Toddlers need lots of active play – and, on a sunny day (and, frankly, even a slightly cloudy day) it’s good to get out of the house and run outside in the backyard, yard or yard. the local park.
There are many fun outdoor games you can play with your little one that don’t involve expensive materials or advance planning. And it’s good to have several up your sleeve because, as we all know, toddlers don’t have the longest attention span in the world.
Here we’ve rounded up some of our favorite games for toddlers to play outdoors – from picnicking with teddy bears to bubble hunting, rock stacking, spraying plants, painting with feet, and collecting insects and leaves.
Here is our selection of 20 incredible outdoor games to play with your little one …
1. Do a little washing
Toddlers love to imitate what parents do, even daily chores we do not like, like washing clothes. So set your child outside for a toy washing session in the garden or yard with a few bowls and stakes. Pour a little water into the two bowls, then add a small squirt of bubble bath or washing up liquid in one of them, for a nice foam. Then your child can “wash” the clothes from her toys and doll blankets in the frothy bowl, “rinse” them in the bowl of plain water and “remove” (with your help) the laundry on the line to dry. .
2. Make a sandbox
Get some pots and pans – or even an old casserole dish if you have one – and fill them (separately) with water and sand (you can buy bags of play sand for Â£ 3 to Â£ 4 at Argos and Tesco). Add plastic jugs or cups and plastic burying or floating toys – and you’re ready to play.
3. Insert flowers
This great activity, first shared with us by mayasmoonplay on Facebook, is perfect for developing fine motor skills in your little one. All you need is a colander and a few flowers from your garden or area – dandelions or daisies work best because their stems are thin enough to fit through the holes in the colander. Place the colander upside down in front of your little one and show them how to place the flower stems in the holes, then watch them take over and create their own flower-adorned masterpiece.
4. Invite the toys to a picnic
Arrange everything as you would for a picnic, but invite all the soft toys to join you. Small plastic cups for your guests and small triangles of bread will complete the feast. Encourage your child to give the toys something to eat and drink – and discuss together what foods the toys like (and don’t like) and what they talk about. Don’t forget to remind toys to say please and thank you – and kindly share!
5. Be sensory – with your feet
Sensory activities for small children are often very focused on the hands. This game is all about feeling with your feet! Get several low-sided plastic crates (large plastic bowls will do if you don’t have crates) and fill each with a different texture. It’s up to you (and what you can get your hands on) to choose what you choose, but our favorite ideas are dry rice, pasta, flour, old pillowcases or blankets, water. , frost, wet mud and sand. Have your child close their eyes, then dip their feet in a crate and say how they feel.
6. Play hide the teddy bear
Hide a teddy bear in your yard (or corner of the park) and have your child look for it. When they find it, they must chase you down until they “tag” you (touch you on the shoulder with the teddy bear). Then it’s their turn to hide the blanket, and once you find it, you need to hunt your child and mark it. Play as many tricks as you can until you run out!
7. Play jelly squish
Prepare some jelly and place it in a bowl to play with the outdoors. It’s a lot of fun to mold, crush, pick up and squeeze – and if there’s some in your child’s mouth every now and then, well, obviously there’s no need to stress …
8. Make âmagicâ paint
On a bright sunny day, give your child a decanter, mug or bowl of water and a paintbrush – and go outside to âpaintâ the fence, slide, gate, back gate, sidewalk tile or two. . You can just âpaintâ water all over or create designs with stripes, hearts or dots. And when everything is dry, you can start all over again …
9. Catch bubbles
Open a jar of bubble mix and blow bubbles for your little one to chase after and burst. With older toddlers, you can encourage them to try and catch the bubble without popping it – show them how to slow down and extend an open palm under a bubble. You can also challenge your child to see how long he can keep a bubble in place – by blowing it out, waving his hand under it or fanning it with paperâ¦.
10. Build your own race track
Use string or wool (or chalk if you have a patio) to mark a winding 8-shaped path that ends where it begins. Then make another path, following exactly the first one but about 1 meter apart, so that you end up with a trail. Send (or push) your little one on their car, balance bike or tricycle. Accompaniment of driving noises essential!
11. Make art with splashing eggshells
This one is definitely best done on a sunny day when you’re feeling really cold at the thought of doing a mess. You should already have a few eggshells aside or resign yourself to a few scrambled egg days ahead. But the joy children get from throwing paint-filled eggshells on paper is so worth it. Check out our step-by-step guide to eggshell splash paint for all the instructions you’ll need.
12. Stacking pebbles
Take your little one on a rock hunt, picking up small stones and pebbles of different sizes and shapes (be sure to pick up at least a few large and flat ones, if you can). Then spread all your pebbles on the ground and see if you can stack and balance them on top of each other to build a small tower.
13. Play toddler hopscotch
This is a simplified version of the traditional game. On a flat paved surface, use chalk to draw flowers, stars, or circles at short but varying distances from each other. Your child should try to jump from form to form without touching the sidewalk in between.
14. Make imprint art
Lay out several pieces of newspaper, then squeeze a few different colors of non-toxic liquid paint into separate paper plates. Have your little one choose 2 colors. Place the paper plates with their chosen colors in front of your toddler and encourage him or her to put one foot on each plate – then step on the newspaper. Remember to keep a bowl of clean water and a towel handy to wash and dry your feet between each pass.
15. Spray the plants
Fill a spray bottle with water and let your child use it to âwaterâ the plants in the garden. You can suggest that they âwaterâ from different distances – and see where the spray is going.
16. Color the pavement
Find colored chalk, a quiet sidewalk, patio or driveway and create quick washing fun. You can just sit and make marks together and / or try drawing around each other’s hands and feet. Or you can mix it up a bit with something a bit more structured. Here are some of our favorite activities for toddlers:
- Draw a letter or number with white chalk – which your child will trace with colored chalk
- Draw a letter or number and have your child place stones or leaves on the lines, tracing the shape
- Chalk several rectangles of blocks of different colors and give your child the mission to find objects in the rectangle of the same color
- Draw a maze or track for the toy cars to “drive” along.
- Draw a long looped line so that your child can walk. You can make this more difficult by seeing if they can do it without stepping outside the line.
- Draw a large circle, then draw squares of different colors around the outside. Your child stands in the center circle and when you call out a color he has to jump on that color square. You can make this more difficult by calling a 2 color sequence each time
17. Treasure hunt
Hide a small prize in the garden and let your little one search for it. Use cues like âYou’re coldâ to âYou’re hotterâ to âOoh, hot! To help them find the treasure.
18. Play dodge ball
It’s simple, it’s silly and it’s very splashing! Just turn on the garden hose (a gentle spray, rather than a strong spray, be careful!) Be warned that – fairground of the fair – mom and dad may also have to take turns dodging the hose!
19. Go on an insect hunt
Talk about the insects that live in the garden: ants, worms, ladybugs, spiders, snails. Then, assemble some spooky hunting gear (wellies, plastic shovel) and go looking. Show your child how to inspect leaves for ladybugs and snails and turn the soil over to chase worms. You can take some paper with you and write down the number of bugs of each kind you find.
20. Make nature sticky art
Glue a large square of sticky-backed plastic to an exterior wall – sticky side out. If you don’t have adhesive plastic, you can stick a few lines of adhesive tape instead (sticky side out). Then it’s up to your child to collect leaves, flower petals, grass, pieces of bark and glue them onto the square (or lines) to create nature art.