10 Exciting Outdoor Activities for toddlers to Keep Them Active and Happy

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Written By Olivia Miller

Author at Montessori Expert.

In today’s fast-paced world, children are spending increasing amounts of time indoors. However, there are countless benefits to be reaped from engaging in outdoor activities.

Spending time in nature fosters a sense of wonder and curiosity in children, while also promoting physical development, creativity, and social skills.

This article explores a range of outdoor activities designed to nurture a love for the natural world in children of all ages.

Let’s take the learning and fun outside! These 10 outdoor activities use nature’s playground to keep kids active, engaged, and connected to the world around them.

Activity 1: Nature Scavenger Hunt

scavenger hunt activity

Age Group: 3-8 years old

Materials: Paper, pen (or crayons), clipboard (optional)

How to Perform: Turn your walk into an adventure with a nature scavenger hunt! Make a list of things to find in nature, like different colored leaves, pinecones, or different shaped rocks. Let your child search for the items on the list and check them off as they find them.

Area of Development: Observation skills, Classification, Following directions

Activity 2: Giant Bubble Bonanza

Age Group: 3-8 years old

Materials: Bubble wand (large or homemade), dish soap, water, bucket

How to Perform: Blow sky-high bubbles and chase them in the sunshine! Mix dish soap with water in a bucket to create bubble solution. Dip your giant bubble wand into the solution and slowly pull it upwards to create big, beautiful bubbles. See how high you can blow them and have fun chasing them around the yard.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Cause and effect, Concentration

Activity 3: Sidewalk Chalk Masterpieces

sidewalk chalk activity

Age Group: 3-8 years old

Materials: Sidewalk chalk (various colors)

How to Perform: Transform your driveway or sidewalk into a colorful canvas! Draw hopscotch squares, create a game of tic-tac-toe, or let your child’s imagination run wild with colorful drawings. Sidewalk chalk washes away with rain, so the fun can start all over again the next day.

Area of Development: Creativity, Art & expression, Gross motor skills

Activity 4: Planting Power

a mom and two children are planting flowers in a pot

Age Group: 3-8 years old

Materials: Seed packets (age-appropriate plants), small shovel, watering can

How to Perform: Get your hands dirty and learn about plant growth! Choose age-appropriate seeds like sunflowers or beans. Help your child dig a small hole in the soil, plant the seeds, and water them gently. Watch the plants sprout and grow over time!

Area of Development: Science exploration, Responsibility, Fine motor skills

Activity 5: Sensory Nature Walk

a family walking on a path with a dog

Age Group: 3-8 years old

Materials: Basket (optional)

How to Perform: Engage all five senses on a nature walk! Pay close attention to the sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes (safe plants only!) of the natural world around you. Collect interesting rocks, leaves, or feathers in your basket to examine and talk about later.

Area of Development: Sensory exploration, Observation skills, Appreciation for nature

Activity 6: Sprinkler Splash

sprinkler spritz activity

Age Group: 3-8 years old

Materials: Sprinkler (or hose with spray nozzle)

How to Perform: Beat the heat and have a refreshing cool down with a sprinkler! Set up a sprinkler in your yard on a hot day. Let your child run through the spray, dance under the rainbow, and enjoy the cool water. Adult supervision is important for younger children.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Temperature regulation, Joyful movement

Activity 7: Pinecone Toss

Age Group: 3-8 years old

Materials: Pinecones (or balls), bucket or laundry basket

How to Perform: Test your throwing skills with a pinecone toss game! Collect pinecones from around the yard or use balls. Place a bucket or laundry basket a few feet away and take turns tossing the pinecones (or balls) into the container. Keep track of points and see who can make the most baskets.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Hand-eye coordination, Counting

Recommended: 300+ Fun & Easy Toddler Activities for Hours of Fun

Activity 8: Buggy Bingo

Age Group: 4-8 years old

Materials: Paper, pen (or crayons), markers, small objects (buttons, pebbles)

How to Perform: Become a junior bug detective with a game of Buggy Bingo! Create a bingo board with pictures or drawings of different bugs you might find in your yard (ants, ladybugs, butterflies). Use small objects like buttons or pebbles as markers. Head outside and see how many bugs you can find to mark off the squares on your bingo board.

Area of Development: Observation skills, Classification, Learning about insects

Activity 9: Outdoor Bowling

Age Group: 3-8 years old

Materials: Empty plastic bottles (filled with water or sand for weight), ball (beach ball or playground ball)

How to Perform: Set up a game of bowling with recycled materials! Fill empty plastic bottles with water or sand to weigh them down. Line the bottles up like bowling pins. Roll the ball and see how many pins you can knock down. You can adjust the distance for younger children.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Hand-eye coordination, Object control

Activity 10: Cloud Watching Contest

Age Group: 3-8 years old

Materials: Blanket (optional)

How to Perform: Lie back, relax, and let your imagination soar with a cloud watching contest! Spread out a blanket on the grass and look up at the clouds. See who can spot the most interesting cloud shapes – animals, objects, or funny faces. Talk about the different types of clouds and what they might tell you about the weather.

Area of Development: Imagination, Relaxation, Appreciation for nature

outdoor activity image use for pinterest

Conclusion

By incorporating these outdoor activities into your child’s routine, you’ll be providing them with a well-rounded foundation for growth and development. Not only will they be getting exercise and fresh air, but they’ll also be developing a connection to the environment and a lifelong appreciation for the wonders of the natural world.

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