I know the sun is having a bit of a break at the moment, but summer is definitely here. With less than two weeks to go, most parents' attention is turning to how to occupy the little darlings for six whole weeks of summer holiday. Days out are of course all well and good, but who can afford 42 days of theme parks and soft plays?! Even a trip to the seaside can set you back several notes, so why not fill up a lot of the time with homespun fun like baking, crafts, gardening, and other fun ideas. Check out our Pinterest boards for inspiration!
One of the best resources you can use is, literally, right on your doorstep: your garden. Make the most of your outdoor space by tidying up, clearing some space and creating or investing in a few great outdoor toys and activities. Pull the garden chairs together and drape some old sheets, towels or blankets over to create a tent; drag out the paddling pool; have a picnic every day; give the children some space to create their own garden. Have a look at our article on encouraging imaginative outdoor play for more inspiration.
And there are lots of fantastic outdoor toys available to add to your garden stash, here are some of our favourites:
Retro Space Hopper
Bounce back to the '70s with this fun bouncer, which includes a foot pump. Bounce around to your heart's content, and send mum and dad on a trip down memory lane too. Lara and Sophia love it!! The Tobar Retro Spoace Hopper is widely available, including from Amazon.
Ideal for both indoor and outdoor play, this soft foam and rubber structure is brilliant fun. It helps with both balance and co-ordination, as you pull the handle up and start bouncing and jumping away. Just watch Sophia go! The Tobar Bungee Bouncer retails at £12.95 on Amazon.
Wigwam or Tent
Sheets over the washing line or across garden chairs are great, but a purpose-made wigwwam or tent is perfect for garden fun, and provides much-needed shade when the sun is shining. The girls love their floral one from Big Game Hunters, other designs are available, and their IKEA circus tent. Just pop in some blankets, add some colouring books or comics, provide food and water and they'll be out there all day!
The ultimate outdoor toy, a trampoline is perfect for all age groups, and especially for some children with special needs like Lara's. Just don't forget those essential trampoline accessories, like a ladder, cover and surrounds. Have a look online at Tesco Direct where you will find plenty of choice.
Ringstix is a brilliant, fun new game from Maps Toys. Practice your skill and dexterity by throwing the ring in the air then catching it on the cool lightweight stix. So simple it's genius! Also available from Amazon, priced £12.99.
The one cool-down thing you need alongside a paddling pool is a water blaster. We love the Astronaut Space Backpack Water Blaster from www.spacekids.co.uk, perfect for playing space and zapping aliens! They also have space costumes and an inflatable ride-on if you want to complete the theme...
Enjoy your garden this summer!