The long days and summer sunshine are a perfect time for toddlers to have fun outdoors. While many parents are concerned with the spread of COVID-19, there are a variety of useful outdoor activities that do not require group play and that allow parents and children to spend time together.
The simple joys of being outside
Outdoor activities are perfect to help children develop gross motor skills that include balance, coordination, and major muscle movements. Skipping, throwing the ball and climbing are examples.
Improving your toddler’s gross motor skills in fresh air outdoors can be as easy as taking a walk where the ground is a bit hilly and uneven. Help them have fun climbing on a gentle grassy slope. Even crossing a gravel driveway offers new opportunities for muscle coordination and balance.
Are you looking for simple activities that can be done near your home with practically no cost or preparation? Here are a few:
- Draw in the dirt or mud with a stick. Make shapes and talk about them.
- See how many different colors you can find while walking. Show the birds, the wind, the clouds and the trees. Talk about them
- Go on a scavenger hunt (think of “Easter egg hunt” with toys, balls, sweets or colorful objects).
- Play as if you were walking like a duck, jumping like a frog, or beating your arms to fly like a bird.
- Water feature! Use buckets or shovels to scoop and drain water or to transport it to different locations.
- Puddle jumping! Jump over the puddle into the puddle, stand on one foot in the puddle and stomp into the puddle.
Activities with simple supplies
It doesn’t take much to stimulate the youngest child’s imagination. With a few simple tools, you can lay the foundation for hours of joy from the outside.
Blow. Every child loves the website and the experience of creating bubbles. From galaxies with small bubbles to patiently creating the largest possible bubble, this is a simple and fun outdoor activity. One cup of detergent per gallon of water is all you need. Rods can be made from wire hangers, pipe cleaners, and even fly swatters. Adding a few tablespoons of glycerin from the pharmacy is the secret to big bubbles at dinner.
Sidewalk chalk. Colorful street chalk offers the possibility to draw, play with colors, write letters and create games such as hopscotch, alphabet hop and a chalk maze. A simple game in which a small toy or beanbag is thrown is called “Chalk Bullseye”. Simply draw concentric circles like a target and see how close the middle objects can be thrown.
Play sandbox. There is no wrong way to play in the sand. Whether drawing shapes or molding sand castles – everything from scooping to digging in sand helps build muscle strength, hand-eye coordination and contributes to an imaginative game. Pour some water into the sand to make it perfect for digging holes, building castles, and baking sand cakes.
An additional benefit of playing from the outside is that it strengthens your child’s immune system.
Would you like to learn how early intervention can help children with developmental delays? Call TEIS Early Intervention at 412-271-8347 or text 412-543-8398 for more information. Our business hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., MF.
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