, , , ,

A Preschool Teacher’s Guide To 40+ Toddler Outdoor Activities

Toddler Outdoor Activities

Today, I’m excited to share my insights, experiences, and knowledge gained from years in the classroom. We’re going to dive into the world of toddler outdoor activities, a realm where the simplest of adventures can have a profound impact on your child’s development

 

Having spent countless hours in the company of preschool-aged children, I’ve come to appreciate the boundless curiosity, energy, and eagerness to learn that toddlers bring to the table.

 

Whether it’s their first encounter with a ladybug, their fascination with a puddle, or their never-ending questions about the world around them, I’ve marveled at their innate sense of wonder.

 

In this blog post, we will explore a wide range of toddler outdoor activities tailored specifically for your preschoolers. These activities are designed to stimulate their creativity, curiosity, and motor skills.

 

From nature scavenger hunts to messy mud kitchen adventures, we’ll cover a variety of engaging and educational options to keep your little one entertained and inspired.

 

Whether you’re a seasoned parent, a first-time caregiver, or fellow teachers seeking fresh inspiration, this blog post is designed to be your go-to resource for meaningful outdoor play with toddlers.

 

So, let’s not waste another moment! Step outside with me and let’s empower our little ones through the wonder of toddler outdoor activities.

 

Welcome to the adventure!

 

The Power of Toddler Outdoor Activities

Outdoor activities are more than just a fun way to pass the time. They are an essential part of a child’s development.

 

In this age of screens and gadgets, getting your toddler outside for some good old-fashioned playtime is more important than ever.

 

When children engage in outdoor activities, they are not only having a blast, but they’re also learning valuable life skills.

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

 

Outdoor Exploration 

Nature is a dynamic classroom that offers endless opportunities for growth. Through outdoor play, toddlers can enhance their physical, cognitive, and social skills while developing a deep connection with the natural world.

 

Toddler Outdoor Activities Exploration

 

1. Water Play

Supplies Needed:

Water, swim suit, water toys

How-to Guide:

Have fun in the sun with water! Turn on the sprinklers, fill up the kiddie pool, get out the water toys, and enjoy being outside.

 

2. Obstacle Course 

Supplies Needed:

Cushions, chairs, tables, couches, tape

How-to Guide:

Create a mini obstacle course outside! Use blocks, trees, blankets and furniture to create challenges like crawling under tables, jumping over “lava” (blankets), and balancing on a line of tape. This activity not only entertains but also helps with their motor skills and problem-solving abilities.

 

3. Shape Jump

Supplies Needed:

Masking tape

How-to Guide:

Use masking tape to tape large shapes on the ground. Have your child identify the shapes while they are jumping from shape to shape! 

 

4. Backyard Bug Hunt

Supplies Needed:

The great outdoors

How-to Guide:

Go outside and hunt for some bugs! Search under rocks and leaves or around flowers and trees!

 

5. Balloon Tennis 

Supplies Needed:

Large craft stick, paper plate, balloon

How-to Guide:

Tape a large craft stick or paint stirring stick to a paper plate. You can decorate the paper plate for added fun! Blow up a balloon and take turns bopping up the balloon back and forth to each other.

 

6. Bubbles and Beyond

Supplies Needed:

Bubble wands, bubble solution, dish soap, water, whisk

How-to Guide:

Crafting giant bubbles for endless outdoor fun. Mix dish soap and water to create lots of bubbles! My preschool kids especially enjoyed playing with the bubbles using a whisk! Add some food coloring to make different colors!

 

7. Bowling 

Supplies Needed:

Disposable cups, ball

How-to Guide:

Collect 5 or 10 disposable cups. Arrange the cups like bowling pins. Now let your child roll a ball and try to knock over the cups! 

 

8. Nature Walk

Supplies Needed:

Your walking shoes

How-to Guide:

Enjoy a walk with your one-year-old. See what different nature elements you come across!

 

9. Wheelbarrow Tape Walk 

Supplies Needed:

Chalk/painter’s tape

How-to Guide:

Tape a line along the ground, or draw a line with chalk. It doesn’t have to be straight! Hold your child’s legs so that they are on their hands, and have the “walk” along the line!

 

10. Pompom Poppers

Supplies Needed:

Disposable cup, balloon, ping pong ball

How-to Guide:

Start by cutting the bottom off of a disposable cup. Tie a knot at the neck of a balloon, then trim off the top third of the balloon. Put the balloon onto the bottom of the cup. Now place a pom pom or ping pong ball into the cup. Pull back on the knotted balloon, lightly pull back, and release to pop the ball out of the cup! 

 

Resources For More Fun:

Water Table

Toddler Outdoor Activities water table

 

Lovevery Tunnel

Toddler Indoor Activities Lovevery Tunnel

 

Bowling

Toddler Outdoor Activities Bowling

 

Stepping Stones

Toddler Indoor Activities Stepping Stones

 

Yard Games

 

Science Experiments

Doing science experiments outdoors can be incredibly beneficial for toddlers. It’s a hands-on approach to learning that not only stimulates their curiosity but also allows them to explore the natural world in a dynamic way.

Toddler Outdoor Activities Science exploration

 

1. Volcano 

Supplies Needed:

Plastic bottle/tall cup, dish soap, baking soda, warm water, food coloring, vinegar

How-to Guide:

In a tall cup or plastic bottle, add 1 tablespoon of dish soap. Fill the container halfway with baking soda then mix in ¼ cup of warm water. Add several drops of food coloring. Pour vinegar into the top of the volcano to watch it erupt! You can use play dough to sculpt a volcano around the plastic bottle.

 

2. Homemade Ice Cream 

Supplies Needed:

Storage bags, half and half, sugar, vanilla, ice, salt

How-to Guide:

In a small storage bag, pour 1 cup of half and half, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Push all the air out and seal the bag. In a larger storage bag, combine 3 cups of ice and ⅓ cup of salt. Put the filled, smaller bag into the larger bag with ice and seal. Shake the bag vigorously for about 10 minutes or until you have an ice cream consistency. Enjoy!

 

3. Miniature Gardening 

Supplies Needed:

Shoe box, dirt, seeds, water

How-to Guide:

Poke a few holes in the bottom of a shoe box. Pour some dirt into the box. Add some seeds and water. Put the box on a window sill with plenty of sun. Keep watering every so often and wath your little garden grow! This teaches responsibility and nurturing skills while giving your child the satisfaction of accomplishing something!

 

4. Bubble Snake 

Supplies Needed:

Disposable water bottle, old sock, rubber bands, dish soap, water, food coloring

How-to Guide:

Cut the bottom off of a disposable water bottle. Take an old sock and slip it over the bottom of the bottle, covering the cut-off portion (you may want to trim the sock if it is too long). Secure the sock with rubber bands. Squirt a lot of dish soap into a bowl of water and dip the sock portion into the water. Blow through the top of the bottle to make a bubble snake! You can add food coloring to the wet sock to get different colored bubbles!

 

5. Sunshine Shadow Exploration 

Supplies Needed:

Chalk, sunshine, flashlight

How-to Guide:

Go outside and find your shadow. Use chalk to trace your child’s shadow! Take a walk and discover other shadows that have been cast by the sun, such as flowers, trees, and even little buzzing bees. You can also go inside the house and use a flashlight to discover different shadows!

 

6. Flower Dye

Supplies Needed:

White flowers, vase, water, food coloring

How-to Guide:

Pick out some white flowers and put them in a vase filled with water. Add some food coloring to the water. Over the next several days, watch the color creep up and dye the white flower petals.

 

Resources For More Fun:

Gardening Tools

Toddler Outdoor Activities Gardening Tools

 

Outdoor Explorer Kit

Toddler Outdoor Activities outdoor exploration

 

Volcano Science Kit

Toddler Indoor Activities Volcano

 

Arts and Crafts

Doing art outdoors is a wonderful way for toddlers to explore their creativity, connect with nature, and develop a range of essential skills. It’s a multi-sensory, open-ended, and liberating experience that encourages children to express themselves while fostering a love for the great outdoors.

Toddler Outdoor Activities Art

 

1. Rock ‘n Roll Painting

Supplies needed:

Rocks, paper, paint, box

How-to guide:

While outside, go and collect several small rocks. Have your child select their favorite colored piece of paper and place it in a wide, shallow box or container. Squirt some paint into the box. Drop several rocks into the box and let your child roll the rocks around through the paint along their paper! You can add a lid or cover to the box and let your child shake the rocks around in the box. Now you have some beautiful artwork to hang up to display, as well as painted rocks to decorate outside! 

 

2. Sidewalk Chalk

Supplies Needed:

Chalk

How-to Guide:

Have some fun with chalk and see what different pictures you can draw!

 

3. Butcher Paper Painting 

Supplies Needed:

Butcher paper, paint, painter’s tape

How-to Guide:

Roll out several feet of your child’s favorite colored butcher paper. Use several strips of painter’s tape and apply it in several different crossing directions across the butcher paper. Your child can then paint, color, or design each section in a different way. When they are finished, carefully peel off the tape to reveal your child’s design.

 

4. Tree Bark Rubbings

Supplies Needed:

Paper, pencils, crayons, chalk, trees

How-to Guide:

Collect some paper, pencils, crayons, and/or chalk and go outside. Choose a tree and hold a piece of paper against the trunk. Using a pencil, crayon, or some chalk, rub it on the paper and see the different textures that come from the tree bark!

 

5. Fly Swatter Splat 

Supplies needed:

Fly swatter, paint, paper

How-to guide:

Dip a clean fly swatter into some paint. Hit the fly swatter against some paper several times for a fun-looking art display!

  

6. Nature Wreaths

Supplies Needed:

Nature elements, paper plate, scissors, glue

How-to Guide:

Go outside and collect fallen leaves, flowers, sticks, and grass. Grab a paper plate and cut out the inner circle, leaving an outer ring. Using the leaves that were collected, glue them onto the paper plate ring to create a fall wreath!

 

7. Frozen Paint 

Supplies needed:

Muffin tin/ice cube tray, water, food coloring, craft sticks, paper

How-to guide:

Fill a muffin tin or ice cube tray with water. Drop some food coloring into each spot. Put a craft stick into each spot and then freeze. Once frozen, have your child use the frozen paint to paint on a piece of paper! 

 

8. Flower Stamping

Supplies Needed:

Paper, ink pad/paint, flowers

How-to Guide:

Start laying out a piece of paper and getting your ink pad ready (you can use paint if desired). Take a flower and press the petals into the ink. Now you can press your flowers on the paper to reveal different petal designs!

 

9. Chlorophyll Painting 

Supplies Needed:

Leaves, paper

How-to Guide:

Collect several different leaves from outside. Lay out a piece of paper and choose a leaf to use. Rub the leaf across the paper to “paint” the paper green!

 

10. Coffee Filter Butterflies  

Supplies needed:

Washable markers, coffee filters, spray bottle, pipe cleaners

How-to guide:

Using washable markers, have your child color several coffee filters. (This activity specifically works if your child colors on two coffee filters that are layered on top of each other.) Lay the colored coffee filters on a washable surface. Using a spray bottle, mist them with water. The more the filters are sprayed, the more the design runs and bleeds; the choice is yours!

After the coffee filters are dry, accordion fold the filters back and forth. Stack two folded filters (either two identical filters that were colored together or two different filters) on top of each other. Fold a pipe cleaner in half, and put the filters in between the folded pipe cleaner, having the middle of the filters secured against the pipe cleaner. Twist the pipe cleaner and curl the two open ends to look like butterfly antennas. Fan out the accordion pipe cleaners to reveal your beautiful watercolor butterfly!

 

11. Bubble Wrap Bonanza

Supplies Needed:

Bubble wrap, large cardboard, washable paint

How-to Guide:

Have your child paint the bubble side of the bubble wrap. After they have finished, lay the painted bubbles down onto cardboard. Let your child jump and stomp on the wrap to pop the bubbles. Listen to the different sounds that they make! Once the jumping has ended, remove the bubble wrap to reveal your artwork!

 

12. Pinwheels 

Supplies Needed:

Paper, scissors, hot glue, craft stick

How-to Guide:

Cut a piece of paper so it is square. Cut each corner towards the middle of the paper, stopping an ½ inch – 1 inch before you reach the middle. Fold each of the diagonal cuts over itself, lining up the edges. Put a dab of hot glue on the back, in the middle of your pinwheel. Stick a straw or craft stick to the hot glue. Blow on the pinwheel and watch it spin! 

 

13. Painting with Nature

Supplies Needed:

Nature elements, paint, paper

How-to Guide:

Go outside and collect grass, flowers, sticks, or rocks. Use these materials to paint on paper. Notice the different designs each material leaves on the paper.

 

14. Fingerprint Bugs

 

Supplies needed:

Paint, paper, marker

How-to guide:

Have your child dip their finger into different washable paint colors or a stamp pad and then dot their finger across a piece of paper. After the paint has dried, draw little eyes, legs, wings, antennae, etc on the fingerprints to resemble little bugs! Draw a large jar outline on your paper and fingerpaint your little bugs inside the jar for added fun! 

 

Resources For More Fun:

Paint A Bird House

Toddler Outdoor Activities bird house

 

Jumbo Sidewalk Chalk

Outdoor chalk

 

Paint Your Own Stepping Stone

Toddler paint a stepping stone kit

 

Sensory Play

Outdoor sensory play is an enriching experience for toddlers. It offers a unique approach to learning, development, and well-being, and it encourages children to engage with the world around them in a meaningful and enjoyable way.

Toddler Outdoor Activities Fine motor play

 

1. Sensory Bins 

Supplies needed:

Bin, rice, sand, lentils, beans, water

How-to guide:

Fill a bin with rice or beans. Add scoops and small toys and watch your kids have fun digging around!

 

2. Edible Finger Painting

Supplies Needed:

Hot water, flour, food coloring, paper

How-to Guide:

Combine hot water and flour until you have your desired consistency. Add a few drops of food coloring to make different colors. After the mixture has cooled, let your one-year-old paint with their fingers! Watch as they explore the texture, and maybe taste the paint as they create art!

 

3. Texture Exploration 

Supplies needed:

Various textured materials (e.g., soft fabrics, sandpaper, feathers)

How-to guide:

Set up a sensory station for hands-on exploration. Collect different materials with varying textures and place them in a box. Let your one-year-old dig around and explore the different textures! 

 

4. Mud Kitchen Fun

Supplies Needed:

Water, dirt, kitchen tools

How-to Guide:

Mix some water and dirt together to create some mud! Let your child get messy and play in the mud! Add scoops, cups, bowls, funnels, toys for different ways to play!

 

Resources For More Fun:

Mud Kitchen

Toddler mud kitchen

 

Sensory Table

Sensory Bin

 

Sensory Scoops

Sensory Scoops

 

Fine Motor Play

Outdoor play provides toddlers with a wealth of opportunities to refine their fine motor skills. It encourages them to use their fingers and hands in precise and coordinated ways, fostering hand-eye coordination, sensory awareness, and dexterity.

Toddler Outdoor Activities Fine motor

 

1. Drawing with Cars

Supplies needed:

Tape, marker, toy car, paper

How-to guide:

Tape a vertical, uncapped marker upside down to a toy car so the marker tip is level with the wheels. Get out some paper and have your child drive the car around while making art with the marker! 

 

2. Sticky Sensory Garden

Supplies Needed:

Contact paper, nature elements

How-to Guide:

Go outside and collect small nature elements such as flowers, grass, leaves, or sticks. Back inside, stick the collected nature elements to the sticky side of clear contact paper. After you have finished, attach the contact paper to a window to view your sensory garden!

 

3. Bubble Play 

Supplies Needed:

Dish soap, water, bin, whisk, food coloring

How-to Guide:

Mix dish soap and water in a large container or bin to create lots of bubbles! Give your child a whisk to make even more bubbles!  Add some orange, red, or yellow food coloring to make different colors!

 

4. Nature Scavenger Hunt

Supplies Needed:

List of nature items to find, a small bag or basket

How-to Guide:

Organize a scavenger hunt in your backyard or local park. Search for and collect different nature elements!

 

5. Frozen Toy Rescue 

Supplies Needed:

Ice cube tray, water, small toys, freezer

How-to Guide:

Fill an ice cube tray or muffin tin with water, and place small toys into each spot. Place in the freezer until frozen. Pop out the ice and let your child try to get the toy out of the ice! You can place the ice into some water and watch the toy slowly emerge or let your child use kid friendly tools to try and chip the ice away! 

 

6. Sticky Spider Webs

Supplies needed:

Painter’s tape, toys

How-to guide:

Use painter’s tape to make a large spiderweb on the wall or floor, sticky side out. Now stick different toys, sticks, leaves, etc to the sticky side of the tape. Let your child have fun retrieving the stuck objects!

 

7. Suncatchers 

Supplies needed:

Tissue paper, contact paper

How-to guide:

Have your child rip up several sheets of different colored tissue paper (this is a fun activity in and of itself). Then, stick the ripped pieces onto the sticky side of contact paper. You can cut the contact paper out in different shapes, or I like to have a template that the children stick the tissue paper around. After the tissue paper has been applied, you can stick the contact paper to a window to reveal your homemade suncatcher!

 

Resources For More Fun:

Contact Paper

contact paper

 

Fine Motor Garden

Toddler fine motor garden

 

Bubble Play

Toddler bubble kit

 

Memory Makers

Make the most of these precious years. Get out there with your little one, nurture their curiosity, and let them experience the world with all their senses. The memories you create together will be treasures that last a lifetime.

Toddler Outdoor Activities Bonding Time

 

1. Blanket Storytime 

Supplies Needed:

Books, blankets, pillows

How-to Guide:

Grab a stack of your toddler’s favorite books and create a cozy reading nook. Reading together not only strengthens your bond but also enhances your child’s language skills and imagination. Let them choose the books, and watch their faces light up as you dive into captivating stories.

 

Related Article: Top Picks: Preschool Teacher-Approved Books for One-Year-Olds

 

2. Construct a Fort

Supplies Needed:

Blankets, pillows, chairs, lights

How-to Guide:

What’s more magical than creating a cozy fortress of blankets and pillows? Building a blanket fort is not only a fantastic way to unleash your child’s creativity but also an opportunity for some quality bonding time. Let them decide where the entrance should be, and together, design a secret world where imaginative adventures unfold.

 

3. Picnic  

Supplies Needed:

Blanket, basket, plates and utensils, a meal or snacks

How-to Guide:

Transform mealtime into an indoor picnic adventure. Lay out a blanket on the living room floor, pack a basket of their favorite snacks, and enjoy a cozy meal together. Picnics add an element of novelty to mealtime and create lasting memories.

 

Resources For More Fun:

Picnic Table

Toddler picnic table

 

Camping Set

Toddler camping set

 

Kid Lawn Chair

Toddler lawn chair

 

As a former preschool teacher and a devoted mom on a mission to share the joys of childhood learning, I can’t emphasize enough the significance of toddler outdoor activities.

 

Our children are like sponges, eagerly soaking up the world around them. When we provide them with opportunities to explore the outdoors, we’re setting the stage for lifelong curiosity, a love for nature, and essential life skills.

 

Make the most of these precious years. Get out there with your little one, nurture their curiosity, and let them experience the world with all their senses.

 

The memories you create together will be treasures that last a lifetime!

 

You may also like:

The 50 Best Outdoor Toys For 1-Year-Olds In 2024

Summer Activities For Kids

50 Engaging Toddler Indoor Activities

30+ Tried And True Activities To Do At Home

The Best Montessori Toys For Two Year Olds

 

A Preschool Teacher’s Guide To 40+ Toddler Outdoor Activities

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Tess Moulton

Blog creator

Hello! I’m Tess, a preschool teacher turned mom, and I love discovering and creating fun ways to keep kids engaged and learning! Welcome!

Tess Moulton

My Personal Favorites
Sponsor
Engage
Explore