Who else is ready for some fun in the sun?!
With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, we are getting ready for all things summer and wanted to share some of our sun-safe activities! Not only did we want to share some summer-fun activities, but we also wanted to share some tips and tricks on how to reinforce sun-safe behaviour with your child.
Many of the families at Little Zak’s Academy are already aware of how we have a sun-safe approach. The children know to wear their hats, sunscreen and enjoy sheltered outdoor play where they are protected from the hot Australian sun! We incorporate sun-safe education into our programs and integrate it into our daily routines. The combination of language and action introduces the concept of sun-care! A few of the following activities are examples:
By allowing toddlers to ‘do it themselves’, they can develop their communication and independence regarding sun safety! Getting the whole family involved and leading by example is also very helpful to introducing sun-safe habits. It’s also important to be mindful of the time of day you choose to engage in outdoor play. When the sun is at its peak, it’s best to stay indoors and wait until it’s not as hot.
Now that we’ve highlighted the importance of sun safety let’s jump into some summer fun activities!
This one is easy! Take your child’s favourite toys, books or puzzles and let them help you find a patch of shade in your yard or a local park. As you search for your patch of share, reiterate why you are looking for a sun safe place and distinguish the difference between shady and sunny areas. If you struggle to find a shaded area, you can create a temporary sun-safe space using blankets, sheets, tarps or other household materials.
Fun Sun-Safe Questions
Ask your child a series of questions about sun-safe behaviour! You can make up a song, talk about ‘Mr Red Lobster‘ who got burnt in the sun, and have some playful fun. For example:
What should mummy or daddy put on their head before they go to the beach?… Is it a watermelon? (NOOO) … Is it a helmet? (NOOO)… Is it a Hat? (YES!!!)
What should mummy and daddy put on their skin before they go out in the sun?
Is it pancake syrup? (NOOO)… is it spaghetti sauce? (NOOO)… Is it sunscreen? (YES!!!)
Have fun with this activity- make noise, do a dance and be creative! The more engaging, the better!
The effect of the sun on different items and materials
Demonstrating the sun’s power with visuals and materials is an excellent way to show your children how powerful the heat is. You don’t need to buy any extravagant items for this one and can use household items such as:
Create a designated area on your property and place the selected item that you know will react to the heat. For example, place an ice cube in a bowl with your child, and then let it sit for an a few minutes undisturbed. When you return to the sunny spot, you can show your child how the ice cube has melted into water and discuss why it happened. Of course, this will need to be done on a hot day.
If you don’t have access to a safe spot to swim, create a mini swimming pool in your yard under some shade! This can be done through a blow-up pool or a large plastic container. Bring out some water-friendly toys, fill up the pool with the hose, and watch your kid enjoy splashing around and keeping cool!
A garden hose and a water efficient attachment is your home waterpark! Find a patch of space on the grass for your child to run around in the spray and let them enjoy it! This will be entertaining for hours! Children love splashing around with the garden hose. If you have a sprinkler or misting system on your lawn, pop those on and expect many squeals and giggles!
If you don’t have a tent, have no fear! You can create a mock-tent by draping some blankets over a tree or pole. Pack some camping snacks, water, and make the most of exploring your backyard (or park). You can even play eye-spy or enjoy a scavenger hunt focusing on pebbles, plants and garden items. Just make sure you take a water bottle and reiterate the importance of staying hydrated on a hot day!
Clean the Car
Create a pretend car wash for your child and demonstrate how to clean their toy cars. If your child doesn’t play with toy cars, use another plastic toy that can get muddy! We recommend giving them one plastic tub full of dirt and one plastic tub full of suddy water. That way, they can play around in the mud with their toys and then clean them up! Sometimes a toothbrush is helpful for the crease and crevices. This is a great independent play activity and allows your child to use materials and items as they see fit. Let your child work through the bin at their own pace and enjoy the contrast of mud and soapy water!
This one is a crowd-pleaser and a great sensory play activity. All you need is sandy (or dirt), kitchen utensils and some water. Usually, a couple of buckets will do the trick. Create a mixture of sand and a little bit of water to create a texture that allows you to mould it into a fake pie. There are no rules here- you can make pies, sandwiches, pancakes and more! Ask your child if they will make you a pie from their mud pie bakery, and let them whip up some magical creations for you using their utensil of choice. Usually, sifters, muffin tins, cake pans, and pots are the easiest!
Outdoor Window Painting
This one can be festive as we get closer to the Christmas season, and you can create seasonal drawings together.
Regardless of what you’re painting, your children will enjoy the outdoor creative time. You can purchase outdoor window paint that washes off easily or create a DIY mixture at home. All you need is Tempera paint and dish soap. The more dish soap you use, the easier it will be to wash off. You can use sponges, paintbrushes or get down and dirty with finger painting. Practice writing their name, draw their favourite animal- or leave the creative freedom to them!
Floating Flower Sensory Bin
Excellent for summertime play! Not only will they enjoy playing in their flower bin, but they can help you create it. All you need is an extra-large Tupperware container or large plastic bin, various spoons, cups and some water. Once you have that set up outside in a shaded area, walk around with your toddler and let them help you find flowers and leaves that have fallen off trees and plants. This in itself is an excellent activity! Go searching for flowers, weeds and leaves in different colours, shapes and sizes! Once you’ve filled up your basket with a selection, bring it back and let your child fill up the water tub with the flowers! They will quickly learn what items float and sink and use the spoon to bring them out of the water and into the cups. They can create patterns in the sensory bin and might even want to dish you up a portion of their flower potion!
Sidewalk chalk is quite versatile. It can be used for drawing pretend roads, hopscotch, numbers, words, or just fun pictures! Sidewalk chalk is an excellent activity (when you have a space that is shaded). You can integrate some learning with the chalk if you want to practice spelling names or naming animals, but it can also be a fun, creative outlet for your child to draw some pictures for you! Why not draw some family self-portraits together? Remember, the family should all be drawn wearing hats and sunglasses!
We hope you enjoyed these fun-sun activities!
We would love to know what your favourite summer activities are to do at home. If you have any questions or want to learn more about the sun-safety activities that we enjoy at Little Zak’s Academy, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.