Outside summer toddler fun

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Finding ways to keep a toddler entertained is a constant battle. If you are caught up in the throes of two-year-old-palooza, you know what I’m talking about. The attention span is maybe two-minutes, once something has been explored it’s not exciting anymore, and anytime you are in one place, over there is better.

I’m tired.

And, I know my tot is a bit frustrated and overwhelmed with it all, too. She’s starting to talk more, but there are times she’s still not able to get things out, which then causes more of a meltdown and the occasional on-the-ground-fist-and-leg-pumping extra dramatic stuff. I’ve been putting a lot of time into making our outdoor area more exciting because during the summer, things sure get hot in the house. The problem is, everything we try isn’t keeping the babe interested.

I made a teepee (really, I did), picked up cute pool toys, and allowed the tot to do some gardening, making our yard look like a cross between a garage sale and a really messy room.


After finding some fun ideas on how to put a spin on getting outdoors with the kiddies, I figured we could adjust them to be more appropriate for the wee tot – and get us adults off our keisters, too.

Here’s what we came up with:

Water balloon toss: Turn the pool into a water balloon target! Your tot can explore her gross motor skills as well as get everyone wet in the process. Just fill a few small balloons with water and then place your little toddler pool in a spot on your lawn. You can fill the pool, or leave it empty; either way is still exciting and fun. Now see how far your child can stand from the pool and successfully land a water balloon in the pool!

Flower walk: The younger set aren’t ready to delicately look at or carefully investigate anything. But, going on a flower walk is a great way to explore the yard – or neighborhood, and gather something she can later tear apart, scrutinize, or organize by color or shape. The one rule is she can only pick a single flower from each plant she finds interesting. Along with learning more about plants, she’s figuring out how to listen and follow simple directions.

Marking with chalk: Get out the sidewalk chalk and invite your child to see what things she can make marks on. Will sidewalk chalk write on trees, plant leaves, or the fence? What’s great about exploring with sidewalk chalk is that it washes off – there’s no staining, scrubbing, or long-term damage from your child going to town with those chalks! Our daughter loves using her adorable little bucket of sidewalk chalk to draw all over the pavers in our yard.

What are your family’s favorite things to do outdoors? Do share!


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