Earth and Beyond is a huge topic area and sounds really hard, like you need to travel to volcanic islands or have an observatory. But there are lots of things even babies can do.
- Collect rocks – For me the battle was just to keep them out of their mouths! They would find, carry, look at and yes suck rocks anytime we were outside.
- Texture board – This can be an activity for older kids, or you can make one for a baby. For kids doing it themselves, collect different small rocks and types of sand. Let them paint glue onto card and sprinkle or press the sand and rocks on, as a type of collage. If you are doing it for a baby use a piece of wood. Paint it thickly in sections with glue, press the sand and rocks in and let them dry between different types. You can also use a hot glue gun on larger pieces. For extra safety and longevity, paint the whole thing with non-toxic lacquer when it is dry. Then babies can feel all the different textures.
- Watch the breeze -Easy to do if you have trees, but what about a ribbon wind detector? Tie a bunch of bright ribbons, strings, or paper streamers together, then hang them outside and watch them dancing around in the wind.
- Play in the mud – does that really need an explanation?
- Watch clouds – Even little babies will react to differences in the light when a cloud passes over. And older ones are surprisingly good at seeing things in the sky – I’m always a bit shocked when Miss 18 months points out a tiny airplane going over.
- Wind chimes – Listen to the wind. You can make an incredibly simple wind chime by tying things like spoons, forks, or plastic lids onto a stick.
- Watch the sunset – They don’t always need entertainment, just hold your baby quietly outside and watch how much they take in. For older kids there is a huge amount you can talk about sunset, the change from night to day, the sun moving (or does it!), the atmosphere and light, clouds. Our girls recently saw sunrise (don’t ask) and the absolute excitement as they watched the colours change – they were enthralled.
- Play with sand – As well as all the different textures and things you can do with sand, why not build a volcano for the older ones? Put some bicarb soda into a small jar or container – the closer it gets to the top of the container the better. Make a sandcastle and put the jar at the top, where it will erupt. Pour in vinegar (with red food colouring!) and watch the lava erupt down the sides of the mountain.
- Make a seasons table – So many books have stereotypical interpretations of seasons with snow and red leaves. Have a walk around your garden and see what local things you can find. Seeds, flowers, grasses, even prickles! Up here we get sugar leaf – that’s what the local indigenous people call it there are even sugar leaf dreamings, but no idea what scientists call it. It’s on gumleaves and the ants collect it and dry it around their nests, the people collect it and eat it too! It’s quite nice, the girls think it’s great fun.
- Go to the beach – Beaches are borders, which is always interesting. They are the line where one environment meets a completely different one, so you can see erosion, tide lines, groundwater, fossils, so much!
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