Teaching Mama is a education blog, dedicated to sharing hands-on learning activities for children, particularly toddlers and preschoolers. Angela shares sensory play ideas, ways to keep toddlers busy, preschool learning activities, printables, and thoughts on motherhood.
Would you agree that keeping toddlers busy is not always easy?! Taking care of a toddler is exhausting, but they sure know how to put a smile on our faces. Now that it’s spring, we can finally go outside and let the little ones get all the wiggles out! If you’re looking for some easy outdoor toddler activities, you’re in luck! Today I’m sharing 5 ideas, plus I’m sharing about a new resource just for toddlers. Oh and you’ll want to check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post!
One thing I encourage parents to do with toddlers is to let them be messy (within reason!) and give them time to explore. That’s how children learn! They need experience with messy play. Believe me, it truly benefits children! (Did you know that sensory play has a correlation with picky eaters?! Check out this interesting post.)
Here are 5 Outdoor Toddler Activities
1. Sensory Walk
This is one of my favorite activities. It doesn’t have to be just for toddlers either! The goal of this activity is for your little one to explore the sense of touch with their feet. This is super fun and you can use a variety of materials for this activity. Check out more details about this activity here.
2. Jell-O Dig
This one is so simple! All you need is some Jell-O and some toy animals. Just make Jell-O according to the directions and let kids play in it! I put plastic bugs and frogs in our jello before letting it gel in the fridge. The kids loved pulling the bugs off and rinsing them off in the water bucket. They also enjoyed feeling the squishy Jell-O!
3. Water Wall
Playing with water is always a favorite of my kids. Even just playing with water in a bin with cups and funnels is a bit hit. Several years ago, I made a pool noodle water wall. To say it was a big hit, would be an understatement. We’ve used this thing so much!
We love playing with soap foam! You just need dish soap, water, food coloring, and squeeze bottles. It is so soft, squishy, fluffy, and is easy to clean up!
Have fun decorating the sidewalk and then rinse it off for an easy clean up! Find all the details right here.
5. Paint with Water
This one is the easiest activity! You could just paint the sidewalk with water and a roller. It’s fun to see how fast it dries up. Or you could draw shapes, letters, or designs on the sidewalk and then have your little one paint them with water.
I hope these five outdoor toddler activities inspire you and you’ll try them out!
I’m sure you’re wanting more activities to keep your little ones busy, so I’m excited to share a new book written by my friend Krissy at B-Inspired Mama.
She wrote The Outdoor Toddler Activity Book, and it’s an amazing resource! It contains over 100 outdoor activities that promote early learning and are super fun! Here are a few of my favorite activities in the book:
Milk Bubble Rainbow (page 34)
Kiddie Pool Gold Panning (page 38)
Windy Day Play (page 66)
Magical Nature Wand (page 72)
Waterfall Fence (page 102)
Colorful Ice Fishing (page 120)
The activities are creative, simple, and use only a few supplies and require little to no prep.
For one week, I will be hosting a giveaway of this awesome book and my Learn and Play Toddler Activity Book. Just enter below for the chance to win both of these books!
You must be 18 or older and live in the United States to participate.
Winter is in full swing! Brrr! The temperatures here are absolutely freezing this week. I realized we’ve never made a winter sensory bin, so I decided it was time! I love how it turned out. We used a few different items from the kitchen and the colors are beautiful and icy blue.
blue and silver paint (we used acrylic and washable paint)
star-shaped pasta (found at Target)
short cylinder pasta (found at Target)
gallon-sized Ziplock bags
tray lined with parchment or wax paper
To color the pasta and/or rice, just follow these simple steps!
Pour the dry pasta or rice into a gallon-sized Ziplock bag.
Squirt in some paint.
Close the bag and shake.
Lay the paint on a tray lined with parchment or wax paper. You can use a spoon to spread the pasta or rice around.
Allow about one hour to dry.
Every so often, stir with a spoon to try to prevent pasta or rice sticking together.
What I used in our bin:
light blue star pasta
dark blue star pasta
royal blue cylinder pasta
I poured all the contents into a bin and then I just set out some tools to play with the bin. I had a funnel, cups, spoons, and a star ice cube tray.
This would be great to use in a plastic bin at home or in a sensory table at a school.
I also added in some cards with pictures of the life cycle of a snowflake. Last week, I shared the printable for a booklet on the life cycle of snowflakes, so this would be a great follow up activity to do to practice learning the cycle.
Here are some of the cards.
With the cards, you can spread them around and then have the kids put them in order for the life cycle. Or you could just use them for vocabulary cards. We hid the cards around the room and then found them and put them in order.
If you’ve ever potty trained a child, you know that it’s not always easy! It takes time, patience, and a whole lot of grace! One request I’ve had is to create a bathroom visual routine cards. Since creating my toddler visual routine cards and my before and after school routine cards, I figured I should add one more! I hope you find the bathroom routine visual cards helpful!
The free printable includes the following cards:
dry hands (another version)
throw away trash
turn off lights
I’ve also added some blank cards in case you have other parts of your routine to add.
There are several ways you could display the cards:
in a pocket chart
tape to the door (use tape that won’t ruin your door!)
in a notebook to flip through
After you cut out the cards, make sure to talk with your child about what each card means. I recommend putting them in order with your child, then mix them up and have your child put them in order.
You’ll also notice that I have boy and girl cards. Feel free to use what works for you!
You could also use these cards in the classroom for teaching the bathroom routine. I included cards that say “knock” and “throw away” because those are things you would do in the classroom.
This sticky tree is great for fall, but could be used any time of the year. For this activity, I took a long piece of clear contact paperand stuck it to our back door window using these Scotch Restickable Shapes. Then I drew a tree using permanent marker onto the sticky side of the contact paper. My first idea was to give my 2-year-old fake leaves, acorns, and foam apples. However, we quickly realized that they were too heavy and did not stick on. So, I got out some puff balls and decorated the tree with them.
It didn’t really hold is attention, so we tried foam apples (from Target) and foam leaves (that I cut).
Once again, it didn’t really hold his attention. Third time must be a charm because this next activity REALLY held his attention. I found some clip art on Etsy by SimplyBrenna and thought it would be fun to print them out, cut them, and have him make a fall scene with the clip art. Here’s what he created…
He really enjoyed this activity. He was focused and determined to get every single picture up on the contact paper. It was so cute how he told me what each item was and pointed out their colors. And I wish you could have seen how PROUD he was when he was done. He could not wait to show his dad! Here is his finished artwork…
You can also do this with real leaves! We found that the brown ones didn’t stick super great, but the colored and green ones did!