- 2 mins
5 Activities to Get Your Toddler Outdoors
Our lives have become busy. Parents often rush from one responsibility to the next and there seems to be pressure on parents to enroll their children in extramural activities even from a young age. These activities are encouraged as they are said to support a child’s development. However, not too many years ago, toddlers stayed at home during the day – they played outside, wore clothes that could get dirty, were supervised, but not entertained all day long and they still developed into capable, well-rounded adults.
According to Bento & Dias (2017), outdoor play is important to ensure that young children develop healthily. It has become easier to hand our kids devices from a young age to keep them happy and entertained, but it does not have to stay that way.
Playing outside and spending time outdoors have many benefits. Kids learn how to take risks and plan their movements, develop spatial awareness, and improve their gross- and fine motor skills. There are also often opportunities for social interaction with other children. And, if there are no other kids around, a world of creativity is unlocked when a child starts exploring.
How do we get our children to spend time outdoors, though?
If our kids are used to being indoors and especially if a device is their main reinforcer (and entertainer), playing outside may be a new skill for them to learn. The best thing that we can do to encourage our kids to have fun outdoors is to set an example. Don’t be afraid to join in and prove to your child that outdoor activities can be exciting. One of the main advantages is that these activities do not even cost anything!
Here are 5 outdoor activities for your toddlers:
- Lie on your backs together and watch the clouds. See what pictures or animals you can spot hiding in the clouds.
- Jump in the puddles! Forget about how you are going to get the clothes clean again. Wear something old and jump in the puddles with your child. Hold hands, laugh, and watch your little one’s face light up when they manage to make the biggest splash.
- Cooking or baking – take some old containers and utensils outside and pretend to make soup, (mud) cakes, and pizza. Mix, measure, share and enjoy the delicious dishes together.
- Draw pictures in the sand, on the floor, or in the dirt – use sticks, chalk, or even your fingers! Talk about what you are drawing and encourage your toddler to tell you about their works of art.
- Go for a walk! Set aside enough time so that you don’t have to rush and make sure that you take water (and perhaps a snack) along. As you are walking, take time to enjoy the little things your child notices. Stop and smell the flowers, pick up a “special rock” and watch the birds in the sky.
There are many other outdoor activities that we can do with our toddlers. The part that they will love the most, though, is having their parents right there with them, enjoying the experience together.
Bento, G., & Dias, G. (2017). The importance of outdoor play for young children’s healthy development. Porto biomedical journal, 2(5), 157–160.