As you may know by now, the vast majority of our activities only require the natural tools provided by Mother Nature herself. However, there is no doubt that outdoor play and learning can be extended or taken in different directions with a few resources on hand.
Almost anything can become a “tool”. Over the years we've taken many seemingly "random" items outdoors, and stepped back to see what the children would do and create. From bowls that turned into spaceships to golfball planets, children will always surprise you with the depth and breadth of their imaginations.
Now, we're not recommending that you pack a bag full of golfballs, pots, pans and shovels with you (although we are certain your child could be creative with these), we are however suggesting having a backpack full of some of our favourite play enhancing tools ready to go whenever you head out the door.
When packing an item for an outdoor adventure we try to ask ourselves two questions:
1. Does the tool add value? In other words, is it enhancing your child’s outdoor play and not getting in the way of it? For example, a toy car is a fun item but not only does it limit imaginative possibilities, it will likely distract your child from the nature around them.
2. Does it do a job of something that you could find outside in nature? We would always pick nature tools first.
Suggestions for your tool bag:
Spoons / shovels
Small measuring jug
Rope / string
3 or 4 cups
Our suggested list above is based on our experience, but it's far from an exhaustive list. Play with your backpack items based on your child’s interests and even throw in a random item or two from time-to-time and see where the adventure takes you!