Whether it is a fantastic and fun sensory activity or a simple game, Summer time calls for some active and entertaining outdoor play! Even if your toddler plays well independently, it only lasts for so long. As parents and caretakers, it’s important to keep some handy (and easy) activities to bust out during the beautiful weather we all want to enjoy.
Toddlers are like sponges, so if you compile activities that have valuable lessons attached, you’ve essentially won the lottery!
Need some inspiration? Read no further. Not only will they keep the children and/or child busy for hours, but they will want to play them time and time again.
10 WATERING PLANTS
Is there anything cuter and more practical than watering plants, each morning, with the help of a little one? Having a child not only plant but care for their seedling is incredibly rewarding for them. They are able to watch each step of life and it’s growth: from it’s seed stage to its blooming stage.
Within an article by Better Health, they explain many reasons why gardening is a very fun and rewarding activity for children at any age. It teaches the child how to care for a living thing with simple direction and steps. This type of responsibility is essential for them to experience at the toddler stage as they’re soaking in every experience; especially those that they are completely hands-on.
9 DECK/FENCE PAINTING
Sometimes the amount of time and energy it takes to prepare a paint-session (even those sessions which take place outside) can be too much hassle and work (and of course, mess).
An incredible way to simplify outdoor paint play is this: water paint! Have a wooden deck or fence? Water play is as easy as two steps. Simply give the toddler a clean paintbrush along with a bowl of cool water and allow them go to town!
Not only will the water dry within seconds to allow the toddler an infinite amount of paint space, but there is also next to no clean up.
Their little, creative minds will run wild as they paint the water along the wood fence and/or deck. How fun!?
8 TOY BATH
Fill a bucket with shallow, soapy water. Allow the toddler to collect as many toys as they’d (or you would) like clean.
Fabricate a story of how badly these toys envy the toddler’s bath night routine! Perhaps, the child can recite this routine to encourage their imagination and memory.
The amount the toddler will remember may surprise you! Not only will this be a fun game for the child to play, but their toys get a good cleaning in, too.
For more sensory play with toddlers and babies, here is another great list of ideas that are easy to bring outside, too!
7 HULA-HOOP TOSS
It’s as simple as hula-hoops and balls. It is incredibly fun to experience a toddler’s skill with ball tossing. At times, before the age of 3, it is difficult for children's hand-eye coordination to catch a ball.
By placing one, two or even three hula-hoops along a field or deck to represent targets, give the toddler a ball to throw from “afar”. The toddler will quickly pick up on this game. Watch their face absolutely light up when the ball hits their target!
This simple activity will have them busy for hours. Ensure you demonstrate in it's initial stage so they know to throw their ball inside of the hoop(s).
6 ICE CHALK PAINT
Thanks to an easy and fun recipe by Reading Confetti, we have an easy activity to play in the hot, hot heat with a toddler.
Mix half cornstarch and half water along with a LOT of food colouring (colour of choice, of course). Pour your mixture into fun-shaped ice cube tray and freeze overnight.
The next day, you have frozen chalk paint! The toddler will be able to have some sensory fun with it’s cold, melting texture along with learning the science behind what makes this object melt: the Summer's Sun, of course!
Note, clean up is as simple as watering the art with a hose or allow rainwater to naturally clear the child's designs. Play clothes (or swimwear) are recommended; fun, mandatory!
5 PLAY SAND
An essential recipe to have on-hand for young children: Play Sand. This recipe is completely safe and edible (allergies permitting). Not only will it be a great sensory play for a toddler, but an easy (and biodegradable) cleanup for this specific outdoor play.
Take 3 cup of melted coconut oil with 6 cups of flour. Mix and play! Build castles, balls, shapes and towers with this incredible play sand. This activity is fantastic for young children alike.
Not to mention, if the toddler is known to eat everything in sight, you won’t have to worry when they “accidentally” take a bite.
4 TREASURE HUNT
An incredible way to have a toddler learn and explore colours, shapes and sizes is by matching. In the beautiful weather, it is even easier when your supplies are from nature!
It’s as simple as bringing coloured bowls/plates/pieces of paper outside into a “Treasure Zone” for their items to be collected. Give them a basket or bucket. Explain to the child that they must find “Treasures” to match their bowls/plates/pieces.
For example, when they collect a green leaf, they must place the green leaf in the green bowl. If they find a brown stick, have them put the brown stick in the brown bowl.
To make it easier for them to catch on quickly, demonstrate with a few items first. They will be joyfully exploring for treasure all day long!
3 HOME-MADE PLAYDOUGH TOY HUNT
This incredible recipe found by Make and Takes is an incredible one to keep in your back pocket. Not only is it safe to eat (though you wouldn’t want to) but only takes 3, simple ingredients:
Mix ½ cup of cornstarch, 1 cup baking soda and ¾ cup water together. If you would like colour, add a few drops of food colouring.
With small items such as rings, plastics dolls or blocks, mix them into the play dough.
Bring your child onto the grass or blanket to hunt for their toys.
(Please ensure that the items are not choking hazards.)
2 JELLO PLAY
This activity is fun (and tasty) for any, young age! A classic sensory game for a toddler and an easy, over night set up, this Jello Play activity is great for a nice, Summer’s day.
With a large bin or bowl, mix your jello mixture as suggested. Then, find some teething rings, blocks and or toys that are safe enough to submerge in your mixture.
Cool over night for an incredibly fun (and somewhat messy) play session! The toddler will love the feeling of digging out their play items and may have a tasty, sweet surprise along the way.
1 SAND TENT
Have an old, small kid’s tent that is not getting enough use? We have a perfect solution to keep your toddler occupied in the hot, hot heat!
Simply fill the small tent full of clean sand. Place play items such as buckets, shovels and spoons, trucks and tractors to keep the toddler occupied and shaded.
When the toddler is done their playtime, zip the tent up to avoid any contamination of bugs or animals at night. This way their sand area is kept clean and tidy, too!
This simple trick is great to keep from years on end. It is a great activity for their little friends to join, as well! The more, the merrier!