7 Outdoor Activities that Will Help Your Toddler's Development

There are tons of fun and educational things to do outside with your toddler!There are tons of fun and educational things to do outside with your toddler!It's easy to fall into a daily routine with your toddler. They spend time eating, napping, playing, and developing new skills... and occasionally you mix it up with a play date or some TV time (we all do it!). Now that summer is in full swing it's time to mix up the routine and get outside. Even though your toddler might not be ready to ride bikes or play ball with the big kids, there are tons of outdoor activities to keep your toddler busy. Just remember that it's important to make sure you're still working on developmental skills with your toddler. The best way to do this is to combine outdoor play with learning -- here are 7 ways to help your toddler learn and have fun outside:

Create a Summer Sensory BoxCreate a Summer Sensory Box1. Create a summer sensory box
My toddler and I love this fun and easy activity. Here I've taken an inexpensive container and filled it with shells, items from the yard, and a random dinosaur. She loves exploring the items to feel the variety of textures and interact with them in different ways. I just plopped her on a blanket in the yard and she was good to go!










Related: 20 everyday items my toddler finds fascinating





Make Flower FairiesMake Flower Fairies2. Make flower fairies

Let them choose a few favorite flowers and plants from your garden (or pick a few wilting ones yourself!) to make these colorful, creative fairies. Glue them to paper and you've got a whole new kind of art to put on the fridge! This will encourage your toddler's creativity and get them thinking outside the box. And arranging all those tiny plant pieces will be great for concentration and motor skills.
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Create a Toddler Obstacle CourseCreate a Toddler Obstacle Course3. Create a toddler obstacle course
This is another activity that can be played in many different ways, and it's totally up to you to decide how elaborate to make your obstacle course. We love to play games that work on gross motor skills like balancing, climbing, and crawling. Here, a wagon is used to weave in and out of pool noodles!
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Related: 8 outdoor toys every toddler should own






Sensory FunSensory Fun4. More sensory development

There's no doubt about it: sensory play is important for encouraging your toddler's development. Here, water beads (typically used for gardening purposes) are used for sensory exploration. It's inexpensive, easy and most of all, fun! And while your toddler is playing away, you'll have time to get your gardening done.















Beat the heat with water playBeat the heat with water play5. Beat the heat with water play
This is another favorite of my toddlers. Fill a large tub or play pool with water, and give your toddler bath toys or other items like measuring cups or bowls. This is a great activity for speech therapy, color recognition, or playing matching games with your toddler.










Related: 14 things I'll miss about the toddler years






Slip N' SlideSlip N' Slide6. Slip-n-slide
The slip n' slide is a classic favorite for a reason. It captures the essence of childhood. A little exercise is always good for kids of any age and this is a great way to keep cool and burn off some excess energy. Plus, struggling to stay upright on that slippery slide will be great for your toddler's balance and motor skills.
















Play in the CloudsPlay in the Clouds7. Put your head in the clouds... in your own backyard
All these outdoor activities could have your toddler mighty dirty. Clean up by playing with these homemade clouds! The ingredients are basic: water, Ivory soap, and toilet paper. A little microwaving and mixing and the "clouds" are ready for squishy, clean fun. Your toddler will love helping out with this at-home science experiment and will likely learn a little something in the process!
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- By Mary L. Weimer
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