Children are a bundle of energy! Toddlers in particular need to be outdoors in order to release energy and regulate. Getting outdoors for fresh air, learning, and moving bodies is critical to a child's development. I wrote a post years ago that outlines Outdoor Learning Rules to Teach our Kids. I still refer to this article when I need a bit of inspiration! You should do the same! Below we share some outdoor activities for toddlers to do.
Why is getting outdoors so important?
Getting outdoors is necessary for kids, especially young kids, for many reasons including:
- Outdoor education & learning about nature
- Gross motor skill development
- Executive functioning skill development
- Appropriate risk taking
- Vitamin D
If you don't believe me then check out this research article on why kids need to get outdoors published by Harvard University!
Some of these outdoor activities are physical and some only require some creative flow. You can plan to do several of these toddler activities each day or just do one. It depends on how much you will have and the attention span of the toddler. Now I know it is not always easy to get outdoors on rainy or cold days but it is important. Check out this post Rainy Day Outdoor Tips & Tricks for a few ideas on getting outside in less ideal weather!
Many times children do not have a lot of physical outlets or toddler activities. At school they are told to sit down and do work, so that leaves little time for unwinding outdoors. Additionally, children are introduced to screen time on computers and tablets so their curiosity ends before they get the chance to become acquainted with their outdoors environment. Add some of these toddler activities to your child's agenda to promote a better lifestyle.
Going outside can be filled with learning activities for toddlers. Outdoor activities for toddlers can be contagiously fun, but it is ok because you can join in too! Be creative and add your own or add something different to the suggestions below.
Toddler Activities for the Outdoors
Do this series of outdoor activities for toddlers now before they become teenagers. Toddlers will not realize that yard work is actual work. Do not call this outdoor activity work. Get to sweeping the porch, raking leaves, digging in the dirt, and refilling bird feeders. This will not only help the toddler to become more independent, but will also lay the groundwork for being more responsible. Activities for toddlers at home can also include other outdoor facilities.
Play in the Sand
Get to the beach or create a sandbox in your yard. It is amazing what can come about from a plastic container and a scoop. The more props the better. Add some plastic molds and cups as well as dump trucks that can move around in the sand.
Take the art project outside. Art is not just paint and paper, but you can also use chalk. It takes physical movement to use the sidewalk as the canvass. The toddler is no longer confined to a piece of paper and their imagination can soar on the sidewalk. You could take turn tracing each other's bodies. If your toddler prefers paper, then take the easel outdoors and become inspired by nature.
Have a Scavenger Hunt
This is going to provide hours of fun! Create a list of things that you have around the house, then hide these items around the yard and in the area. If your toddler is not reading yet, then draw a photo and help them to cross off each item as they find them. Many toddlers love this activity.
Bubbles can be bought cheaply or you can make your own bubble solution. Take the activity outdoors and enjoy as your toddler will chase the bubbles and pop them. For toddlers that are able they can also blow the bubbles. See how long they can keep the bubble in the air. Keep moving and let the bubbles roam. This is another of those learning activities for toddlers because of the scientific learning with the solution and how it reacts to touch, the grass, or the wind.
Create a Fun Obstacle Course
You can use a lot of items around the house to create an obstacle course. This can include toys, boxes, chairs, and whatever the imagination can come up with. Crawl under the chairs, then roll on top of the blanket. Jump a few times and then run a few times around the tree. Add a whistle and create a reward of ribbon, coins, and construction paper. Its a great day for a fun obstacle course no matter who wins.
Play Red Light, Green Light
Do you remember playing this game? Instead of the toddler being escorted around in the car and seeing the lights you can now create activities for the toddler to do. For example, green light for anything that means go such as running. To stop running you say “Red light”. Toddlers can exert a lot of energy in this game.
Play Hide and Seek
Everyone has played some form of this game. Hide in places that are obvious. You can also make noises so the toddler will find you easily. This makes it fun and gets them comfortable with playing the game. You may need to count for your toddler or count slowly.
Have a seat on the ground and roll the ball to each other. Or, take turns throwing and kicking the ball. You can also add hula hoops and boxes to use as targets in order to throw the balls inside.
Take a Walk
Taking a wlak is a simple activity that does not require anything. This can be a good morning or evening routine. Taking a walk around the block can be refreshing and just the outing your toddler needs. There are many moments that are teachable in a simple walk. Nature is happening outdoors. If your little one does not walk well enough yet, then make the walk shorter and take along a walking toy.
The hot summers will warrant having the sprinklers on or to have a fun balloon fight. You can also buy a kiddie pool and enjoy this too. This is an activity that little ones seem to enjoy the most. Making this activity a regular part of the day or week will bring a lot of joy to your little one's day.
Fly a Kite
Its a windy day and its the perfect time to get outside and fly a kite. There are small kites and big ones that look like dragons. You can also sit with your toddler and make your own kite.
No matter where you are balloons always seem to attract children. Buy some of your own and have fun blowing them up. Add some string and a sprinkle of imagination and the balloon can become anything.
Outdoor activities for toddlers at home does not have to be limited to indoors (although it is okay and often necessary to identify indoor activities for toddlers). Try your best to connect the indoor and outdoor classrooms for optimal learning. There are so many things to do while outdoors.
Just bring some imagination and a few props and you'll soon be in another make-believe world. The point is to get outdoors and get your toddler active. You may discover some new activities on your own that you can start doing together. I hope you enjoyed these outdoor activities for toddlers!
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