As the weather gets warmer, your toddler will be eager to go outside. Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to get together with friends to play.
Make sure you have the appropriate activities suitable for your child. This will help you to make the most of your time outdoors.
In this post, I will outline 27 simple activities that you can do with your 1 to 2-year-olds.
Before we jump to our list, let’s talk about some benefits of outdoor play for kids.
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Benefits of Outdoor Play For Children
Research shows that children who spent time in nature have an increase in their mental well-being. They also have an increase in their health and cognitive development.
Being outdoors also helps kids improve their social interaction skills. When you take a kid to the park, they will get a chance to meet other kids their age.
Through play, they learn to make friends and build their communication skills.
The outdoors can also be a good source of scientific discoveries for kids if you have the right activity.
Free play outdoors also encourages creativity in children. They get to use their imaginations more than when they’re staring at screens all day.
Now we know why playing outside is important for kids.
Let’s take a look at 27 outdoor activities to do with your toddler.
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Water play outdoor activities for 1 to 2-year-olds
Playing with water is something that every kid loves. There are endless possibilities for what you can do with water outdoors. Here are a few ideas.
1. Water Plants Together
If you have a lawn, have your child assist you to water the grass. If you have flowers indoors or outdoors, they could also water those as well.
If you don’t have flowers or a lawn, go to the park and water the flowers you see there.
Learning to take care of the environment is an important Montessori practical life skill for kids. Teach them about what plants need to survive, and how important it is to care for them.
You can take this further and make it a mini science lesson. Help your kids compare the things plants need with the things our bodies need to survive.
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2. Get A Water Table
Water tables are a great tool for kids to explore various concepts related to water. Some tables can make rain, whirlpools, and “volcanoes”.
Water provides a great sensory experience for kids. They can feel, touch, taste, and hear the splashes they make.
Montessori Practical life skill – scooping and pouring. Being able to scoop and pour water is also a practical life skill. It teaches them to control their body movement, balance, and hand-eye coordination.
I recommend the water table from Little Tikes.
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3. Get A Kiddie Pool
Can’t afford a water table? Get a kiddie pool. Your kids can sit in it to cool off during hot days.
You can also fill the pool with small objects you have around the house. Get your kid to scoop each one out using things like a large spoon, serving spoon, and spatula.
This will provide a suitable challenge to keep them occupied for a long time. They will also be practicing their fine motor skills.
4. Set Up Your Own Water Slide
Get a slip n slide mat from Amazon and lay it down on your lawn for your kids to play with. This will provide hours of endless fun that you can even join in.
5. Transfering Water With A Sponge
Fill up a bucket with water and give your toddler a sponge. Have them soak up the water and transfer it to an empty bucket.
Make it a competition between the two of you or with other kids. See who can empty out the water bucket the fastest.
This activity may sound simple, but it teaches your toddler fine motor skills. It also teaches coordination, concentration, and body control.
Another variation of sponge play is to have your kid help you wash the car. They can also wash some plastic toys outside.
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6. Ice Block Building
Made colored Ice cubes using food coloring. You can make the ice cubes as large as you’d like. Use small cubs to make bigger cubes and ice cube trays to make smaller ones.
Your kids will love playing with them and getting messy.
Nature Play Outdoor Activities For 1 to 2-Year-Olds
The next activities I list can be done anywhere with some greenery. A park, garden, or backyard would be best.
Gardening is another great way to learn the practical life skill of caring for the environment
Take some seeds out into the backyard and plant them with your child. This is a great opportunity to explain the importance of taking care of the plants.
You can even give them the responsibility of watering the plants every day. Toddlers enjoy chores at this age so tap into that.
I recommend this Kid’s Indoor Herb Garden, Grow Kit. You can use it even if you have no backyard.
A variation of this is to plant seeds in a “special spot” in the park. Mark the spot and check on the plant often when you visit the park.
This will be a big motivation for your kid to want to go outside.
8. Build A Bird Feeder
Building bird feeders is a good activity to help kids connect with nature. You can make a simple one from milk jugs. The family handyman has simple instructions on how to make one.
Before you put bird food into the feeder, have your kid paint and design the milk jug to give it some life.
9. Feed Squirrels In The Park or Backyard
We have a lot of squirrels where we live. My kids and I have lots of fun feeding them walnuts.
You’re not limited to squirrels. You can feed whatever small animals you see in your backyard or park.
10. Color Treasure Hunt
Go on a “treasure hunt” with your kids to find items in nature made of different colors. To do this activity, print out 4-5 color blocks on a large piece of paper.
You can pick colors like red, green, brown, or pink.
Ask your toddler to find something in nature that matches each of these colors. “Treasures” could be sticks, flowers, stones, etc.
You can tape what they found to the paper corresponding to the colors. For example, if they picked a green leaf, you would take the leaf in the green section of the paper.
This activity will teach young kids concentration, and help reinforce color identification. They will also learn to compare & contrast.
11. Animal Identification Game
To do this activity, print out pictures of animals found in nature. Go on a walk and see what animals from the list you can find.
Have your kids identify the animals they see and match them to the ones in the picture.
This will also teach them to compare & contrast.
You can also teach observation skills by studying one animal for a long period of time.
Do they have a tail, wings, two feet, etc? What are they eating? What sounds do they make, and what color is the animal?.
Have a conversation with your kid about what they notice.
12. Read A Nature Book And Find Matching Objects
Before you head to the park, read a book about nature to your child. While at the park, have them find as many items mentioned in the book as possible.
It’s another take on the nature treasure hunt described above.
If you have more than one kid, have them do a competition to see who can find the most items.
13. What Lives In Dirt?
Put on some gloves and dig through dirt with your kids. Have them observe the dirt to identify all the things that live in it.
Why not use a magnifying glass to analyze the dirt too? This is a great science activity to teach living versus non-living things.
This activity also teaches the skill of organizing things into categories.
I highly recommend this Toddler’s Science Activity Book if you’re interested in doing fun, tasty, and kid-safe science experiments.
Coloring Outdoor Activities For 1 to 2-year-olds
This section features fun activities that can be done with chalk or paint. Kids will get messy but they will have lots of fun.
14. Coloring Pages
Take a coloring book with you the next time you go outside. Bonus point if the coloring pages have something to do with nature. Your toddler will enjoy making a work of art while enjoying the fresh air.
Check out these awesome Nature coloring page printables on Etsy.
15. Draw With Sidewalk Chalk
This is the easiest activity you can do with your toddler.
Older kids will love this too. You need some sidewalk chalks of different colors, and an empty sidewalk to draw on.
Let your kids be creative and draw whatever they like. You can also challenge them to draw something in particular.
16. Sidewalk Chalk Obstacle Course
If your kids get tired of creating art on the ground, you can make a game with your sidewalk chalk.
To play this game, you must first assign simple actions to different symbols.
For example Every time your toddler reaches a triangle, they must jump over it. They can only jump from one triangle to another.
When they reach a square, they touch their toes. If it’s a circle, then they must twirl around 5 times.
After creating your rules, draw lines on the ground and add your shapes to them. Try to make your lines curvy to create a more challenging obstacle course.
Your kids must walk on the line while doing those silly tasks as they encounter each shape. This game teaches coordination, following rules, concentration, and shapes.
17. Paint A Masterpiece On Canvas
Get a small canvas, kid-safe paint, paintbrushes, and a cup of water.
Go outside and have your kids try to draw something they see outdoors. It can be a flower, a tree, a person, the sky, or even an abstract.
You should celebrate whatever they create, and hung it up on the wall. This encourages their interest in the creative arts.
18. Decorate Rocks
Don’t have a canvas on hand? Paint some rocks. You can even use your sidewalk chalks to color the rocks as well.
Get creative and make different designs. When you’re done, use the rocks to decorate your garden.
Other Outdoor Activities For 1 to 2-year-olds
19. Ride A Bike or Scooter
Go out and do some exercise with your 1 to 2-year-old. Ride around the neighborhood or the park.
20. Pull a pull toy on the sidewalk
Young kids love dragging pull toys around. Have them take out their favorite and pull it along the sidewalk the next time you go outside.
Don’t have one? No problem. You can find handmade pull toys here on Etsy
21. Go to the playground
If you’re lucky to have a playground near you, then you don’t need to do anything else on this list.
Playgrounds offer endless fun for kids. They can swing, play in the jungle gyms, play hoops, and do other sports.
Playgrounds are also a place for kids to make friends with other kids.
If you need mommy friends, you can also meet them at the playground as well.
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22. Go Fly A Kite
If you have experience flying a kite, or even an interest in learning, then this could be a great activity for you.
If you don’t have any already, get one online and start learning all about flying it. Youtube is a great resource.
This could be a special activity that bonds you and your child for years to come.
23. Go To The Zoo
What better way to spend your day outdoors than going to the zoo?
Where I live, we have a petting zoo close by. My toddler loves going there to interact with the animals.
It’s so much fun to watch him study their behavior.
24. Play Hide And Seek
Hide and seek is a simple game that you can play indoors and out.
25. Alphabets or Numbers Scavenger Hunt
Take some phone letters and numbers from your child’s collection out with you the next time you’re outdoors.
Hide the letters & numbers in different spots, and have your kid go seek them out.
This is a great way to practice their letters and numbers.
26. Go To The Beach
The beach provides endless fun for kids. They can build sandcastles, play in the water (with adult supervision), and enjoy the sun.
27. Blow Bubbles
What is more fun to kids than blowing bubbles? Kids of all ages would love this activity. You can get kits online that allow you to make bubbles of different shapes and sizes.
You can also DIY your own bubble blower from youtube videos.
In this post, I’ve provided you with 27 great activities to do outdoors with your 1 to 2-year-old.
Like I said in the post, you can change some activities to suit older kids.
No matter which one you choose, don’t forget to engage with your child and join in the fun.
I hope you and your kids have many great memories together for years to come
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Did I miss anything on the list? What other outdoor activities do you do with your child? Comment below and let me know.