Simple Outdoor Activities for Kids (especially toddlers and babies!)
There is nothing I enjoy more than getting my kids out into nature. Interestingly, there are so many parenting resources that offer outdoor lessons and very specific learning activities for young children. In my experience, one of the best things you can offer your child is free play time and a positive experience. There are many simple outdoor activities for kids that incorporate free play and exploration.
Nature is an important element for childhood development, as well as for postpartum healing. In the book titled The Fourth Trimester, Kimberly Johnson mentions that nature is an important piece of postpartum healing for new mothers. Your postpartum doula can help you find ways to immerse yourself in nature in your own home. Not only is it great for brain development, but vitamin D is essential for health. Certainly, experiencing nature provides a bounty of opportunities for all members of the family.
How to Get Started
Firstly, I encourage you to find some local places that you love. County or state parks, forests, or even your local neighborhood park can be a great place to start. If you’re in New York, an Empire Pass can save you a ton of money on local state parks. Start simple and get your kids used to simply enjoying being outdoors.
Secondly, many outdoor activities for kids cost next to nothing. Pick materials, tools, and activities that are appropriate for the age of your kids. If you want your kids to explore, consider bringing some small plastic magnifying glasses, a pail, and a shovel. There are very affordable bug or object viewers that toddlers can put an item inside and view with magnification.
Lastly, make sure you bring snacks, diapers, and whatever other items you may need to be comfortable at the park. Consider bringing a natural insect repellent and sunblock. Don’t over pack (who wants to carry more things around with them?) but plan for comfort.
So, you have picked a location and packed your bag. Now what?
Mega List of Outdoor Activities for Kids
-Create a scavenger hunt
-Give your kids a pail and shovel to explore and collect items
-Nature Texture Rubbings: place items underneath paper and rub a crayon across the paper to reveal texture.
-Nature journals: kids can draw items or animals they find in nature
-Shadow Boxes: collect some simple items and place them into a scene in a simple shoe box other recycled material
-Photography: kids can take pictures with a simple camera
-Free Play: let them explore in a location for a while. No need to plan anything. They will naturally find a way to play.
-Draw with Nature: using grass, flowers, leaves, and dirt, rub the item on a white paper. The natural dye from the objects will appear on the paper.
-Fairy houses: children can build small houses out of sticks, mud, rocks, leaves, etc for the fairies in the local forest.
-Hiking: find a toddler friendly hiking trail to explore together
What are your ideas? What are your favorite outdoor activities for kids?