Check out some playful ideas for outdoor fun in the sun, courtesy of the Children and Young People's Strategy Team at Department of Education.

You can go direct to the Department of Education website to view a pdf.

"Playing outdoors with your child can be anything from tickling your babies tummy on a rug, playing peek-a-boo, to playing hide and seek in the garden or park. Being outside with your child offers all sorts of play opportunities. A simple walk in the park or street, or playing in the garden can offer all kinds of playful fun. Recreate some of your childhood play memories and make some time to play each day."
For more information on Play Matters contact Angela Stallard or Pamela Baxter at 028 91 279203

Bubble Socks
Cut a plastic bottle in half, cover it with a sock. Dip it in soapy water, blow through the end....BUBBLE SOCKS

Build a Den
Gather together some props (let your children help you)...sheets, blankets, material, rope, pegs, sticks & twigs, cushions, carpet mats.... Be creative and build a den, great for getting shade from the sun once finished.

Ice Finds

Take a basin or large container and fill with water. Drop in some toy dinosaurs, farm animals, polly pockets etc. Freeze overnight. Once frozen empty onto a household tray or into a sand/water pit. Give the children small utensils to explore the ice with and to discover what they will find inside.

Water Painting
Give your child a bucket of water and a paint brush (this can be a household bucket or container and proper decorating brushes). They’ll find lots of amusement ‘painting’ walls, pavements, drainpipes etc.

Most bargain shops sell cheap chunky chalks. Chalks can give hours of amusement outdoors where children can chalk merrily anywhere – let them chalk on pavements, walls, fences, bricks... there’s no worry about making a mess - after all it will wash off!

Go Big!
Take old rolls of wallpaper, large sheets of cardboard or material sheets outdoors along with felt tips, crayons, paints etc. Roll or spread it out and away you go...!

Scavenger Hunt

Explore your garden or neighbourhood and see what treasures you can find. The beach is the ideal place for a hunt too where you can find shells, pebbles, driftwood, seaweed etc.

Climb a tree
How high can you climb and what can you see?

Teddy Bears Picnic
Why not have lunch or dinner outside. Invite some cuddly friends to join you and make it into a teddy bears picnic – what fun!

Traditional Games
Skipping, Two Ball, Jacks, German Jumps, Kerbsie, Tag, Hide and Seek, Simon Says, Duck Duck Goose, Egg and Spoon, Blind Man’s Bluff, Kick the Can, Stick in the Mud, Piggy in the Middle.

Get Dirty!
Fill a container with soil or pinpoint an area in the garden that can be used. Add some items, such as yogurt pots, cars, toy animals, spoons, small stones, twigs etc. To change the dynamic, add some water to create mud – make mud pies.

Dressing Up
Gather together into an old cardboard box or suitcase some dressing up props such as hats, bags, belts, old shoes, beads, sunglasses. Add some imaginative props such as old mobile phones, cameras, walkie talkies, torches or binoculars. You can keep adding to the box with household items every so often.

Hopscotch and XOXO
Chalk out (or use a stone) large games of x’s – o’s on the ground or on a wall. Chalk out (or use a stone) hopscotch and show the children how to play.

Chill Out
Encourage older children and teenagers into your outdoor space too. Consider seating areas for ‘chilling out’ (this can be as simple as old carpet squares, a sheet or rug or two crates with a plank of wood). Add props if need-be such as playing cards, dominos, marbles or a football. Add music too to create a real hang-out space.