20 Summer Activities for Toddlers that you can do together
Fun Summer Activities to do with Toddlers
Summer is finally here! After being stuck inside all winter -- which lasted until about two weeks ago here in Wisconsin -- I’m finally ready to get out of the house and enjoy the weather. When you have a toddler in the house, it’s easy to get sucked into doing the same things over and over. Last summer, we actually got bored of going to the park. Novelty is really important for toddlers, especially, and it’s really hard to think of fun things to do in the summer at home. So, let me give you some summer activities for toddlers that can help you break out of your funk.
1. Nature Walk
Take a walk through a nearby park and point out all the flora and fauna that you see. Encourage your little one to point things out too. How many different types of flowers will you see? What kinds of trees? Count how many animals you see along your walk. This not only gets your body moving (you’ll notice that I’m a big fan of walks), but it also encourages your kiddo to observe their surroundings!
2. Neighborhood scavenger hunt
Make a list of things to find in your neighborhood and head out with disposable cameras to capture your finds. Include things like a stop sign, a fire hydrant, a specific number, a certain color door, or a trash can. Once you’ve completed your list, develop the photos and make a collage!
3. Splash Pad
Find out if there is a splash pad in your area. These are a fun way to cool off without dealing with the crowds of a public pool or aquatic center. Wear swimsuits, bring towels, and plan to get wet!
4. Animal Walk
Sometimes you just need to get out of the house. My favorite way to do that is to go for a walk, but I like to spice things up! As you’re walking, ask your little one to show you how they think different animals would walk. Our favorites are dinosaurs, gorillas, cheetahs, and sharks. This is especially fun when they are able to let loose and don’t have to hold hands, so this is an activity better suited for a walk in the park rather than around the neighborhood. This can also be a fun game to play in the yard!
Bring out your silly side and get involved in the animal walk! There are so many benefits to getting involved in play with your child. If you aren't sure how read more about how to become more playful as an adult and why it is important!
5. Backyard obstacle course
Set up an obstacle course with your little one in the backyard! Use things you have around your house and see how fast you can make it through. Set up toys in a row that you have to weave around, jump ropes on the ground that you have to jump over, pool noodle arches that you have to crawl through, and so on!
6. Go to a different playground
Sometimes you just want to go on some swings, but your neighborhood playground isn’t that exciting anymore. Take a stroll or hop in the car and head to a different neighborhood park to play. The change of scenery will be a great break in the regular playground experience.
7. Banana "ice cream"
Want a way to beat the heat and have a fun treat without pumping your kids full of sugar and dairy? Pop a few bananas in the freezer, and once they’re frozen, blend them up with a little milk or water! Top with chocolate chips, coconut flakes, or just eat it plain! Easy “ice cream” that you can feel good about! This is a really good trick for bananas that are getting a little too ripe!
The sprinkler is always a summer hit. Toss on some swimsuits and head outside to play in the water. This helps you cool down on a hot day, and it’s just plain fun.
9. Driveway art gallery
Get out your chalk and divide the driveway into different frames. Each member of the family gets to fill their frame with whatever they'd like — a picture of what you did today, a picture of your family, or maybe a bunch of flowers! Use your imagination!
Sometimes you need to get out of the heat, and heading to the library is a great way to do that. Whether it be to check out the books, to attend a storytime, or to just hang out in the air conditioning, the library is a great change of pace.
11. Color walk
Before you start on your walk, choose a color. Keep walking until you find something that color. Choose a new direction and head that way until you find your new color! It’s a really fun way to keep your kiddos engaged and aware of their surroundings.
12. Sticky Mural
Pick up some clear contact paper on your next trip to the store. Then, collect things on your next walk or from around your house. Take the paper backing off one sheet of contact paper and place it sticky-side-up on the table. Arrange your treasure on the contact paper and arrange some construction paper into a frame around the edges. Then, sandwich your second piece of contact paper on top to seal in your goodies! Display on the fridge or in a window!
Take a trip to a local museum! It can be a great way to get into some air conditioning on those especially hot summer days while learning something new! There are so many different kinds of museums — art museums, history museums, and even children’s museums! You can find the best fit for your family and make a trip to learn and beat the heat!
14. Sensory Bins
One of my favorite activities for toddlers in the summer is creating sensory bins for them to explore. Sensory play is incredibly important in developing motor skills in toddlers. Get a couple of plastic bins from the store and fill them up with different sensory items — shaving cream, water beads, sand and rocks, beans and rice — the possibilities are truly endless. And the best part? Keeping the bins outside means the mess stays outside! Just make sure that you’re watching young ones if you’re using small items in your bins, as they can pose choking hazards.
15. Farmer's Market
I do my best to spend every Saturday morning that I can at the farmer’s market. I love meeting the people who grew my food and knowing that it’s fresh. This is a really cool opportunity to show your toddler where their food comes from and is a fantastic introduction into gardening and agriculture. Plus, your little one is going to be much more inclined to eat their vegetables if they help pick them out! Score!
16. Fly A Kite
Some of my favorite summer memories from growing up was taking a kite out to a field with my parents and siblings. This is something that is a timeless family activity and is loads of fun, but sometimes requires a bit more adult attention. Flying a kite is no easy feat, but the enjoyment that toddlers get from watching the kite soar through the air, coupled with the breeze and spending time outdoors — and presumably away from town, if you’ve got enough room to fly a kite — is a recipe for a happy kiddo.
17. Have a picnic
While you’re out on a walk, flying a kite, or even just playing outside, it’s hard to convince your little ones to come inside for anything, especially lunch. I love picnics in the summer. They break up the monotony of lunchtime and are just plain fun. Pack a few sandwiches and some watermelon slices in a cooler and head out the door. If you’re picnicking a lot, feel free to switch up the meal choices — cheese and crackers, wraps, veggies and dip, ants on a log, and so on.
18. Chalk paint
I love collecting rocks on walks with my toddler that we can decorate and put back on our next walk for someone else to find. A lot of areas take part in this “kindness rocks” movement, and it’s a ton of fun. The paint that I like to use is easily washable and similar to chalk, so I’m not putting paint out into nature. To make the chalk paint, mix equal parts cornstarch and water together, and add food coloring until you reach your desired color. This paint can also be used to decorate your driveway and washes off fairly easily.
19. Water transfer
Playing in the water is a quintessential summer activity. Grab one of the bins from your sensory play activities and fill it about halfway with water. Then, add in some measuring cups, bowls, or other vessels that can hold water. Suit up in bathing suits and have some fun building motor skills and cooling off.
20. Play with bubbles
And, lastly, a tried and true summer activity for toddlers — blowing bubbles. There is something so simple and fun about blowing bubbles, and the pure joy that little ones find in bubbles could bring a smile to anyone’s face. Let your kiddo blow the bubbles, or blow them yourself and have your toddler chase after them. One bottle of bubbles can last for hours and hours of fun.
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I know how easy it can be to get into a slump when it comes to summer activities, so I hope this helped give you some ideas of some summer activities for toddlers.