Cool grass, soft sand, prickly paving and even squelchy mud…
As parents, we like to keep our children safe and warm but sometimes get so caught up in administering wellies and flip flops that the powerful pleasure of freedom for little feet can accidentally slip by.
Getting bairns barefoot can be as simple as managing not to fuss if they dash outside in a rush without clogging up first, but you could also try these play ideas:
Let children coat the soles of their feet with washable paint and then squelch a very personalised foot painting onto some big sheets of paper laid out on lawn, patio or pavement. (This is even better if you trust the ‘washable’ claims of the paint and let the footprints go straight onto the ground … the rain can always deal with it later.)
Sandpits are fab and I love that you can buy those convenient little waist-high ones. But sandpits that sit on the floor allow for children to actually get in and let their tiny tootsies wriggle in the sand – magical!
Find a nice clear floor surface – sitting room or sundeck, park or pavement – and spread out a line of ‘mysterious’ textures. I’m thinking sugar granules, broken breakfast cereal, teeny balls of sellotape … you get the picture. Your child needs to scrunch their eyes closed tight and then walk over these things, describing each and trying to guess what they might be. Clearly, some kind of prize will be in order if they get it right!
So, let’s go and enjoy the pitter patter of tiny feet (much nicer than the clomp of sensible shoes!).