Amazing Outdoor Summer Activities For Toddlers (easy & cheap!)
Keep your days simple and rock these outdoor summer activities for toddlers! These summer activity ideas require little to no planning and are cost-effective. Keep your pre-schooler and toddlers entertained screen-free by playing outside with simple games and challenges.
This time last year, the weather was gorgeous, but I was rounding in on the third trimester and pregnant with my second.
The plus side is clothing options are awesome when it comes to summer pregnancies (learn how to beat the summer heat pregnant!). The downside though was having a toddler who wanted to play play play and a very tired mama bear.
Why You’ll Love These Outdoor Summer Activities For Toddlers
While each of these summer activities has it’s merits, the reason you’ll love them is that:
- there’s zero planning (gathering items for special crafts really isn’t my thing)
- they’re cost-effective
- they keep kiddos moving for the most part (no sit-down activities here!)
- the activities are simple but work for both pre-schoolers as well as older toddlers (my almost six-year-old is still rocking these!)
Okay, I totally had to put this on the list because we spent two days per week at a splash pad last year! Not only are they mega fun for kids of any age, but it was also awesome for my preggo butt!
I got to walk around being splashed by cool water for a couple of hours while Baby Bear laughed and played. It was golden.
Seriously, go to splash pads.
Anything water-related in the summer is necessary. And while there are definitely fancy water tables you can buy (our friends have the one below and we love playing at their house!), we didn’t even go that far.
Instead of an actual table, I just set Baby Bear up with some buckets, cups, and basters. She went to town and was entertained for about an hour.
Given, I had to refill the bucks like four times but still. I could also rant about all the things she learned, but really.. water is fun. If you need ideas on how to make water tables more of an activity and less of “here go play” check out these awesome sensory activities, that are all water-based!
Ice Cube Sorting
This is a fun game but takes a bit of prep. Make a bunch of colored ice cubes. I didn’t have food coloring, so I added food to mine. Hell, freezing items in your house (marbles, different shells of pasta, nuts etc) works too.
Once you have 4-5 cubes of each color, fill a bucket with super cold water. Add in the ice cubes and have your toddler sort them by color into small containers.
It’s a wonderful way to learn color, motor skills and to stay cool.
Again, many of our friends have sandboxes they can cover. We don’t, and I wasn’t going to buy one. Instead, we grabbed an old camping tarp, dumped sand onto it, and played in that,
We build sandcastles, dug for treasure, and generally had a great time. Come clean up time, we just shoveled the sand back into a garbage bucket for the next day. You could easily make games out of this by burying “treasure” for your little one to find or counting how many buckets of sand you can fill.
Outdoor Summer Activities For Toddlers: Gardening
Last year was the year that my little one became obsessed with gardening! Every morning we watered the garden together. She helped me pick weeds and she became OBSESSED with eating raw mint off the plant.
You can garden as if it’s an actual project or just fill planters with dirt and have your toddler collect things to “plant”. Trust me, playing in dirt has a ton of benefits!
Bust out your grade-school memory and rock some hopscotch! An old-school, outdoor summer activity perfect for kids of all ages. You can use the original hopscotch template or get creative the older your kids get by using alphabets, shapes, and directions.
Yes, this sounds selfish. But both my girls are used to being in the studio with me and love it. The difference is that in the summer, we bring some of our workouts outside!
Sometimes I set up our TRX straps outside so we can pull and swing. Other times we race on hills, jump, and generally stay moving. Here are some wicked outdoor workouts you can rock and simply have your kiddos tag along.
Likewise, find a hill and run up and down it with the kids seeing who can go the fastest 😉
One of the great things about being outside is that cleanup is sooo much easier! Strip your toddler down, grab a tarp or an aisle and let them paint away. Hand/figure painting is so much easier when you can just spray down the mess with a hose.
Outdoor Summer Activities: Gather Nature & Make “Center Pieces”
In order to teach my toddler what things outside were, we spent time gathering our favorite leaves, sticks, rocks, and flowers. Once we chose our favorites, I’d get a big jar and put them all together to make centerpieces for the table.
It’s an easy activity but also a learning one- win. I’m also loving things like scavenger hunts for kids– so much fun and it can be a race!
Summer is the perfect time to get outside and explore some new trails! I like to bring along a wagon when I can for this as little legs get tired 😛
But it’s definitely fun to walk through a forest and talk about all the new things you see, hear, what you can touch and what you can’t. Our grand always makes a list of things to collect on walks and brings a big bucket.
Plus, hiking is the best time to make a bunch of healthy snacks to bring with you 😀 These roasted chickpeas are one of our favorites.
These are always a staple for us when I don’t know what to do in summer.
My daughter adores both so it’s easy. Plus, you can make games out of the bubbles (how many can you catch, who can blow the most etc) and you can easily rock some learning (like shapes) with the chalk.
Don’t forget to pin these Easy, Outdoor Summer Activities For Toddlers!
Summertime fun doesn’t have to be overly planned, cost a lot of money, or even make a lot of sense. Toddlers love to play, explore, and generally just be outside- so don’t over complicate it! Thus, if you’re not sure what to do in summer with a toddler, go back to basics; run, jump, laugh and play. They’ll love it, it’ll wear them out and truly, watching them take it all in is awesome.