Try These Low-Prep Activities for Busy Parents
With summer around the corner, it’s time to think about all things outdoors! Getting outdoors with your toddler is so beneficial for their development and physical health. It’s also a great way to let them get out some of the seemingly endless energy they always have.
Whether you live in the country with tons of space to roam or in an apartment in the city, you can create meaningful outdoor experiences with your children. And the best part is, the activities listed here require little to no prep work for you!
Outdoor Activity #1: Simple Picnic
You don’t need a fancy basket or a special meal to have a picnic. Simply grab the paper plates and the food you already had planned and serve lunch outdoors! Old towels can double as picnic blankets that can be easily thrown into the laundry. If moving a whole meal outside won’t work for your family, simplify even further by having an outdoor snack instead.
Outdoor Activity #2: Sprinkler Fun
Sprinklers, water hoses, water tables… on a warm day, and any kind of water play can provide lots of easy and engaging fun for toddlers! There’s no need to get fancy if you don’t have the space for sprinklers. Simply grab a bucket of water and a few cups or bath toys and head outside to cool off with your little one.
Outdoor Activity #3: Bubble Blowing
Bubbles never go out of style. Big ones and little ones. Store-bought or homemade with dish soap. Cranky days can often be turned around for toddlers with a little bit of novelty, and bubbles are an easy way to make it happen.
Outdoor Activity #4: Sidewalk Chalk Art
If you have a little artist or two, make sure to have some sidewalk chalk on hand. Driveways and sidewalks make an exciting canvas for creative toddlers, and you’ll enjoy letting them flex their skills without worrying about having to repaint walls or have your furniture professionally cleaned.
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Outdoor Activity #5: Puddle Stomping
Rainy days don’t have to mean being stuck indoors. Grab your rain boots and umbrellas and head out for a little puddle stomping! It might be a good idea to bring some extra clothing with you if you’re not close to home. Toddlers have a talent for getting their socks wet even with the best protective gear.
Outdoor Activity #6: Nature Walk
While your child might not be ready for a full biology lesson yet, learning about nature can start early. The next time you are out for a walk, point out the different animals and plants along the way. Take your time and talk about the things your child is interested in. You might be surprised by what they notice.
Outdoor Activity #7: Play Ball
Not a lot of time or space to play? Grab a ball or two and practice different ways of playing. Throwing, kicking, bouncing, and rolling a ball might not seem all that exciting for you as a parent, but each of these different games contributes to your little one’s growing skills and abilities.
Outdoor Activity #8: Flower Collecting
Toddlers who are learning to categorize things or sort colors might enjoy collecting flowers or other objects found in nature. Making piles of different colored flowers, rocks, or leaves can be a fun way to pass the time and direct some of that abundant toddler energy.
Outdoor Activity #9: Take a Ride
Tricycles, balance bikes, scooters, wagons… grab your child’s preferred set of wheels and get moving! A walk around the block can be a fun adventure for a child who is just learning to pedal a tricycle or stride with a balance bike. Just remember the helmets and other protective gear and don’t expect to get anywhere too quickly at first.
Outdoor Activity #10: Follow the Leader
Of course, the “leader” is usually going to be your toddler here. If you have some time and no particular place to be, why not let your child decide where you’ll go next? Getting to decide which way to turn or if you cross the street are not decisions that toddlers often get the chance to make. Who knows? You might even find a new favorite walk you can take again.
Outdoor Activity #11: Wash the Car
It might seem like a chore when you’re a grown-up, but there’s not much better than playing with sponges and soapy water when you’re little! While they may not contribute much to the actual washing, this is an easy and fun chore to include your children in. Young toddlers often love to help, so why not use the time outside to work together and have fun at the same time?
Looking for more low-prep activities you can try with your toddler? Click here to access the Discerning Parenting Toolkit. You’ll love the simple ideas included, and your toddler will love the chance to engage in new activities with you!