5 outdoor activities for toddlers this Spring

Play is the most important way for children to learn about themselves and the world around them.

It’s the foundation of child development in terms of self-confidence, coordination, creativity, language, emotional regulation, intellectual reasoning, social skills, physical development…and so much more!

As it’s Spring here in Australia, we wanted to give you a collection of our favourite activities you can do with your toddler that are not only fun but promote their development.

Spring is a beautiful time of year. It’s also very exciting for curious little ones. The birds are singing, the sun is shining again, the days are getting longer, and the flowers are blooming.

Depending on where you’re located, though, this season can be very changeable with blue skies one day, and showers and rainbows the next. We’ve got you fully covered, so head to 5 indoor activities for toddlers this Spring if it’s the latter.

Learning through play: 10 activities for toddlers this Spring

Toddlers learn through play, but this definitely isn’t the aim – play should be enjoyable, voluntary, spontaneous, and without set goals. Of course, as with all outdoor play, the best outcome is fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. We have also listed the learning benefits of each activity just so you know how much your child is getting out of it in terms of development.

1. Nature treasure hunt

Go on a walk together, allowing your toddler time to wander, explore, and pick up little nature treasures along the way. You could:

  • Give them a little bucket or bag and collect sticks, stones, dandelions, buttercups, and any flowers that have fallen to the ground.
  • Go to a park and let them dig in the dirt or squish the mud between their fingers. It’s not only a wonderful sensory experience, but it helps to build their natural immunity.
  • Listen to birds, watch ducks in the pond, or stop and watch the bees buzzing around the lavender.

Learning benefits: Helps to enhance sensory development, keeps children regulated, teaches a respect for the environment, promotes independence, and provides an opportunity for physical activity.

2. Host an outdoor tea party

Gather the picnic blanket, the tea set, some real or pretend food, a selection of their dolls or teddies, and set up a tea party in the garden or the park amongst the flowers and fresh green grass. You could invite a little friend or two as well. Add in some dress-ups, and you’ve got the perfect setting for some lovely, imaginary play.

Learning benefits: Helps children make sense of the adult world, encourages imagination, boosts social development, and dressing up gives them practice with independent dressing. It also increases their sense of self, and self-esteem.

3. Make mud pies

For adults, mud means mess, but for toddlers, it’s a glorious medium with endless possibilities and fun. If you don’t have a mud kitchen, you could take some old baking trays, bowls, and pans (or buy second-hand, or ask in freebie groups for some) outdoors, and make some mud pies. Decorate them using wildflowers, weeds, stones, leaves, and sticks. You could also do this with sand instead (head to a beach if you’re near one).

Learning benefits: Encourages creativity, imagination, independent learning, teamwork, and engages all the senses.

4. Puddle jumping

Jumping in puddles is a rite of passage for children, and it shouldn’t be discouraged – say yes to puddles! After (or during) the rain, dress them in their boots, old clothes, and raincoats, and go puddle hunting. Throw a towel and a change of clothes in your bag. Then, let them get as wet and muddy as they please. Jump in with them too, have some magical fun together, and make memories!

Learning benefits: Develops strength, agility, and balance in their legs. Water play in any form teaches them about the natural world, introduces science to them, and helps develop problem-solving skills and creativity.

Make Spring sensory soup

Go on a nature treasure hunt together in your neighbourhood, or head out into your own garden to collect various flowers, weeds, leaves, and grasses. Then, fill up a large tub with water, and your little one can add their Spring nature finds to make a huge ‘soup’. For added fun, add in some ladles, slotted spoons, wooden spoons, cups, and strainers. Invite them to stir the soup and spoon it into bowls for some added imaginary play.

Learning benefits: Provides vast sensory input (the smell of the flowers, seeing the colours, and the feel of the ‘ingredients’ when dry and wet), and it enhances their gross and fine motor skills, and coordination through lifting, pouring, stirring, scooping, and splashing.

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