Young kids enjoy exploring and staying active, especially in the toddler years when they are testing their new independence. Whether you live in a city, a farm or anywhere in between, there are plenty of opportunities to get your hands dirty with your toddler to have a little outdoor fun.
The great outdoors provide natural entertainment for young kids learning about the world. Trees, grass, gardens, beaches and other natural settings create a sense of wonder for little ones who are experiencing them for the first time. Encourage this exploration through outdoor play.
A nature walk is a simple activity that you can do any time with your toddler. Take along a bag or sand bucket to collect treasures from nature that your child finds along the way. This might include rocks, leaves, pine cones and acorns, depending on where you live. When you get home, help your toddler sort the natural treasures or turn them into an art project.
To add an educational component, focus on the five senses during the walk. Stop occasionally to ask your toddler what he or she hears, sees or feels. Smells might also pop up in the walk, especially if there are flowers along the path.
Outdoor Toddler Games
Age-appropriate games are another fun way to pass the time outdoors with young kids. Simple races across the backyard help toddlers develop their fine motor skills. Make some simple obstacles with boxes and other items to turn the backyard into an obstacle course.
Toddlers aren’t old enough to handle all of the gardening tasks, but they can help out with some of the work. Leave a bare patch in the garden just for your toddler to dig while you handle the other work. A child-sized watering can is another way to get your toddler involved in the gardening. At harvest time, let your toddler help you pick the vegetables.
Other Outdoor Activities
If you need more outdoor ideas, consider the classic activities that kids love. Bubbles always excited toddlers. If your child is too young to blow bubbles by him or herself, blow them yourself and let your toddler pop them before they float away. Sidewalk chalk brings out the artist in your toddler. A small sandbox also provides entertainment for young kids.
Outdoor Safety Tips
When spending time outdoors with your toddler, take time to prepare your child to keep him or her safe. A layer of sunscreen on any exposed skin is important year round. Sunburns are possible even in winter. Dressing your toddler in layers makes it easier to adjust if he or she becomes too hot or too cold.