21 Outdoor Play Ideas for Toddlers and Babies
Updated: Sep 3
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I'm always looking for new ideas for the kids to do outside. Currently, my son is three and a half and my daughter is almost one! Here are some of our favorite things to play and do outside! What are some of yours? Share in the comments!
1. Paint with “chalk”- we had a lot of fun in the kitchen mixing up these chalk paints. All you need is corn starch, water, food coloring, a muffin tin, and some brushes! I used 1 cup of corn starch with one cup of water, mixed it up, put them in the muffin tin, then put the food coloring in.
2. Create a play area on your patio or deck with a big tarp for a crawling baby. I didn’t want my daughter to be crawling on the dirty patio or hurting her knees when she crawled around but want her to be able to enjoy the great outdoors. I talk about a bunch of the items pictured next in the list!
3. Bring the cars outside – I put out my son’s ramp and put some duct tape over the electronic speaker to make it waterproof. He had an obsession with car washes for a while, so I brought out his ramp and cars with some brushes and sponges to wash them. He loves car washes so much we have this one too. I didn't think the wood would do well in the water but it could be ok dry outside.
4. Put water and ice in a container for sensory play – I purchased this game for matching but my 11-month-old enjoyed putting her hands in the cold water to find them.
5. Make your baby walker waterproof – I just removed the toy from the front of this for her to use on the patio. If it gets wet or rained on, no problem!
6. Freeze toys in ice cube trays – I also froze some of the toys from #4 in ice to play with. It's fun to talk about melting, temperatures, the different forms of water, and how to get the toys out!
7. Water table – My daughter is standing now and likes to stick her hands in the water. My son loves taking cups and dumping the water through the holes in the top. But his favorite thing is to put water balloons in it! We have this one, but if I had to go back I'd totally get this one instead!
8. Water balloons – These fill up so fast and easy. No more tying them or filling them on a faucet. It takes all of 30 seconds to have like 100 water balloons 🤯
9. Add a slide to your splash pad or baby pool – this slide gets moved all over our house and makes it way outside because it can be added to water play! The splash pad we’ve had for a few years since my son was little and now my daughter loves to sit in it too. My son likes to slide into it.
10. Spray bottles – My son is obsessed with walking around spraying things. Maybe it’s because I tell him not to spray me, he always wants it. He will spend a lot of time spraying different plants, flowers, and bugs outside to see their reactions. It's fun to spray the windows too.
11. Get a good old-fashioned sprinkler to run through.
13. Slip and slides – At the beginning of the summer I bought a huge slip and slide then I couldn’t find the water balloons my son loved (they were sold out everywhere!), so I ended up buying a smaller one that came with some balloons.
15. Go on a bike ride – We got this awesome trailer because it fits two kids. My son likes to go on a bike ride with dad when his sister is napping too. Pre-pandemic we loved to ride to the farmer’s market. It comes with a wheel for the front that turns it into a stroller too so walking around the market is a breeze!
16. Nature walk activity – My son loves collecting flowers, acorns, pine cones, rocks and other items outside in a bucket. Sometimes we take along gardening tools and he picks at dirt by the park or plays with mulch. When we get home, we take an egg yolk and add food coloring to make paint and then glue the items down.
17. Sand and water table with umbrella – We put sand on one side and water on the other, I like this one because it has a little umbrella.
18. Play on a rainy day – Before the pandemic my son attended a Montessori school and they always said, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” so we bought this rain suit. We can go on walks and I don’t have to worry about him getting dirty from jumping in puddles.
19. Swing in the back yard – We have a few swings for the kids. One for baby, one he can use alone, and one they can use together. I bought these straps and this to make the swing swivel. This one is our favorite right now because the mesh means they can swing together:
20. Change up your walk with a...
Push car – there’s something fun about pretending to ride in a car. My son still tries to get us to push him in this even though he’s too big for it.
Stroller for two – I am OBSESSED with this stroller that is perfect for a toddler and baby. He can sit on the bench or stand in the back. She can sit in the front with snacks. I also have the old fashioned bassinet for it when she was a little baby.
Trike for two – This trike rocks. It has all the bells and whistles. I knew one day I’d have two kids so it’s awesome that he can stand in the back, or walk himself, and she can be sitting in the front with shade.
Scooter – My son is three and a half and is just starting to get into his scooter. I love that the wheels light up! It comes with stickers so you can personalize it so I put our last name on the side. I picked red because I feel like it’s gender-neutral so when she gets older she can use it too! I got a matching helmet that came with elbow and knee pads.
21. Drive to a new park -We’ve been to the three parks near our house about 239,842,039,482,034 times. When we drive around, now we look for new parks. If we like them enough and keep returning we give them nicknames. Some of our favorites are the "zipline park", the "busy road park", and the “school park” Whenever I go I like to consider what goes into the ideal park:
Will there be shade during that time of the day? Will there be a bench for me to sit on haha?! Does the park have a fence so I can rest on said bench and worry less about my kid running off? My son would ask if there are swings? Bonus if there’s both a baby swing and regular swing, or the big plastic seat swings. Is there mulch or that bouncy rubber flat material? Is the mulch rubber or wood? I love the bouncy rubber material but the mulch is great to bring a dump truck along to. Is there a smaller area for babies/ smaller kids?
What are some of your favorite things to do outside?!