Great Outdoors: 7 Active and Engaging Activities for Toddlers

Outdoor Activities for Toddlers

Have you ever been stuck indoors with your toddler all day? If so, you know that it’s torture because your toddler will bounce off the walls, push all of your buttons, and do everything they’re not supposed to, like drawing on the walls with crayons.

Toddlers have a lot of energy and need copious exercise and stimulation. That’s why they need to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

Here are 7 active and engaging outdoor activities for toddlers.

1) Nature Walk

Nature is calming for toddlers but also very stimulating since there’s a lot for them to see and do. By taking your child on a nature walk through the park or forest, your child is exercising and actively engaging with their environment.

Encourage your toddler to talk about what they see around them. If you see any animals, talk to your toddler about what the animal is doing and why you think they’re doing it. Your child can collect sticks and fallen leaves, and flowers to closely examine and feel. Toddlers connect to the world using all of their senses, so encourage them to smell, touch, listen, and see things around them during their nature walk.

2) Follow the Leader

This is a fun game for toddlers that helps them develop their communication skills as well as help them learn leadership skills. This can be played anywhere outdoors.

You can start by being the leader and having your child follow what you do. You can hop on one foot, slide down a slide, make funny noises, or dance around. Be as silly as possible and do a lot of active movements to help your child exercise and improve their physical strength, as well as get them tired so they’re calmer when it’s time to go home. Once your toddler gets the hang of the game, they can be the leader, and you can copy what they do.

3) Treasure Hunt

Toddlers love looking for things and finding them. That’s why “Hide and Seek” is so popular with kids. Any object can be “treasure,” rocks, toys, fruit, or random household objects, or your child can make treasure with clay or paper.

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You can draw pictures of each treasured piece for your child to match the picture with the objects that they find. Hide the things in your yard or at the park and give them clues like “warmer” or “colder” so they know if they’re getting close. Don’t hide the treasure too well, though. Make sure it’s easy for them to find.

4) Bubble Party

Have a bubble party with your toddler by having different-sized bubble wands. You can make giant bubbles using this recipe. Kids will have a lot of fun blowing bubbles and running after them. They can try different bubble games, like who can blow the biggest bubble and who can catch the bubble with their wand.

5) Family Water Fight

For Thai new year, also called “Songkran,” there’s a nationwide fight where everyone splashes water on each other for about a week. This is both to wash away the bad energy of the previous year, to start fresh, and because it’s just really hot that time of year.

You can bring the spirit of Songkran to your backyard by having a family water fight. Fill some large containers with water, get different-sized buckets, and enjoy! Your family can also take turns chasing each other with the hose.

6) Sidewalk Chalk

Get large and small-sized chalk and have your toddler draw colorful pictures outside on the sidewalk or any outdoor surface that is easy for them to draw on and easy for you to clean. Draw simple pictures with your child.

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Most likely, your toddler will copy what you’re doing or draw on top of your drawing.

7) Red Light, Green Light

This is more fun if you have the entire family joining in. The more, the merrier! One person will be the traffic light while the rest of the family pretends to be cars. Have the “cars” start far away from the traffic light.

Explain to your toddler that “green light” means go, and “red light” means stop. It will take them a few times to understand, but they will get the hang of it, especially if there are other “cars” next to them to guide them.

Yell out “green light” and “red light” randomly until a car has arrived at the traffic light. Then that car that won can change into the traffic light.

You can change things up by having the cars crawl or walk backward. Your toddler will have a great time!

What’s your toddler’s favorite outdoor activity? Let us know in the comments below!

Tracy Lowe

Tracy is a writer and filmmaker from Los Angeles, but Thailand has been her primary home for over a decade. She has more than 13 years of experience teaching young children and is a major proponent of the Reggio Emilia approach to learning.

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