Taking a toddler to play outside can sometimes feel boring, but it doesn’t have to be! In this article, I’m going to go over a few different outside activities for toddlers that will give them a chance to explore and learn about the world.
Fun Outside Activities for Toddlers
Before we jump into all the fun and educational outside activities, I wanted to highlight why it’s so important to take your toddlers (and kids) outside.
Why is it Important to Play Outside?
Studies have shown that spending too much time inside can have negative consequences on both mental and physical health (for adults) and kids.
Taking kids outside and into “green spaces” can have a lifelong impact on them.
According to a scientific study from the Aarhus University in Denmark, “High levels of green space presence during childhood are associated with a lower risk of a wide spectrum of psychiatric disorders later in life.”
It’s important to remember that even though taking your kids outside requires more effort, it will be worth it in the long run.
I’m going to list some outside activities into three Categories: Color and Art, Water Activities, and Simple Activities.
Color and Art
It’s always fun to play with colors and to do artistic activities with toddlers. Going outside often allows for more messy art play.
Sidewalk Chalk Art:
This is a classic activity for a reason. Kids can often be entertained for hours just playing with chalk, but your toddler may not be quite as interested. That’s ok! Sometimes they’re unsure exactly what to do with it.
You can help get them interested by drawing shapes and designs. Or if your toddler loves cars, you can create roads and a little town for them to run their cars on.
Sidewalk Chalk Painting:
Similar to Chalk Art, but different enough that it has its own entertainment value. Sidewalk Chalk Paint is applied with brushes and takes a few moments to dry completely.
This is a good way to introduce your toddler to painting for the first time. It washes off of clothes and hands completely, and since you’re outside you don’t have to worry about getting paint on your floors or furniture.
Create your own Chalk Paint with our recipe:
No need to purchase something when you can easily make it yourself.
- 2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- ½ Tablespoon shredded Sidewalk Chalk
Use an old muffin tin to hold your “paint” colors. Mix the cornstarch and water together until smooth. Add in the shredded sidewalk chalk for color. You can shred the chalk with a cheese grater. Or you can add a piece of the sidewalk chalk into a plastic bag and smash it until it’s ground down into a grainy consistency. Stir until mixed together.
Repeat for each color until the muffin tin is full.
If you’re interested in buying Sidewalk Paint Chalk, then you can purchase some here.
Dry Sidewalk Chalk Paint is slightly more permanent than regular chalk. I’d recommend spraying it off your sidewalk as soon as the activity is over.
Water Color Squirt Gun:
This activity is bound to be a new favorite. It’s simple to set up and can keep your kids entertained for hours.
With this activity, kids make abstract art by painting with squirt guns (or spray bottles).
- Squirt guns or spray water bottle
- Water Color Paper
- Liquid Watercolor Paint
Help your kids fill their squirt gun with Liquid Watercolor Paint, and “paint” until they are happy with the design. Allow the paper to dry completely. Then add a second color of paint if desired.
You can also create silhouette designs with cut out templates, or shapes and abstract designs with painter’s tape.
This activity is also fun in the wintertime. You can let the kids “paint” the snow.
Build a snowman or a snow-castle and let your kid’s paint the snow different colors with their squirt guns or spray bottles.
These water activities are safe, but just a friendly reminder that you should never leave your toddler unattended around any amount of water.
Playing with sponges is a simple activity, but my toddlers have been obsessed with it.
Lucky for you it’s easy to set up, and easy to clean up. Plus it will keep your toddler entertained for thirty minutes or more.
Grab a shallow plastic tote or an aluminum baking dish and a few new sponges. Let your toddler explore how the sponges work. They will be fascinated with how they float and then entertained with squishing the water out of them. Over and over.
They may also throw the sponges onto the sidewalk to see the water design they leave behind.
Water Pouring Station:
This is another simple activity that toddlers find fascinating.
Create a water pouring station. Start by gathering up a couple different sizes of water pitchers, cups, and measuring cups. (It’s best if all of these items are plastic and not glass.) You’ll also need a shallow tote. The “under the bed” plastic storage totes are perfect for this activity.
Fill the water pitcher full and set it in the tote with the other cups and measuring cups. Allow your toddler to practice pouring the water into the different cups. If any spills out it will land in the tote and you can have your toddler scoop it up with the measuring cups.
Toddlers love to pour water! Plus they will be learning an important life skill and improving their hand eye coordination at the same time.
If you want, you can also add some food coloring to the water and help your toddler see what happens when different colors are mixed together.
These activities are so simple, it’s almost hard to call them as activities.
Everything is so new to toddlers, that they often don’t need very much to keep themselves entertained.
Toddlers (and kids) love bugs! Look for different types of bugs in your yard or while on your walk together.
Potato bugs or Rolly Pollies are a favorite, followed closely by ants and caterpillars.
Go on a “nature walk” around your yard with your toddler, they will be happy to examine rocks, leaves, sticks, and flowers.
You can gather pine cones and arrange them from largest to smallest. Or pick up rocks and create shapes with them. Try gathering up different leaves and arranging them together by color.
Your toddler will just be happy to be outside and happy to be with you.