Whatever the weather it’s great to be outside with your little one. The fresh air makes everything easier! Whether you’ve a garden to play in, a patio, balcony or the park nearby these are some fun ideas for things to do with your toddler.
1 - Chalks
Patio Chalks are great fun for toddlers, whether they are making their first marks or keen drawers. They are solid so they don't snap in little hands like the indoor versions can. You can start by drawing animals or members of your family or let it be a free for all. If your little one is old enough it is great fun to draw a hopscotch to play on. The joy of patio chalk is that it will wash away with the next downpour so you don’t have to worry too much about where you play.
2 - Car Wash
Water adds instant fun to outdoor activities. You can fill a bucket with water, add a few drops of baby shampoo for tear-free suds, and throw in some clean sponges or cloths. Then let your little ones clean up their bike or scooter or even their smaller toys. Afterwards you can dry everything off with an old towel or rag. It’s great fun for them and has the added bonus of clean toys for you!!
3 - Bubbles
Bubbles are fun for children of all ages. They will love the challenge of making their own bubbles as well as running around trying to pop all of those floating in the air. You could invest in a bubble blowing machine or simply mix up some of your own mixture with washing-up liquid and water (the mix should be around 1 part washing up liquid to 8 parts water) If you don’t have a bubble wand from a store-bought pot of bubbles, don’t worry! You can make one with many different things you may have around the house. Try twisting a paperclip into a loop shape, using a straw or pipe clearer or even a biscuit cutter!
4 - Obstacle course
Ready - Steady - Go!
Mastering gross-motor skills, like running, jumping, kicking, and throwing, is an essential part of toddler development. An obstacle course, however short, is great for practicing these skills! You can set up a line of toys, maybe a hula hoop to step in and out of or a tunnel to wriggle through. Our favourite trio was up and down the slide, through the tunnel then pick up the bean bag and drop it into a bucket a few meters away!
5 - Gardening or just digging in the dirt
Depending on your little ones age, time in the garden could range from filling pots and planting seeds to just digging holes and pulling weeds. You could even buy some small plants from your local shop to add to the garden. This is a great outdoor sensory activity for toddlers too as they feel the touch of the soil and its unique smell.
If you don’t have an outdoor space of your own then fear not, cress seeds are a great for indoor planting, you don’t even need soil. You can sow cress seeds on the surface of damp cotton wool. They can be in a pot or even half an egg shell. Water them well and in as little as a week you will see the cress start to sprout. It’s completely edible too! A great taste sensation for your toddler!
6 - Cloud Shapes
For a calm outdoor activity you can find a shady spot under a tree and look for shapes in the clouds. Take a moment for your eyes to adjust then you can talk to your little one about what you see, maybe animals or simple shapes. This activity doesn’t only provide a calming restful activity whilst connecting to the outside world it also promotes good eye sight (kids can spend too much time looking at tablets close to their face, they need to have both short and long distance eye practice).
7 - Water painting
Take an old paintbrush or roller and a bucket of water and set your little one to work on the fence fence, patio or wall, even the paths in the park. Encourage them to draw different shapes and patterns. It's fun for them to have a carefree splash around and the water soon dries up on a warm day.
8 - Hide and Seek
Playing hide-and-seek is great fun, even if they are too young to actually hide just peeking out from behind a tree or bush will make them giggle. The challenge of getting into the perfect hiding place will help improve their balance, agility, and coordination. If you are playing in the park or somewhere else that isn't toddler proof then it’s a good idea to have some ground rules such as setting out a safe area to play in, banning climbing, and pointing out hiding places they should avoid.
9 - Bug hunting
Lift some rocks or bricks and see who is hiding beneath them! You are likely to find some ants (watch they don’t bite) maybe a woodlouse and a spider or two. You could collect them for a short time in a jar to inspect them closely or just watch them on their journey. A magnifying glass is great to look at these little creepy crawlies more closely. You may also find a slimy slug, a snail in its house, a spotty dotty ladybird or you can dig for worms! Experiencing these little creepy crawlies helps little ones to understand nature and the world around them.
10 - Treasure hunt
Hide a few objects around your outdoor space without your little one seeking and then together you can hunt for them. Although they are too small to understand clues you can encourage your little one to search around the area for hidden treasure. I love to play this with my little ones when we go for a walk in the woods. They cheer with excitement when they find something! You could hide toy cars, painted stones or small treats.
A good thing to remember is to let your toddler take the lead and guide them through the activities. Even if you just kick a ball around your little one will adore spending time with you.
Enjoy the outside world!