If you’re a parent or caregiver of a toddler, you probably know that keeping them entertained and engaged can be a challenge.
But did you know that outdoor activities can be a great solution?
Not only do they provide a fun way to spend time together, but they also offer a range of benefits for your little one’s development.
From building gross motor skills to learning about nature, there are so many ways to enjoy the great outdoors with your toddler.
In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of 76 fun outdoor activities that are perfect for toddlers.
So grab your sunscreen (I love this one for kids), water bottle, and sense of adventure, and let’s get started!
Active Play Activities
If you’re looking for activities that will get your toddler up and moving, you can’t go wrong with active play! Here are some fun ideas to get them running, jumping, and playing:
- Running and chasing games: This classic activity never gets old! Whether you’re playing a game of “Red Light, Green Light” or simply running around the backyard, your toddler will love the chance to stretch their legs and burn off some energy. I found this motion sensor red light green light game on Amazon too.
- Tag: Another classic game that’s always a hit. Whether you’re playing freeze tag, tunnel tag, or regular old tag, your toddler will love trying to catch you (or their friends) and avoid being caught themselves.
- Obstacle courses: Set up an obstacle course using whatever you have on hand – cones, hula hoops (we bought these!), chairs, etc. Your toddler will love climbing, jumping, and crawling their way through the course. I love to use stepping stones like these in our courses!
- Hide and seek: This game is always a favorite with toddlers. Whether you’re playing indoors or outdoors, your little one will love hiding and seeking with you or their friends.
- Ball games: From kicking a soccer ball to throwing a baseball, ball games are a great way to get your toddler moving and practicing their hand-eye coordination.
- Frisbee: Tossing a Frisbee back and forth is a fun way to spend time outside and practice throwing and catching skills. We lose ours all the time so I buy this pack of 6 for just 5 bucks.
- Hula hoop: Hula hooping is a classic activity that’s great for building coordination and balance. See how long your toddler can keep the hoop going!
- Jump rope: Jumping rope is a fun way to get some exercise and build gross motor skills. You can even turn it into a game by seeing how many jumps your toddler can do in a row. This is a great toddler jump rope that is adjustable.
- Hopscotch: Draw a hopscotch grid on the sidewalk or pavement with chalk and teach your toddler how to hop and jump from one square to another. We loved these sidewalk chalk holders for all my kids as toddlers.
- Balance beam: Create a balance beam with a narrow piece of wood or a long, flat object like a yardstick. Your toddler can practice their balance and coordination by walking across the beam. You could also use these stepping stones as a balance game.
- Bike riding: Teach your toddler how to ride a bike with training wheels or a balance bike. This is a great way to improve their motor skills and build confidence. We love this balance bike for my youngest toddler.
- Mini golf: Set up a mini golf course in your yard or at a park. Your toddler can practice their putting skills and hand-eye coordination. This gator golf set looks too cute.
- T-ball: Set up a T-ball stand and let your toddler practice their batting skills. This is a fun way to introduce them to the basics of baseball. We like this T Ball set, my older kids still use it.
- Frisbee golf: Set up a Frisbee golf course with targets made from hula hoops or other objects. Your toddler can practice their throwing skills and aim.
- Dance party: Turn up the music and have a dance party with your toddler. This is a fun way to get some exercise and improve coordination…and yes, you can dance outside! We added a soundbar to the garage just for this purpose.
- Bubble play: Blow bubbles for your toddler to chase and pop, or give them a bubble wand to create their own bubbles. This is a fun way to improve hand-eye coordination and practice gross motor skills. Bubble machines have always been a huge hit with my toddlers. We also have recently discovered Fubbles! They are non spill bubbles.. seriously the best.
- Nature walk: Take a walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park and point out different plants, animals, and insects. Your toddler can learn about their local environment and practice observational skills.
- Sidewalk chalk: Draw hopscotch grids, doodles, or shapes on the sidewalk or driveway with chalk. Your toddler can practice their fine motor skills while also creating art. We go through SO much chalk! I buy this on repeat every summer, sometimes more than once.
- Nature crafts: Use materials found in nature, such as leaves or sticks, to create art projects. Your toddler can learn about different textures and materials while getting creative.
- Playground fun: Take your toddler to a playground and let them climb, slide, and swing. This is a great way to improve balance, coordination, and gross motor skills.
- Picnic in the park: Pack a lunch and head to a local park for a picnic. Your toddler can enjoy the outdoors while also practicing social skills and manners.
Nature Exploration Activities
Nature provides endless opportunities for exploration and learning. Here are some fun outdoor activities that will help your toddler connect with nature:
- Nature walks: Take a stroll through a park, nature reserve, or even just your neighborhood. Encourage your toddler to observe the plants, animals, and scenery around them.
- Scavenger hunt: Create a list of items for your toddler to find in nature – a pinecone, a butterfly, a flower, etc. This is a great way to encourage them to explore and learn about their environment.
- Collecting leaves and rocks: Your toddler will love collecting natural treasures like leaves, rocks, and sticks. Encourage them to describe the colors, textures, and shapes of the items they find.
- Bird watching: Set up a bird feeder or birdhouse in your backyard and watch as birds come to visit. You can also go on a bird-watching hike and see how many different species you can spot.
- Gardening: Planting and caring for a garden is a great way to teach your toddler about the growth cycle of plants and the importance of taking care of the environment.
- Butterfly catching: Use a butterfly net to catch and observe butterflies up close. You can also plant butterfly-friendly plants in your garden to attract them. We really loved this butterfly kit!
- Puddle jumping: On a rainy day, put on some rain boots and let your toddler jump in puddles. They’ll love the sensation of the water splashing around them.
- Cloud watching: Lie on a blanket and look up at the clouds. Your toddler can use their imagination to see different shapes and objects in the clouds.
- Leaf rubbings: Collect leaves from different trees and use crayons or pencils to make leaf rubbings. Your toddler can learn about different types of trees and leaves.
- Nature scavenger hunt: Create a scavenger hunt where your toddler has to find specific items in nature like pine cones, acorns, or different types of leaves.
- Rock painting: Collect rocks and use paint or markers to decorate them. Your toddler can use their creativity to make their own designs and patterns. You don’t need a special kit, but I liked having one.
- Bug hotel: Create a “bug hotel” using materials like sticks, leaves, and cardboard boxes. Your toddler can learn about different types of bugs and their habitats.
- Nature journaling: Bring a notebook and pencil on a nature walk and encourage your toddler to draw or write about what they see. This is a great way to document their observations and learn about the natural world.
- Make Fairy Houses: Use things you find outside to make little fairy houses with your toddler. You can make up stories or if you have any books about fairies you can read those together too!
Water Play Activities
Water play is a great way to cool off on a hot day and have some fun in the sun. Here are some water play activities that your toddler will love:
- Sprinkler play: Set up a sprinkler in the yard and let your toddler run through it. This is a fun way to cool off and get some exercise. This has been a must have in our home for the last few years.
- Splash pad: Many public parks and playgrounds have splash pads where toddlers can play in fountains and water sprays. Or you can have one in your backyard too!
- Pool time: Whether you have a kiddie pool or a full-sized pool, swimming is a great way to have fun and stay active. Just make sure to supervise your toddler at all times around water.
- Water table: A water table is a great way for toddlers to play with water and develop fine motor skills. They can pour and scoop water, splash around, and even experiment with objects that float or sink.
- Water balloon toss: Fill up some water balloons and have a toss with your toddler. This is a fun way to practice catching and throwing skills. Worried about the environment? Me too, that’s why I found these!
- Slip n slide: Set up a slip n slide in your yard for some wet and wild fun. Your toddler will love sliding down and splashing into a pool of water at the end.
- Waterfall exploration: Take your toddler on a hike to explore waterfalls in your area. They can observe the rushing water and the different rocks and plants surrounding the waterfall.
- Beach day: Take a trip to the beach and let your toddler play in the waves, build sandcastles, and collect seashells.
- Water sensory bin: Create a sensory bin filled with water and different objects like sponges, cups, and plastic toys. Your toddler can explore different textures and temperatures while playing with the objects in the water.
- Puddle jumping: On a rainy day, take your toddler outside and jump in puddles together. This is a fun and simple way to enjoy the rain while also getting some exercise.
- Water painting: Give your toddler a bucket of water and some paintbrushes and let them “paint” the sidewalk or pavement. This is a mess-free way to enjoy water play and get creative.
- Boat races: Create boats out of different materials like cardboard, tin foil or plastic and have a boat race in a pool or bathtub. Your toddler can learn about buoyancy and cause and effect as they watch their boats float and move.
- Washing toys: Have your toddler wash some toys in a plastic bin! Add soap, water and some muddy farm animals or toy cars.
For toddlers who love to express their creativity, these outdoor activities will be a hit:
- Sidewalk chalk: Let your toddler create their own masterpiece with sidewalk chalk. They can draw pictures, make patterns, or even play games like hopscotch.
- Bubble play: Blowing bubbles is a simple but fun activity that toddlers love. You can also experiment with different bubble wands or make your own bubble solution.
- Paint with nature: Use natural items like leaves, flowers, and sticks to make prints or patterns with paint. Your toddler will love the chance to create their own artwork using items they found outside.
- Build a fort: Use blankets, pillows, and other items to create a cozy fort in the yard. Your toddler can help with building and decorating, and then enjoy playing inside their own special hideaway.
- Outdoor music: Bring some instruments outside and have a jam session with your toddler. They can make their own music and learn about rhythm and beat.
- Outdoor storytelling: Use nature as inspiration for storytelling. Encourage your toddler to come up with their own tales about animals, plants, or even imaginary creatures they find outside.
- Scavenger art: Create a scavenger hunt where your toddler has to find certain items outside and then use them to create a piece of artwork. This is a fun way to combine exploration and creativity.
- Ice cube play: Fill a container with water and add some small toys or objects, then freeze it overnight. The next day, your toddler can use tools like spoons or spray bottles to melt the ice and free the objects inside.
- Beachcombing: Take a walk on the beach with your toddler and look for interesting objects like shells, rocks, or driftwood. Your toddler can learn about the different textures and shapes of these objects while enjoying the beach environment.
- Waterfall painting: Set up a painting station near a waterfall or other rushing water source. Your toddler can use paint and brushes to create their own artwork inspired by the water.
- Water balloon volleyball: Fill up some water balloons and use them to play a game of volleyball with your toddler. This is a fun way to practice hand-eye coordination and teamwork.
- Bath bomb experiments: Make your own bath bombs with your toddler and let them experiment with mixing different colors and scents. Then, enjoy a relaxing bath time together.
- Slippery slide: Set up a tarp or plastic sheet on a slope and add some soap or water to make it slippery. Your toddler can slide down the slope and enjoy some wet and wild fun.
- Waterfall soundscape: Record the sound of a waterfall or other water source and play it back for your toddler while they relax or play. This is a calming way to enjoy the sound of water without leaving your home.
- Coffee Shop Pretend Play: Fill up some cups with muddy water and pretend it’s coffee! Usually I get air in my pretend tea cup but if you’re outside, make it muddy!
These outdoor activities will help your toddler learn while having fun:
- Counting games: Use objects in nature like rocks or leaves to practice counting with your toddler. You can also count the number of steps it takes to get from one place to another.
- Alphabet scavenger hunt: Go on a scavenger hunt where your toddler has to find something in nature that starts with each letter of the alphabet.
- Color hunt: Choose a color and challenge your toddler to find as many things in nature as they can that match that color.
- Sensory play: Set up a sensory table with different materials like sand, water, and dirt. Your toddler can explore and experiment with the different textures and learn about cause and effect.
- Bug hunt: Search for bugs in the yard or at a park. Your toddler can learn about different types of insects and their behaviors.
- Plant identification: Teach your toddler about different types of plants by going on a nature walk and identifying different species. You can also plant a garden together and learn about the growth cycle of plants.
- Animal spotting: Look for different types of animals in nature like birds, squirrels, and rabbits. Your toddler can learn about their habitats and behaviors.
- Shape hunt: Go on a shape hunt in nature and challenge your toddler to find different shapes like circles, triangles, and squares. This activity can help improve their shape recognition skills.
- Weather observation: Observe the weather with your toddler and discuss different types of weather like rain, wind, and sunshine. You can also track the weather over time and talk about patterns and changes.
- Gardening: Plant a garden with your toddler and teach them about the different parts of a plant and how to care for them. This activity can also teach responsibility and patience.
- Nature patterns: Point out different patterns in nature like the rings on a tree trunk or the spots on a ladybug. This can help your toddler learn about patterns and develop their observational skills.
- Texture hunt: Go on a texture hunt and challenge your toddler to find different textures like smooth, rough, and bumpy. This activity can help improve their sensory skills and encourage them to explore the natural world.
These educational activities will not only help your toddler learn and grow, but also foster a love and appreciation for nature.
Print This Positive Parenting Guidebook – The 5 Pillars Of Positive Parenting
Listen… parenting with connection and positivity has been seen as permissive and lazy parenting BUT this is totally not the case.
I am a mom of 3 beautiful children and I’ve spent HOURS, DAYS, MONTHS, and YEARS researching this topic and seriously, it is my favorite way to parent.
Way better than what I grew up with – which was A LOT of yelling, spanking and frankly, neglect.
This little guidebook is a golden nugget that you can have for free – and print it out! Put it on the fridge, refer to it often. It’s really a great tool for kids of all ages.
Download Your Free Printout
- Download the guidebook. You’ll get the printable, plus join hundreds parents who receive my weekly parenting tips and ideas! (Sometimes I’ll promote a parenting program, but only the best ones that are in the positive parenting community, I promise.)
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- Place it where you can see it. There is a lot of great information in this guidebook, even though it’s small. It’s power packed full of great stuff so put it where you can refer to it often.