Image of 3 toddlers sitting on the grass reading books with a blackboard behind them and the text, outdoor activities for toddlers.

20+ Easy & Fun Outdoor Activities for Toddlers

As a mom of two lively little ones, I know how much outdoor play is needed to use up that endless energy! But outdoor activities are about so much more than just using up energy and getting your toddler out of the house. Being outside in nature is so good for your toddlers health and social skills, and as you read through my list of Fun Outdoor Activities for Toddlers, I hope you’ll notice all the benefits they include, beyond fresh air and exercise.

I have split my list into; social outdoor activities for toddlers, sensory activities, nature activities, and Gross Motor Skills activities. Almost all of the fun, outdoor activities for your toddler that I mention are FREE too, always a bonus!

Pin text reads, Easy and Free Toddler outdoor activities 20+ fun and frugal ideas! Image of a toddler smelling a flower and second image of a toddler with a ball.

These Free Outdoor Toddler Activities will offer:

  • Opportunities to explore their senses
  • To improve their vocabulary and speech
  • To learn about the Seasons & the Weather
  • Practice Road Safety Skills
  • Opportunities to practice social skills
  • Opportunities for creativity and imagination
  • Connecting with nature and learning how to care for it
  • Opportunities to improve Fine and Gross Motor Skills
  • And of course, Fresh air and Exercise

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Pin text reads, 20+ budget-friendly outdoor toddler learning activities and an image of a toddler on a balance bike as an example of activities for toddlers.

Gross Motor Skills Outdoor Activities for Toddlers (Balance & Coordination)

Opportunities to practice balance and coordination are so important for our wobbly little toddlers! These fun activities are mostly free, allowing you to get outside with your toddler practicing their gross motor skills, like balance and coordination in any weather!

Muddy Puddle Jumping

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best! Most kids will absolutely love the freedom of jumping in muddy puddles. To be honest I rather enjoy joining my kids with this one!

This is a great activity for where we live in the north of Scotland, as it allows us to get out and have fun all year round! Simply pull on those waterproof suits and wellie boots (if you don’t have any, these from Amazon are great) and get splashing. It’s amazing the distance my kids will walk when they are going from puddle to puddle!

Obstacle Course

An obstacle course is a fun, free, outdoor activity to set up for your toddler, and you can change it up each time to keep it interesting for them. I use things like a hoop for them to put over their head and step through, a ball to kick at a target, things to jump or step over, things to run around. If you don’t have cones or beanbags to use for markers, use rocks, jumpers, teddies, or buckets. Anything you have works.

Balance Bikes

A balance bike, like this John Deere Balance Bike, from Amazon, is a brilliant way to get your toddler practicing their balance skills and learning to ride a bike faster. If you’re on a tight budget, take a look at local selling groups as these often come up for sale second hand and still in good condition.

My kids loved zooming up and down the road on their balance bikes, and were begging us to take them on a walk every evening through the summer so they could practice on their new bike! Once your toddler is confident on their balance bike, they can move onto their pedal bike far more easily, often without the need for stabilizers (training wheels) at all.

Treasure Hunts

As a mom who’s always looking for fun outdoor activities for toddlers, I’ve found that treasure hunts are a huge hit! Not only are they free toddler activities, but they also spark the imagination and offer a chance to practice colors, shapes, and numbers as they get older.

Here’s how I do it: I hide little treasures around our backyard, each with a tiny clue leading to the next. It’s a fantastic way to get my little one moving, thinking, and exploring outdoors. While this makes a great party activity, it can also be done just with you and your toddler on a random morning when you have nothing else on. I love the versatility of it!

Ball Games

Gross Motor Skills like learning to catch, throw, and kick a ball are important for toddlers to learn ready for starting school where there will be more team-based sports. Practice passing to one another, or shooting at a target, or throwing through a low hoop to keep it interesting. I’ve found games like skittles and bowling are also good fun at this age.

Toddler Activities for Snowy Weather

There are so many fun and free activities your toddler can do outside when it’s snowy.

  • Making Snowmen
  • Making Snow Sandcastles with their bucket and spade
  • Snowball fights
  • Making Snow Angels
  • Jumping in the Snow and Following a footprint trail
  • Building an igloo
  • Sledging

Pin text reads, 22 low prep outdoor toddler learning activities. Image is a toddler playing in the mud with various colored spades.

Outdoor Nature Activities for Toddlers

Bugs Bugs Bugs!

Go on a Creepy Crawlies Hunt around your local park, or even in your back yard and see what you can find. Consider making a simple bug hotel, like the one I make in this Summer Activities post, to attract more bugs to your garden.

A Gruffalo Walk!

This is a great way to introduce new vocabulary and encourage speech. We have done this one a few ways. Sometimes we go on a Gruffalo hunt, trying to find the Gruffalo, other times we recite bits of the book whilst pretending to be the Gruffalo, and sometimes we try to find things in the forest that match the description of the Gruffalo.

If you and your Toddler haven’t yet read The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson, you can grab it here from Amazon.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Why not go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt with your Toddler, and help them spot all the different things in a Forest, Park, or Beach. I have a Free Spring Nature Hunt Printable you can use if you fancy, or you can make your own. I use pictures, rather than words in my list so my little ones can be more independent.

Gardening

This is a great age to get your little involved in gardening if you yourself are an avid gardener. They are so keen to learn and ‘help’. If, like me, you’re not particularly green-fingered you can still have fun with your toddler planting daffodil bulbs or sunflower seeds in a pot and watching them grow together.

Beach Trip

If you’re lucky enough to live close to a beach there are lots of fun activities you can do. If you don’t, you can still have a beach day in your backyard by dragging out the sandpit, a padding pool, and a picnic rug and using your imaginations!

Our favourite beach activities are:

  • Digging for Pirate Treasure
  • Building Sandcastles
  • Splashing in the Waves
  • Hunting for Pretty Shells
  • Looking for Crabs
  • Drawing in the Sand with a stick or the end of our spade.

Bird Watching

Bird Watching and Spotting is great fun for toddlers, and you can make it more educational by discussing what color and size the birds are, what noises they make, what they eat, and counting how many you can see. Don’t worry if your little one can’t sit quietly, they can learn lots from spotting seagulls, crows and starlings too!

If you want to attract more birds to your garden, you could make a simple bird feeder together too.

Pin text reads, nice and easy outdoor activities for toddlers 20+ budget friendly toddler outdoor activities to try today. Image of a toddler enjoying water play in the backyard.

Creative & Sensory Toddler Activities

Water Play Ideas for Toddlers

You know, those fun toddler activities that are simple, yet your little one never gets tired of? Well this is one of those!

Whether it’s filling up a small inflatable pool or simply turning on the sprinklers, the benefits of these sensory toddler activities are truly immeasurable. Not only do they keep toddlers cool during those warm sunny days, but they also offer a fantastic sensory experience that promotes physical coordination and exploration.

The best part? These water wonders are super easy to set up and often free. Got a hose? You’re in for hours of entertainment. A bucket and some cups can transform your backyard into a mini water park. These free toddler activities encourage experimentation with water flow and volume, all under the guise of tremendous fun. So, grab that swimsuit and let’s make a splash!

I share more Outdoor, Sensory, Water Play Activities for your Toddler in this post.

Sensory Toddler Activities in the Mud

Activities such as sculpting mud pies, drawing shapes with sticks in the mud, or even just the simple joy of feeling the mud squeeze through their fingers, provide a rich sensory experience. This kind of fun toddler activity doesn’t just keep them entertained; it sparks their curiosity, develops motor skills, and introduces them to a new range of textures and temperatures.

Trust me, as much as toddlers love these activities, the benefits of sensory play in their early development are profound, making every muddy shirt totally worth it.

You can find lots of other FREE Outdoor Activities for toddlers in this post I wrote about Loose Parts Garden Play.

Mud Kitchen Ideas

A Mud Kitchen, like this one from Amazon, provides hours and hours of entertainment, and opportunities for creativity and imagination for your toddler. What I love even more about them, is that they aren’t just a toddler toy. Whilst your toddler will adore playing with their mud kitchen, they will most likely still enjoy playing with this when they are 4,5,6 or even 7 years old!

You truly get your moneys worth with this one! It’s honestly one of my absolute favorite outdoor activities for toddlers and older kids!

To get their imaginations going, its fun to add some Mud Kitchen Accessories. If you’re short on ideas or fancy some budget-options, most of the ideas in this post are completely FREE!

Chalk on the Side Walk

As a mom who’s constantly on the lookout for fun outdoor toddler activities that don’t break the bank, I’ve found that something as simple as sidewalk chalk can be an absolute treasure trove of entertainment.

You can engage your toddler in drawing games, where each of you takes turns doodling or you can challenge them to draw certain shapes, animals, or even their favorite storybook characters. It’s a wonderful opportunity to introduce them to new vocabulary and concepts in a delightful and engaging way. If you don’t have any yet, you can grab this Value Pack of Washable Sidewalk Chalk, from Amazon, and you’ll be sorted for a while!

Make a Music Wall

Making music is such fun and what better place for our little ones to practice their, often loud, musical skills than the great outdoors! Having a Music Wall in your backyard makes for some great sensory toddler activities as they experiment!

Music walls can be made easily and cheaply, by simply securing old plastic musical instruments, pots, pans, trays, windchimes, etc to your fence or to a board or pallet. Then add a few wooden spoons and metal spoons that they can use to play their instruments with, and you’re done! Sometimes the simplest things are the best!

Sensory Toddler Activities: Blowing Bubbles

Speaking of simple ideas, Blowing and Popping Bubbles is a timeless classic kids activity and a great one to introduce in the toddler years. It has the added benefit that it can be done anywhere, doesn’t need any preparation, and is super cheap. I used to carry a small bottle of bubbles with me wherever I went, just in-case! When my kids were toddlers, it was one of our favourite outdoor activities to do while waiting in queues on vacation.

Natural Art

Get creative and encourage your toddler to make art outside with sticks, stones, mud, flowers, leaves and anything else you find. Sticks can be used to make a photo frame for their artwork, and anything they are particularly proud of can be photographed for the family album!

Sensory Bin / Sensory Table Ideas for the Garden

Personally I absolutely love a bit of Sensory Play in the backyard and my kids do too, so I shall link to a few of our favourite ideas.

  • Messy Farm Play – This post shares 5 ideas of fun small world farm play set ups. They use inexpensive things that most parents will have lying around at home.
  • Sensory Writing Practice – Although our Toddlers are not yet at the stage of learning to write, they can practice their prewriting skills with these sensory toddler activities. They’re great for encouraging them to make marks in fun ways.

Pin text reads, 20+ super easy outdoor toddler learning activities. Image is a toddler playing in the sand pit with various colored spades and buckets.

Social Activities for Toddlers Outdoors

A Teddy Bears Picnic with Friends

A mini picnic adventure is a clever way to practice the concept of sharing and cooperation. They learn to pass around snacks and share the space on the picnic blanket with friends and teddies! Social language is practiced as they chat and discuss what they are eating and what they see around them.

A Trip to the Playpark

This is one of the easiest social outdoor activities for your toddler as you don’t even have to arrange a playdate, and it’s free! You just turn up and soon enough your little one has found someone to play with.

Hide and Seek Games

Hide and Seek is great for learning to follow basic rules and taking turns, all skills needed as your toddler learns to become more social. You can play this game with friends or with family members. To begin with your toddler will probably need to be partnered up with someone to help them.

Look out for Local Groups Offering Buggy Walks / Toddles

These are great for getting to know other Moms with similar aged kids who you can then meet up with later for playdates. It’s also a great opportunity to show your toddler how social going on a walk can be when you do it as part of a group.

Playing Chase

Chase is another great game for learning basic rules and turn-taking. It’s also great exercise, take it from someone who spent years chasing an energetic toddler around playparks! It’s a fab activity for groups, and anyone and everyone can join in so it’s quite inclusive. I lost count of how many times, when playing chase with my son, other kids have asked to join in.

Outdoor Toddler Activities

I hope you have found this list of fun outdoor toddler activities helpful. Raising kids is not cheap, so I have purposefully chosen outdoor activities that are mostly free for your toddler. Hopefully this will help take some of the pressure off.

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