Top 20 Exciting Outdoor Toddler Activities to learn without worksheets

Need some ideas for outdoor toddler activities to keep your toddler busy and learning outside? Look no further! We’ve put together a list of 30 exciting outdoor activities divided by season that will have you and your little one giggling, exploring, and discovering the world around you.

Before I show you the ideas here is a little a story-time. Before COVID I had no idea how to entertain my toddler outdoors unless it was to take him to a playground. During COVID I was forced to go outside and find different ways to entertain him. The parks were open but not the playgrounds. So I had to get creative! Walking in nature was the only option and had no idea what to do or make it fun.

Fast forward a few years now, and I not only got so creative but I teach mommy and me nature classes in my local community; I even got featured in PBS KIDS and I love following the kids and seeing how they see the world.

The most important advice I can give you when going outside to do outdoor toddler activities is to slow down.

Your toddler’s brain takes in information at a different pace than adults. We know what senses to mute for a specific task we are doing, toddlers can’t do that yet.

They learn through the senses so they are constantly taking information through what they see, hear, touch, and smell – all at the same time. that’s a lot to take in – so slowing down is needed.

This post is all about Outdoor Toddler Activities

To ease browsing the ideas this post and not to get overwhelmed (I get overwhelmed with too many ideas and then I don’t do anything… so if you are like me, I divided it in sections so you can focus easier)

The post is divided by seasons so that there is always an outdoor activity you can do no matter the weather outside your window!

Let’s dive into these wonderful adventures!

Outdoor Toddler Activities for Fall

Nature Bird Feeders

Outdoor Toddler Activities for Fall

Every September we get a lot of migrant birds and ducks here in Florida. Woodpeckers are all around and we get the common blue jays.

Because the kids are attentive to these animals we always take this time to talk about what birds need, what makes a bird, and what type of nests they create. We create various types of bird feeders depending on what supplies I have at hand. We have done from ornament bird feeders (picture above) to pinecone bird feeders (YouTube tutorial below) and to expand the activity, I eve installed a window bird feeder from Amazon. The learning goal is to see birds up close, answer their questions, expand their observation skills and expand learning.

YouTube Tutorial: how to create a pinecone bird feeder

Pumpkin Painting Station

Outdoor Toddler Activities for Fall

Painting things that are not flat like paper is a very attractive activity to do with toddlers. Fall season is all about pumpkins and you can definitely set up a painting station to paint pumpkins.

When done painting, set up a washing station to clean off the pumpkins and you get two activities in one.

If you are reading this and is not pumpkin season you can paint other fruits like watermelons in the summer, or even a ceramic flower pot in the spring.

Try checking off something from the Fall Toddler Bucket List

Outdoor Toddler Activities for Fall

Sometimes we just want simple activities we can do at home. In this fall bucket list you guide you get 30 days of easy activities you can do. Our favorite was going to collect some apples and make the famous apple pie recipe from Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie Book

Create a fall nature crown

Outdoor Toddler Activities for Fall

OK ok, you probably have better fall leaves than I do. We live in Florida so we don’t get beautiful changing colors in the trees, but that doesn’t stop us from creating nature crowns.
On the picture above we even used faux leaves and talked about warm colors (red, yellow, orange) and paired it with a story time with the book The Leaf Thief.

If you don’t have fall leaves, you can adapt this idea and take the same concept of a nature crown but you focus on colors only. Go on a search of the color green- and add just green items to your crown.

How to make a nature crown activity for toddlers

Big & Small Nature Walk

Outdoor Toddler Activities for Fall

Never underestimate a simple nature walk with your toddler. The world is magical and yes, activities can be simple sometimes. We love to walk in class and find the biggest tree, the smallest branch, the biggest leaf, the smallest one. This simple activity forces you to slow down and enjoy the walk while teaching kids to become observant.

This important skill is critical for learning how to read and write later on.

When they can become observant and notice what things are the same and when things are different, when it comes to writing and reading differentiating between letters, words, and shapes will become a lot easier.

Outdoor Toddler Activities for Winter

When it comes to winter, we don’t have much “winter” weather here in Florida. So for this section, I will share with you some of the top ideas from the Internet I wish I could do.

Mud Kitchen but with Snow

Mud kitchen play is very popular among toddlers. They love to recreate what they see at home in a safe environment. Usually, this activity is popular during spring when the weather is nicer outside.

But you can make this experience a brand new one by setting up the kitchen outside with the snow. Give condiments, tools spoons, and lots of loose parts like acorns, sticks, and leaves for toddlers to create delicious pretend creations.

Ice Ornament for Outdoors

This is a great concept to teach changes in matter. If you live in a place where temperatures go below zero you can create this activity outside and let it freeze overnight. If you don’t, like me, you will need to use the freezer and then observe how the ice melts away.

Collect leaves, seeds, and other small items and place them onto a paper plate or lid. Add a string and then some water and let it freeze. When frozen you can choose your favorite tree to hang it and admire how pretty it is. The glossiness of the tice makes it look like a million-dollar glass decoration!

Hot Chocolate Picnic

We don’t get inches of snow but in January our temperature drops. During nature class, we always do a hot chocolate picnic and the kids love it. Remember, when you take a regular activity and take it to another setting it creates new memories and they are way more fun. So pack some cozy blankets, a thermos, and some instant hot chocolate, and have yourself a merry cozy picnic.

Create a Reading Fort

Remember how I said that outside things are way more fun? well, how about making a reading nook in the woods? Grab a tarp, some twine, and some blankets, and work together to create a fort. Then, sit cozy inside and read some stories, sing some songs, and cozy up to enjoy nature.

Outdoor Toddler Activities for Spring

Outdoor Watercolor Painting

Toddlers benefit a lot from working on vertical surfaces. One of my favorite activities we have done has been to tie a rope between two trees and hand an old bed sheet. Then we gave kids watercolor paints and let them have fun creating big colorful art masterpieces. It was so much fun, and it felt so different than doing it at home.

Nature Playdough

Spring is a time when flowers bloom and colors are everywhere. You can make your own color playdough using petals. Follow this nature playdough tutorial and learn how we do it in class.

Butterfly Nature Suncatcher

In our nature class, we always have a mission to do while on the walk, then we sit down to do an activity. For Spring, we get a lot of butterflies in our park, so this day it made total sense to do a sun catcher craft using nature finds.

I asked the kids to collect all different types of nature items during the walk, I cut butterfly shapes out of a paper plate and added sticky paper in the back.

Some of the items the kids wanted to add like the pinecones needed glue as the sticky paper didn’t hold. Instead of saying NO to them, we tried to figure out how we could add them in.

Alphabet Scribbles

Who can resist a good stick? I know toddlers love sticks! and this very day we had one little boy who refused to leave the stick behind. So we did it and kept finding these awesome sticks! my co-teacher and I decided to create letters on the dirt and had the kids walk the path of each letter.

This activity is a pre-writing activity so that they can memorize letter formation without having to use a worksheet to remember it.

For the older kids, they joined the activity and started to write their own names and letters.

A free activity with so much learning! all you need is a stick, some dirt, and some willing adults to join the game!

Outdoor Toddler Activities for Summer

Chalk Art

Chalk is a popular material that shows up every summer, and it’s because it’s an easy activity, and toddlers love it. We always pair this activity with cars and water. We create a city with chalk and cars to drive around.

When they get tired of playing with that we give them brushes and water and let them have a new activity erasing the city, and getting the chalk wet.

Giant Bubbles

Blow bubbles, and let your toddler chase and pop them. You can even make your own bubble solution! But to make it extra fun we got a bubble kit (this bubble kit one available on Amazon) to make giant bubbles and it’s a total win every time in class! totally recommend it.

Color Mixing Water Play

Water play is one I always include in my sensory classes no matter the season. But this photo up here has been my favorite one so far! I used clear shoe boxes and neon paints (in warm tones, red, orange, and yellows) and created a water mixing station.

The kids made so many different shades and variations of colors it was so much fun! Being summer I hid some sharks in some of the containers to add an element of surprise and for the kids to find and hide as part of their game.

Seashell Collection

Beach days are a common activity during the summer along with splash pads and pool days! but one of my favorite things to do when I host my nature class at the beach is to bring my sea shell collection. I let the kids, sort, count, create, paint, and compare.

All of these observations and manipulation activities are not just fun but very educational as well for toddlers.

They are working on visual discrimination, an essential skill to later be able to differentiate between letters and recognize patterns in writing and reading.

And you don’t have to have a homemade collection. A lot of my seashells were collected during trips but others were from the floral section at the dollar store and Amazon.

Painting with Cars

Going outside and making art in large canvases is one of my favorite things to set up in class. Why? because it is not something we do at home often but we should.

My favorite activity to set up is to paint with cars. Lay down the roll, drizzle some paint, and give them some cars with big wheels to go and have fun!

Working on the floor allows our toddlers to strengthen their core and shoulder muscles. These are very important muscles to strengthen to later hold pencils and write.

This post was all about Outdoor Toddler Activities

These outdoor toddler activities provide not only fun but also opportunities for learning, encourage creativity, and are a super fun way to bond with your little one. So, get outside and make the most of your time together in the fresh air no matter the season!

Remember that there is no bad weather, only the wrong outfits! so even during rainy days, there is something to do outdoors!

Related Posts