As a child care provider, you’ll need to be prepared with indoor games and outdoor activities for toddlers. Adding variety to their day helps them explore the world, develop motor skills, and have a whole lot of fun. If you’re looking for some outdoor adventures that work year-round, check out this list of some of our top picks.
For The High Energy Wonder
If the family you work with has a toddler who just can’t keep still, then try these outdoor activities. Giving them a lot of opportunities to run, jump, and just play will keep you and them full of smiles.
- Design an obstacle course. This is a great DIY toddler activity that works on toddlers’ gross motor skills.
- Snowball fight. A perfect activity for kids getting a better handle of their, well, hands. Play outside and then when you get chilly, head indoors for some hot cocoa.
- Play in puddles. After a rainy spring day, pull on the boots and splash in puddles.
- Dance it out. Great if you’re babysitting during a playdate! Everyone can come up with their own move and the whole group can imitate it. Don’t forget the speaker!
- Hide and seek. Establish a kid-safe radius, and you can spend an entire afternoon playing hide and seek.
- Chase bubbles. There are dozens of toys for making bubbles from tiny to monster-sized. Start with some bubble making. And then the toddler can run after them in the yard.
- Hopscotch. Draw out the diagram on the chalk and practice hopping and jumping. You can have some fun arts and crafts time adding in some more drawing and design too.
- Water limbo. Let’s be honest. Kids love getting into the water! Use your hose to create the limbo bar and see if they get under it or get soaked.
For The Little Explorer
Caring for a more curious kiddo? Well, expand their world with a few of these activities. We have included some free outdoor activities and some that may have a cost. Keep family budget in mind!
- Head to the beach. At the beach you can lay out, explore tidal pools, or make sandcastles.
- Hike. Grab your hat and sunscreen and hit a local trail with your family. Make sure to pick up a guide so you can learn more about the flora and fauna of the area or even its history. Whether you do this as a fall outdoor activity to check out the changing leaves or enjoy this in the middle of summer, it’s a great option.
- Visit local outdoor attractions. Start that search engine and see what kid-friendly activities are in your area. This could include mini theme parks, learning centers, and more.
- Find a new park or playground. Heading to the park is a great option-year round. Build snowmen for a winter outdoor activity. Collect pretty leaves for a fall outdoor activity. Or just bring along a picnic.
- Let them be the leader. Have the child lead you around the neighborhood for a walk. Build agency and let them tell you when to turn. You can make arrow signs together too.
- Backyard camping. Another multi-season outdoor activity, you can teach the little one about camping before they go on a longer trip with their parents. Pitch a tent and make some s’mores before storytime in sleeping bags.
For The Budding Artist
The best part of arts and crafts outdoors is you can get a whole lot messier. And there’s less cleanup! Unleash their creativity with a bigger canvas with these DIY outdoor activities.
- Make art on the sidewalk. Use washable paint or chalk. Let their imagination run free. It’s also a great way to teach colors.
- Clay imprints. Using saltwater dough or playdough, have the child make impressions of what they find outdoors. Or of their favorite toys.
- Spray art. Load up some mini spray bottles with liquid paint or food coloring. Set up an easel outside and see what they make.
- Mud bricks and pies. Wet earth can be dried into all sorts of shapes. You can build a little mud house or village together. This is a great option for sensory play. An awesomely messy and free toddler activity!
- Paint with water. All you need is a bucket of water and a paintbrush. Let your kid see how different things look once they are wet. An easy DIY outdoor activity.
- Boat races. A great DIY outdoor activity is building (and decorating) a boat out of whatever supplies you have on hand and racing them in a kiddie pool.
For The Animal Lover or Tree Hugger
Getting closer to nature can encourage a child to be more green and more invested in preserving the animal kingdom. Foster that love of the natural world with these activities.
- Gardening. Help them learn about the growing cycle for plants from seed to harvest. You can plant flowers, produce, or trees and shrubs.
- Track animals. This is a good activity to combine with a hike. Visit your local nature center. They often have pamphlets with local animal information and see if the child can spot their tracks. They are closer to the ground after all!
- Nature rubbings. With some charcoal and thick paper, the kid can explore the area and do rubbings of tree bark, stones, and more.
- Frozen animal toy bin. This is a great summer outdoor activity. Freeze a mix of animal figurines in a bin and then set the child outside. If it’s a hot day, this may go faster. If not, give them a child-safe hammer or shovel so they can free the frozen creatures.
- Visit a petting zoo. Let the little one feed some of the animals. They can practice animal sounds on the way there and back too!
- Visit your local zoo. Not sure the child is ready to be loose among animals? Visit a zoo and they can learn more about animals behind a safety barrier.
With these activities in your child care toolbelt, you won’t run out of options all year long. If you’re ready to meet your next family, Sittercity is ready to connect you.