Outdoor delights

One of the best things about long summer days is that you can let your kids run riot while you laze in a sun lounger. Just put some toys on a blanket and let them get on with it. Or if they need to burn off some energy, take them to the park for a picnic and a kick around.

Unless that is you happen to be my friend Sam, whose 18-month-old daughter Sadie has developed an unusual obsession. She’s taken to dipping her dummy in everything – and I do mean everything. (Fortunately they don’t have a dog, but they do have foxes and cats crossing their garden at night on a regular basis…)

Child psychologists recommend ignoring undesirable behaviour and rewarding good. The best solution, Sam’s decided, is to either quickly sterilise the offending article or throw it away without making a fuss, or to distract her toddler with an assorted range of garden toys.

John Lewis have an amazing selection right now, including a Fun Flow Play Sink (£49.95) and a brilliant Boat Sandpit (£19.50), perfect for two or more kids. Just make sure you cover it up at night…

written by Liz Jarvis