By Guest Blogger Katie Kaley, author of the blog Words from a Mama

With summer already well underway, you may have already exhausted your list of things to do with your toddler to keep them entertained during the summer. Yes, you have beach trips and full day outings planned, but what are you going to do with all the remaining time at home? Having them home with you day in and day out is great for making memories and having family fun, but it’s also sometimes tedious and often exhausting. Never fear, as today I am sharing some fun outdoor activities to tryout with your toddler that are sure to delight and to leave them ready for an afternoon nap. Some of these activities require supplies, but none of these are super expensive. Many of these items can even be found at your local dollar store (or it could provide you with another excuse to get out and go shopping).

  • Painting with Water on Wood: If you have a wooden deck or fence, this is super simple to pull together and mess free since you are using water and not real paint. Give your toddler a bucket with water and a brush and let them go to town “painting”.
  • Gardening/Digging: There is no combination more tried and true than toddlers and dirt. Let them get a little dirty and do some digging in flower beds or a non-grass covered corner of the yard. More and more studies are showing how important it is for children to engage in non-structured play and to get a little dirty! Plus, maybe you can actually get some of those flowers planted that you have been meaning to get to.
  • Drawing with Sidewalk Chalk: My child could draw with chalk for hours on end, but you can also do many other things with sidewalk chalk other than simply coloring on the sidewalk. You can make a hopscotch path, you can draw lines for a game of long jump, you can make roads for matchbox cars to drive on, or you can even get educational by making a color or shape jumping game. You can also let your toddler wash away whatever they draw with a hose….that part is just as much fun!
  • Playing in Water/Sand Table: This one requires a small investment, but it is so well worth it. We use our water and sand table nearly every day in the summer. You can also throw in additional toys to use with the table provide additional entertainment – pool or bath toys are great, but so are kitchen accessories (like ladles, spoons and pots) and blocks. You can also turn it into a sensory table and add things like ice, beans, flour, rice or let them mix colors into the water. The possibilities are endless!
  • Make a Scavenger Hunt: Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? You can either hide things in your yard for your toddler to hunt for with a list or you can make up a nature list (think worms, butterflies, flowers, etc.) to look for while going on a walk. Do it once and your kids will be begging to do it again and again.

Now go outside and get playing! You’ll make some lifelong memories to treasure and maybe get enough of your little one’s energy out that they’ll fall right asleep for that afternoon nap.

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