21 At-Home Outdoor Activities for 1-2 year-olds

Outside is honestly the shit.

I don’t know about you guys, but we thrive out there. If any of us are cranky, all it takes is venturing into nature or the outdoors, and just like that we’ve forgotten our negative vibes.

Here’s some activities that Charlie would love doing outside, and honestly never really get tired of. As much fun as we’d have going out into society, sometimes you just don’t wanna pack up the diaper bag and subject yourself to possible public tantrums. So we’d have our own adventures around the house and in our small neighborhood.

Not only was it nice to be close to home, but we also got to be great friends with all of our neighbors.

*I’m not paid for advertising. Any products I promote are merely because of my own tastes, purchases, experiences, and preferences.*

**I don’t mind Charlie getting dirty outside. In fact, I encourage it. To me, that’s part of what being a kid is all about! Besides, kids learn by doing and by exploring the world around them. Who cares if I have to change her clothes 7 times a day. A little dirt, some rain puddles, and hose water are good for their immune system anyway!**

****And finally, I go outside with the mindset that we will be out there awhile. Bring water! Don’t rush it. I try to forget a destination and I don’t hurry her off in any direction. The goal is for her to learn, explore, and have fun. So I kinda just let her take off, and I’m just along for the ride (and supervision).****

1) Blow up pool:

-I bought one of these for $10 at Buy Buy Baby. It’s perfect for outside time and those hot summer days. We’d fill it up after going to the park to cool off.

-I’d bring out solo cups for her to pour water. Really any kind of container works!I’d switch up the toys every time. Honestly I’d just grab random stuff to throw in there!

2) Water the plants:

I found some of those black plastic plant containers on the side of the road. I filled em up with some dirt from our yard and threw in some beach shells. I let Charlie water them with her kid-sized watering can. And then she got to dig around and find shells and other objects/toys!

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3) Push toys around the neighborhood:

-Ever since she could walk, she loved to push stuff around (stroller, shopping cart, bubble lawn mower). We’d walk around the block, while pushing her favorite stuffed animals in these toys.

-I’d bring a tote bag of digging toys/containers/etc. Was great if she wanted to stop and get messy.

4) Nature collection:

-Dedicate a can/basket/bucket/bag to collecting nature.Bring it with you on walks, or let your little one carry it/push it.

-Pick up all kinds of stuff.

-Let baby feel them, tell them what they are, and stick them in your carrier.

-Fun to look back on later. Add to toy collection.

-Learn textures and object names.

-Put away into keepsake boxes and write about your adventures that day in a letter to them/journal.

5) Flower picking:

-I don’t do this one too often, because SAVE THE BEES!

-But every now and then we will pick flowers and bring them home to Dada.

-Or press them into your journal for them to find years later.

-OR send them in a letter to Grandma.

-Either way, Little One gets to learn textures and colors.

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6) Learn how to drink from a big kid cup:

Since I’m not worried about messes, I figured outside is the place for this! And she loves it and feels really empowered by her accomplishment at this.

-However, my golden rule with kids is never do something once if you aren’t prepared to do it every time they see it.

-Charlie would want to drink from my cup every time she saw it after this. So I would just have to repeat “Not inside, but outside,” with the appropriate hand gestures. And then bring her outside to do it, or give her a straw inside.

7) Rocks!

-Charlie has always been obsessed with rocks and pebbles. Down the street there’s a bunch of cool rocks. I’ll bring a bag of toys for her to use with the rocks (dump truck, bucket, shovel, cup, etc.).

-Sometimes, I’ll even bring a chair for me to hang out in!

8) Stroller ride:

-What a classic one. I’d do this when she was fighting a nap. She’d be in one of those moods where she wasn’t too tired to fall asleep but she was tired enough to be cranky at everything.

-I realized she just needed a chill break. Some would play TV during this time. Sometimes we would. But when we are in our no technology mode, outside we go!

-I’d make fruit popsicles for her to eat. Great way to cool down on those summer days while also getting in some of her fruit/veggie portions for the day.

-Play some music and let her take in the views.

9) Chalk:

Another classic!Draw pictures, write letters and words, and learn colors!

10)Turn on the hose/sprinkler:

-I bought one of those sprinklers that lie on the ground and spray strands of water across the lawn. So much fun to run through and stay cool during hot weather! I’d even join some days.

-We’d count out loud “1, 2, 3,” and then run through, so she can learn some numbers.

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11) Catch:

Seriously, playing with a ball will never get old. Endless game opportunities!

12) Hopscotch:

One to two-year olds may be a little young for this concept. But doesn’t mean they can’t jump from one chalk square to the next!


Need I say more?

14) Puddlejumping

-Our favorite post-rain activity.

-Didn't rain? Turn the hose onto the end of the driveway:

-Create puddles, and then go jumping in them! Rain boots was one of our favorite gifts from Gram and Poppy!

15) Discovery tank:

-Find a big container (as big as you can!)—Preferably clear.

-Fill with water and throw toys/objects/shells in for baby to play with and learn textures.

-I bought some cheap animal toys for her to play pretend with and learn their names and sounds.

-Add in cups, containers, spoons, funnels, etc. to make it more interactive!

16) Rice/sand digging:

Really just the same concept as #15 but with rice instead of water. Add in some shovels and buckets!

17) Water painting:

Tape a bunch of construction paper around. Give baby cup/bucket of water and several cheap paint brushes/rollers. Let them paint with the water!

18) Learn to use a spoon: I’d give charlie a cup of yogurt, dress her down to her diaper and hand her a spoon. She went wild, making a huge mess, getting in a healthy snack, AND learning a new, important skill!I’d do the same thing with a straw. I’d whip up a healthy smoothie, stick in one of our resizable aluminum straws (because no more plastics!!!) and let her have a blast. I would try not to let her go TOO nuts, since I didn’t want her to think that food time always meant play time. The point of food was to eat it, so I’d constantly guide her hand to her mouth, or repeat “Let’s eat the food!” Often eating it myself.

19) Tag:

Run around the yard! Make it interesting by adding in the hose.

20) Animal Safari:

Hide animals around the yard. Bring a basket and go on your very own scavenger hunt for the animals, while repeating their names and sounds as often as possible. Even pretend to be the animals!

21) JUST GO!

We didn’t always have an idea in mind when we went outside. We’d just go and find stuff along the way!

Have fun, explore, adventure, make memories, and never ever rush. Enjoy every minute, no matter how slow or anticlimactic it may seem!

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