Fun in the Sun!

Fun in the Sun!

The weather is warming and, after a full pandemic year, we’re betting you and your tot are ready for some outdoor play! Thanks to a natural curiosity about the world around them, it doesn’t take much to engage toddlers outdoors. Here are a few of our favorite low-budget, easy activities to try the next time you head outside.

Sensory Bins

Want to get some fresh air, but not ready to tackle the beach or park? Your backyard or patio is the perfect place for outdoor play with a sensory bin. To bring the great outdoors to your front steps, simply fill a large, shallow bin with sand, rice, flaxseed or pea gravel. Add an assortment of fun containers and kid-safe utensils for mixing, digging, and pouring. Extra additions can include small animal or character figurines to uncover, toy cars for making tracks, water beads, and more. Sand-based sensory bins can easily be switched up to provide a space for water and ice play on hot days, or a mud kitchen when you’re feeling up to a bit of a mess!

Animal Tracks

We love animal figurines for open-ended, imaginative outdoor play. Add a ball of playdough to the mix and you’ve got another great use for your collection! Let your toddler flatten the dough, and create prints with various animal feet. Talk about the science of tracking and how animals leave behind footprints in nature, too. Walk around your local park or hiking trails to see if you can find any real-life animal tracks to investigate!

Outdoor Story Time

Your favorite nature-themed books will take on a whole new meaning outside! After some good run-around time to get the wiggles out, break out your picnic blanket, a snack, and a few favorite books. You might be amazed at how your toddler’s attention shifts with the change of storytime scenery. For older toddlers and preschoolers, a blank book and set of markers are the perfect ingredients for your kiddo’s first nature journal; just draw what you see!


Don’t forget about the magic of bubble play! Whether it’s an added squirt of dish soap at your water play station or giant bubbles from a DIY recipe, experimenting with bubbles makes for cheap and easy outdoor play at its finest!

Active games

Either with friends or without, movement-based games are a great way to burn off extra energy. Keep it simple; Simon Says, Red Light Green Light and Follow the Leader are fun and easy-to-understand games that toddlers and preschoolers can learn easily. A small ball is perfect for kicking, throwing and passing between parent and child. Up for an extra challenge? Create an obstacle course with items like outdoor chairs, hula hoops, jump ropes, beanbags and other items you’ve already got on hand. This sort of active play strengthens muscles, assists with gross motor development, hand-eye coordination and overall health.

Bug Collecting & Nature Investigation

A small jar makes a great (temporary) vessel for up-close viewing of the weird & wiggly creatures that make their homes outdoors. Look under rocks around the base of plants where insects can often be found. Child-safe tweezers or Q-tips can be used to get in closer contact with bugs if your little one is especially squeamish; a magnifying glass provides an extra-close view and comes in handy for checking out flowers, leaves, and even your own fingerprints! Got a birdwatcher? A pair of child-sized binoculars will help take this interest to the next level.
Enjoy the warm weather and have fun in the great outdoors!
Do you have an activity your toddler loves to do outside? Share it with us on Instagram! Be sure to tag #toycycle in your post.
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