We’ve had some super soggy days so far this April over here in the Pacific Northwest but I can see the sunshine peeking out from the clouds with the promise that sunny Spring days are just around the corner. After a long Winter and these rainy Spring days I am definitely ready to get outside and to start taking advantage of the warmer weather.
Here is my list of three outdoor toddler activities that you can try next weekend – so get outside and create some lasting memories with those little ones in your life!
#1 – Start a Collection
My granddaughter Elizabeth is endlessly fascinated with collecting things of all shapes and sizes. She will gather up all of her dolls or stuffed animals and line them up on the couch next to her while we read books. Having her favorite things around her and knowing where they are give her some degree of comfort. At the same time, she is just under two years old with all the energy and limited attention span that brings along with it. Starting a collection of things found in nature is a fun and educational way to appeal to both of these needs.
Some ideas of what you can collect:
- Flowers – with rain comes flowers; you know, the whole “April showers bring May flowers” quote and all. Make your collection last by creating a pressed flower book.
- Rocks – rocks are another cheap (free) thing you can go outside and collect. They’re everywhere! If you have an older toddler you can extend the fun by turning those rocks into art.
- Photographs – Go buy a disposable camera and head out on a nature walk with your child documenting all the adventures you’re sure to have from their point of view. Don’t forget to get the photos developed and you will have a fun project awaiting the next rainy day. How fun would it be to create a scrapbook with your child documenting all of their Spring and Summer adventures using all of their own photographs!
#2 – Make a Mess
I have been looking forward to the weather warming up to try out all the fun, messy crafts that are a little tougher to clean up in an inside environment and are thus the perfect outdoor toddler activities.
Some things I’m looking forward to trying:
- Finger paints – of course you can finger paint inside as well but why not do it outside where you can get as messy as you want with zero stress about where that paint is going to end up. You can also incorporate nature into your artwork by using leaves and other items you collect as stamps or paint brushes.
- Make a messy sensory box – there are many sensory boxes you can create that are not so messy, but I’d also like to try some of the boxes containing sand, water, shaving cream and other items in an environment where my grand kids can play without the added stress of destroying the house in the process. Here is a site that describes sensory bins in detail.
#3 – Learn Something
One of my favorite things to do with my kids as they got older is to pick a specific topic and to research and learn as much about that topic as possible. We “pretend” to be (we really are!) researchers and scientists and learn something about our world in the process. This doesn’t only have to apply to older kids though, it can be a perfect outdoor activity to do with your toddler as well.
- Check out a book from the library on a specific topic – for toddlers you could find a book on insects or flowers for example and than go outside and see if you can “discover” any of those things for yourself. Kind of like a real life eye-spy or scavenger hunt. You can get as specific or broad as you want depending on the age of your child. My grandchildren are all fairly young for example so I plan to just stick to broader categories of, “Lets see if we can find a flower,” or, “Can you find a bug?,” instead of a specific, “Let’s see if we can spot a tulip” suggestions that you might use with older children.
- Visit a farm – here in Washington State we have several farms within a fairly short driving distance that are always hosting fun family activities. I love our days at the farm – it gives kids the chance to get up close with animals that they may not see on a regular basis and start to learn about where our food comes from.
Just Get Outside
The most important thing of all is just to get outside and create some memories. After such a long winter (at least it sure seemed long), it’s an incredible feeling to get outside and feel the sun on my face. I have a tendency to rush around and prioritize checking things off my to do list or to spend the entire weekend inside cleaning the house. This Spring/Summer I vow to spend more time on what really matters – soaking up some of those precious moments with my kids and grandchildren. This time in their lives will never come again and it’s so much more important to capture every moment possible with them than to have a perfectly clean home or fully completed to do list. The moments are fleeting…what do you have to lose? Try one of the above outdoor toddler activities with your little one next weekend.
Thank you for visiting! Comment below and let me know if you try any of the above suggestions or if your family has any favorite outdoor activities.
Elizabeth picking up new rocks for her collection (which she promptly threw into the lake, also a lot of fun). <3