Mother and Baby

15 outdoor activity ideas your toddler will love

Encouraging your little one to head outside can be hard if she’s become fixated by reruns of Peppa Pig.

Of course, there are plenty of brilliant outdoor buys you can splurge on, but there are also ways to tempt her into the garden at little or no cost at all…

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1. Go paddling

When the weather’s warm enough, get the paddling pool out, throw in a collection of Tupperware boxes or stacking cups and let your toddler at 'em.
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2. Do some gardening

Stock up on some seed packs and let your toddler help you plant a seed, cover it in soil and water it. Try some easy to grow plants like sunflowers or something that your little one can enjoy eating such as rocket or radishes. If you don't have any grass in your garden, using a pot is just as good.
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3. Make a den/playhouse/fort

Arm your toddler with some cardboard boxes and old sheets and help him build an outdoor den that he can use as his outdoor play space.
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4. Create an outdoor studio

Set up a small plastic table in a shady spot, bring out a few pots of paints and let your tot use it as her al fresco art and crafts spot. Best part? You won’t need to worry about the mess.
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5. Plan a nature hunt

Give your toddler some photos of birds, bugs and butterflies and challenge him to find as many of them as possible in the garden. Yep, guaranteed to keep him busy but also may result in him insisting on keeping some creepy crawlies as pets.
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6. Have a treasure hunt

Put together a simple treasure hunt using very basic clues such as arrows or numbers. You can leave mini treats along the way (such as raisins, small toys and bubbles) and finish with one big treat. Great for when you’re hosting a playdate.
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7. Build an open-air theatre

Set up an area of your garden that can act as a stage and suggest your toddler puts on a show. You can make props and costumes together and invite friends and relatives round to watch it once it’s ready.
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8. Host a tea party

Take all of your tot’s favourite toys outside, put down a blanket and have a pretend tea party together. For a special treat, you can use real cakes and food, or even let her have her dinner out there, picnic-style.
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9. Take storytime outside

Take your usual indoor reading time outside and sit on a rug on the grass together looking at storybooks.
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10. Have a race

If you’re toddler seems to have endless amounts of energy to burn, challenge him to a race. You can try something fun and exciting like a one-legged race or a calmer game like an egg and spoon race – but remember to boil the eggs first to avoid lots of mess.
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11. Play hopscotch

If you’ve got plenty of paved space in your garden, draw a hopscotch grid with some chalk and show your little one how the game is played.
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12. Play with bubbles

Always a big hit with young children, it’s amazing how much delight one pot of bubbles can bring. Yes, you may need to blow them yourself (to stop your tot emptying the mixture on a nearby plant) but at least it’s an activity that you can do from sitting down.
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13. Build a sand pit

A childhood classic, a sand pit should be a garden staple and doesn’t have to be expensive to install. Simply use some pallet wood to construct a box and fill it with sand and your toddler can enjoy many summers of digging and sandcastle building. Just remember to cover it once your little one's finished playing to stop local cats using it as a toilet!
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14. Throw a festival

For something a little more special – or as a great birthday party idea – transform your garden into a toddler-friendly festival and get your tot involved in the preparations. Make some bunting from coloured paper to hang, plan some great garden games like apple bobbing and get a brilliant playlist ready to go.
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15. Make mud pies

Select a patch of ground and give your toddler a small spade to dig it up and fill the muddy hole with water. Your tot will have great fun watching the water disappear and then refilling it – but she’ll need a good scrub in the bath once finished!

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