Outdoor playtime is an important opportunity for young children to develop their motor skills, improve their physical fitness, boost their vitamin D, and build their self confidence – and that’s just a start! There’s a long list of benefits that outdoor playtime can offer our children, and plenty of ways to get your toddler involved:

The five senses

Spending time outdoors allows your child to get comfortable with the sights, sounds, smells and textures of the world around them. Whether it’s spending time on the grass, watching a rock splash in water, or touching wet sand, even the simplest things can be a new and enriching experience for toddlers.

Outdoor playtime also gives toddlers the opportunity to explore their spatial awareness and gross motor skills. They can run, jump, spin, kick, reach, climb, and so much more! While a few bumps and bruises may be inevitable, these setbacks offer a valuable opportunity to teach your little one about getting back up and trying again.

Play pretend

Toddlers love watching and learning, including copying what grown-ups do! Activities such as mowing the lawn might seem like boring tasks to us, but children love to use their imaginations and pretend they’re just like the grown-ups.

Roll a toy along the grass like a lawn mower, take a bucket and spade to do some ‘gardening’, or go for a ‘drive’ with these colourful ride on cars for kids. The sky’s the limit when it comes to engaging your child’s imagination in the great outdoors!

Find a short nature trail

Take your toddler on a short walk where they can step on some crunchy leaves, listen to the sound of insects or songbirds, and examine the interesting textures and shapes of plants. Kids’ minds are always ready to soak up new information, so taking a mini ‘hike’ can offer the joy of discovery and learning for your little one!

Visit your local playground

Young children are incredibly imaginative and can make a fun game out of just about anything – especially on a playground. Many parts of a playground are for the bigger kids though, so make sure to guide your toddler through the experience.

Visiting a playground can also be a chance for your toddler to meet other children. Together, kids can develop their social skills by practicing turn-taking, sharing, and cooperation. Encourage your toddler to put their thinking cap on and create new games to play with their friends!

Invest in play equipment

Investing in play equipment can allow your toddler the freedom to develop their physical and cognitive skills from the safety of their own backyard. Popular choices for this age group can include a balance bike, trampoline, or swing set.

Introducing play equipment to your toddler is an effective way to nurture their strength, stamina, and balance. Watch their self-confidence and independence grow as they swing, climb, jump, and slide!

At this young age, supervising your toddler and encouraging safe play is important, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Creating positive family experiences in the great outdoors will encourage your little one to stay active for years to come!

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