Outdoor activities for toddlers

4 photos of a toddler enjoying time outdoors. Text reads outdoor activities for toddlers

You’ll no doubt know by now how much I think it is important to get kids outside. I love sharing outdoor activities for children. Today I’ll be sharing over 30 ideas for outdoor activities for toddlers so you can join in and have your own outdoor adventures with your little one.

4 photoof a toddler having fun outdoors and text that reads 30+ outdoor activities for toddlers

33 outdoor activities for toddlers

Spending time outdoors with toddlers needn’t be complicated. A trip to the park, a short walk or just playing in the garden is all fun at this age. You can take any indoor activity and do it outside as a start but if you’re looking for more ideas then below you’ll find a whole month of ideas.  

1 Hunt for the Gruffalo

The Gruffalo is such a great book for toddlers and one that soon becomes a favourite. Any time you go to the woods you can ask your toddler if they can help find the Gruffalo. Simple ideas like this keep them interested and get them to start looking around at their surroundings. Talking about what you can all see will help build their vocabulary too. It doesn’t matter that they won’t actually find him. If you want more Forest school activities for 2 year olds head here.

2 Jump in muddy puddles

I’m not sure there is a toddler around who doesn’t love jumping in muddy puddles. Just make sure they’re wearing wellies and a puddle suit to stay dry.  

Toddler splashing in muddy puddle

3 Go on a scavenger hunt

Picture scavenger hunts are fantastic for toddlers. They are another great way to encourage toddlers to notice their surroundings and keep them engaged. Another idea for a picture scavenger hunt is to print some pictures out and hide them around your garden. You could have a theme for the hunt like pictures of birds or print out a selection of characters from their favourite book.  

Get my free winter scavenger hunt printable here.

or how about an autumn scavenger hunt printable?

4 Make a nature wand

A stick is the perfect companion to any walk but add a star and you’ve got a simple wand. Cut out a cardboard star and sellotape it to a stick. You could let your toddler decorate the star before adding the stick. You could use paint, crayons or even stick some leaves or flowers to it.  

Find more 30 Fun things to do with sticks here, many of them are suitable for a toddler with help.

5 Collect nature loose parts

Give your toddler a small basket, paper bag or egg box and get them to collect nature in it. You could use this as part of a scavenger hunt or just let them choose what they want to. Ideas include fallen leaves, twigs, pine cones, acorns and conkers. Once you get home you can use these loose parts in your play such as with play dough, to make a nature picture or to paint with.  

Brightly coloured painting with a conker pine cone and stick on top, covered in paint

6 Make a journey stick

Another type of scavenger hunt. Give your toddler a strip of card with some double-sided sticky tape on and let them stick leaves and other small nature finds to it as you go on a walk together. Find step by step instructions here – how to make a journey stick here.

7 Water play

What toddler doesn’t enjoy water play? A water table is the best outdoor toy I’ve ever bought my little ones but even a washing up bowl filled with water and a few cups or bath toys will work. Or how about getting them to help you wash some toys that need a clean or even the car.  

Find more Outdoor activity toys for toddlers here.

8 Ride a trike or scooter

Ride ons, trikes or even scooters are great on a flat driveway or at the park.

9 Messy play

If you enjoy messy activities with your little one but not the mess then doing them outdoors is the perfect solution.

10 Play hide and seek

Don’t expect your toddler to understand the rules of hide and seek for at least another couple of years but they will still enjoy playing a simple game of hide and seek.  

11 Make clay faces

Air-dry clay is widely available now and is a great alternative to play dough. Simple put a circle of clay on a tree and let your toddler make a face out of natural loose parts. Or perhaps they’d like to make a spider or hedgehog.  

Clay face on a tree

12 Blow bubbles

Young children love watching bubbles. You can encourage them to try to catch or pop them too.  

13 Play pooh sticks

A firm favourite on a family walk for my daughters. Everyone chooses a stick, then lines up on a bridge and at the same time drop them in the river below. Rush to the other side of the bridge and see who’s stick is first to come out the other side.  

14 Play in a mud kitchen

My girls have loved pretend play kitchens from being toddlers so it was inevitable they would love a mud kitchen. You don’t need a specific mud kitchen though. Even just a collection of pots and pans will keep them entertained. We don’t always use mud in ours either. We use water, nature loose parts like conkers, petals and play dough.  

Toddler girl playing with petals in a mud kitchen

15 Make a tent

A simple pop up tent will provide hours of fun for a little one. If you don’t have a tent you could even make a simple one with a sheet over some chairs. Add a few favourite books and toys and they’ll love it. You could even picnic inside it.  

16 Build an obstacle course

There are so many options for making a toddler obstacle course. We have a couple of pop up tunnels as well as using balls and hula hoops. You could also set up some cones to run around or toss bean bags into a hula hoop on the ground.  

17 Draw with chalks

Let your toddler draw with chalks on your patio, driveway or yard. It will soon wash away when it rains.  

Toddler drawing on a patio with chalk

18 Have a picnic

Pack a blanket and a lunch box and even lunch becomes an adventure for toddlers. Even just in your own back garden counts but how about taking one to your local park or woodland.  

19 Build sandcastles on the beach

With a bit of help, toddlers will love building sandcastles on the beach. Don’t be surprised if they knock them down faster than you can build them though. It’s all part of the fun for them.  

20 Paddle in the sea

Such a simple childhood pleasure. Don’t forget you can do this all year round if you wear wellies.  

21 Make bark rubbings

Simply hold a sheet of paper over a tree trunk and teach your little one to rub a crayon across the paper.  

22 Make bird feeders

There are lots of different kinds of bird feeders that you can make together to encourage birds into your garden. One of the simplest is a pine cone bird feeder that I shared last month.  

23 Play in a sandpit

This is the next best thing if you can’t make it to the beach.  

24 Start gardening

Toddlers love to help and copy grown-ups. You can pick children’s gardening kits up really cheaply or let them help using your tools. They can help plant and water seeds and they will love watching their plants grow. We’ve successfully grown strawberries and sunflowers together. Find all my tips for starting gardening with children here.  

Toddler digging in mud

25 Walk around a sculpture trail

Many places now have wooden sculptures dotted around that children love to spot. Finding interesting places like this can really help keep little ones engaged on a family walk.  

26 Go on a bug hunt

My kids love magnifying glasses. Your toddler will have loads of fun examining nature through a magnifying glass. Finding bugs will be a bonus. Try lifting up rocks and leaves in the woods,  you’re bound to find a bug or two.  

27 Simple ball games

Simply kicking a ball around the garden is a fun activity for little ones. Learning to kick a ball is a skill that toddlers will be just starting to develop.  

28 Balance on logs

Another skill that toddlers will just be starting to develop is balancing. They love trying to balance on fallen logs whilst holding a grown-up’s hand or two.  

29 Paint with water

A little pot of water and a paintbrush is all you need for this simple activity. Mess-free painting at it’s simplest but an activity that toddlers will love.  

Toddler painting a brik wall with water

30 Spot the birds

If you made bird feeders earlier, it shouldn’t be long before you have birds in your garden to count or simply talk about.  

31 Make petal potions

Another idea for water play is to add some petals. Your little one will have loads of fun stirring and mixing their own “potions”.  

32 make ice sculptures

This is a fantastic activity all year round. The ice will last longer in the winter but playing with ice in the summer is a great way to cool down. Simply mix water and food colouring, pour into moulds of different sizes (I used lolly moulds, ice cube trays and yoghurt pots) and then freeze.

colourful small clocks of ice in frosty grass

33 Go on a sound hunt

Another great scavenger hunt for when out walking is a sound hunt. You can download my free sound hunt printable here. It’s great for building focus and concentration.

Need more inspiration?

So there you have over a month of ideas for toddler outdoor play. Here are a few other posts that you’ll love.

You’ll love these Winter sensory activities for toddlers

I love seasonal activities, find my winter outdoor activities for kids post.

Here are 30 spring activities for kids of all ages.

If you’d like more ideas like this then why not join my Facebook group, where we are always sharing ideas for getting young children outside and exploring nature.  

Want to share more ideas for getting kids outdoors with like-minded parents? Join Wildling Explores the free Facebook group for parents who love to get their kids outdoors.

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41 thoughts on “Outdoor activities for toddlers

  1. sonia cave says:

    Absolutely adore this post as it is so on our wave length 🙂 Mud kitchens are always a huge winner…ours even can do this at school where they play in the woods at break time

  2. Laura@dearbearandbean says:

    Great ideas. We’re a family that love to be outdoors and my girls definitely need to spend time outdoors. There favourite thing is to take the binoculars and magnifying glass out to look for treasure!

  3. Zoe says:

    Great ideas. I’m a massive advocate for getting kids outside. My kids regularly make potions and lotions with a puddle and leaves of all kinds!

  4. Clare Minall says:

    What a great activities. My kids would be so happy to try all of these. Sometimes it is important to encourage our kids to try outdoor activities.

  5. Sonia says:

    My little ones always enjoyed lots of these when they were toddlers especially puddle jumping… always a firm favourite 🙂

  6. Wendy says:

    So many great ideas here, lots we do but lots we haven’t tried either so thanks for the inspiration! The Arla milk sounds great too xx

  7. Anuma says:

    It is so important to let kids play outdoor and let them get some fresh air. Love all of your ideas. Will try to do it with my kids too. Thanks

  8. Kids of the Wild says:

    I love reading all your ideas for kids outdoor play and it sounds like Arla milk are heading in the right direction in terms of encouraging people outdoors too. Thanks for sharing with us at #CountryKids

  9. Linda Hobbis says:

    Aw, my two are too old for these now but I still remember The Gruffalo. Caitlin and Ieuan also used to love Room On The Broom. I’m lucky if I can get the pair of them outside these days. Make the most of toddlerhood!

  10. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) says:

    This is a fabulous list of ideas for outdoor activities for little ones. My girls enjoyed doing most of these and scavenger hunts, jumping in muddy puddles and playing Pooh sticks are firm favourites still with Sophie. Thanks for sharing with #CountryKids

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