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Question: We are going camping this summer – any tips helping to get my three-year-old learn more about the environment around them or suggestions what to take to keep him occupied?

Dr Richard Woolfson's Answer:

Camping is such fun with a child this age, because he’ll love the excitement of the family tent, the different sleeping arrangements, the outdoor cooking and the unlimited new play surroundings He won’t need much encouragement to explore his environment – on the contrary, your biggest challenge will be keeping a watch on him as he peers under stones, digs up the earth, peers at insects on the trees and picks plants from the ground!

At first, let him discover and explore spontaneously, though do set limits about where he can and cannot go; and always make sure you can see him. Once he has had time to interact with his outdoor environment under his own steam, he might like to have some particular toys that will help him develop this form of play further, such as a plastic magnifying glass. a child’s microscope, small clear plastic containers with lids for him to store his ”discoveries”, plastic tweezers and child-sized plastic gardening tools for digging and planting. Show your child how to use these items.

Three-year-olds love collecting stones, shells, insects and leaves and take great delight storing their finds in containers for everyone to see. Set aside a place in your camp for a mini-display area, and be prepared for your child to ask you endless questions about everything he discovers.