Ahhh, summer. Finally! With most daycare and camp plans canceled this year, the sunshine brings new opportunities to entertain your toddler outside. Sometimes the most fun outdoor activities for toddlers are the simplest, and they only require a little planning. Here are 12 fun ways to maintain an active outdoor routine with your toddler this summer.
1. Go camping—in your backyard
If an all-out camping trip isn’t in the cards, set up a tent right in your backyard and sleep under the stars. With the comforts of home right inside, kids (especially younger ones) will feel at ease but will love the novelty of sleeping outdoors.
2. Entertain artistry with sidewalk chalk
Colorful and easy to clean up, sidewalk chalk can provide hours of creative fun. Give kids a prompt such as “draw a magical forest” or offer ideas for outlines, such as their hands or outdoor toys.
3. Start a mini vegetable garden
A full-bed veggie garden is a big task, but container gardening makes it much less daunting. Try growing tomatoes, zucchini or green beans—or check with your local nursery to see what grows well in your area. Your toddler will love the task of watering their garden and watching what they’ve planted grow.
4. Build a birdhouse
A birdhouse doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Assemble one quickly with popsicle sticks or even twigs. Another fun outdoor activity for toddlers is to set up a birdbath and let them toss in some seeds.
5. Get messy with mud
Give kids a few hours where it’s perfectly OK to touch the mud. Think of it like sand and build castles, using plastic cups for molds. The best part? Everything rinses clean with a garden hose.
6. Pack up a picnic
Walk, bike or drive to a nearby park, or simply set up camp in your front or backyard. Bring a blanket, some bubbles and a picnic basket filled with sandwiches, sliced fruits and veggies and other easy-to-eat bites.
7. Paint a pot
Simple terra cotta flowerpots are inexpensive and easy to find. Grab a few and let kids personalize theirs with paint. Then, you can use them to plant seeds!
8. Play in the puddles
After a good rain, pull on some rainboots and go for a walk. Better yet, don a raincoat too and let them play outside while it’s raining and jump in the puddles.
9. Visit a petting zoo
Kids love feeding animals by hand, and a petting zoo is also an opportunity to learn about different animals. If your local petting zoo is staying closed this summer, head to a local pond to watch the ducks.
10. Give them the runaround
Looking for outdoor activities that keep your toddler active? Tag, hide-and-seek and dryland Marco Polo are interactive ways to get toddlers and kids active in the great outdoors.
11. Have a bubble bonanza
Load up on wands of all different shapes and sizes. One no-fail option? Kids love the oversized wands that produce bubbles as big as they are.
12. Relax at the beach
Whether your local beach is open or not this summer, you can enjoy a beach day! Social distance sunbathe with your toddler on the shore or lay out beach towels and fun water activities in your own backyard.
Outdoor activities for your toddler don’t need to be stressful or intricate to be fun. Use these ideas as a starting point for a summer full of bonding and sunshine with your little one.
Need some easy, healthy toddler meals to fuel all these activities? Explore Nurture Life’s ready-to-eat Toddler Meals menu.