. Many museums will have exhibits that are interactive and will allow children of all ages to experiment and try new things. For permanent exhibits it’s a chance to learn about history and for older children in a setting, further any learning they have done at school. Ask the children to use their imaginations and create stories about what they have seen. A lot of museums are free to attend, or you can make an optional donation, so it’s a cost-effective day out too! Remember to ask museum staff if they have any activity trails especially for youngsters.
Katie, from Thurlstone’s Little Explorers, sent us this lovely picture of a recent visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where the children were able to explore the exhibits and make nature art of their very own out of clay.
Get moving – try bowling or another activity
The bright lights of a bowling alley are always an exciting place for children and a few games of bowling can help with physical development and teamwork skills, as well as building confidence in competitive games and activities. Bowling can also be set up at home if you have some pots or cups and a ball. Encourage the children to work together to knock down all of the ‘pins’ and see how many points they can score! PACEY members even have access to a resouce on making your own pins from recycled bottles!
Whatever you decide to do as we start a new school term and experience a change in the seasons, PACEY has lots of resources on hand to inspire you and help keep the little ones active.
PACEY members can access the Autumn Activities resource via our Resource Hub in MyPACEY, as well as the Winter Activities if you want to get prepared for later in the year too. There’s also ‘Spotlight On…’ pages with suggestions from other PACEY members on Outdoor Activities and for our Welsh members, resources on educational activities that centre around Welsh language and culture.
As always, if you have any suggestions of activities you’ve tried with the children in your setting, comment below and let us know about the fun you’ve had!