Outdoor Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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It’s the perfect time of year to take your lessons outside. Preschool outdoor learning ideas can be as simple as reading a book in the sunshine. There are tons of ways to incorporate the great outdoors with your toddlers and preschoolers! Spring is the perfect season to teach your kids a new sport, experiment in a backyard mud kitchen, or get creative with sidewalk chalk. 

Are you looking for new outdoor activities for your toddlers and preschoolers to learn and play in the sunshine this Spring? Keep reading to discover preschool outdoor learning ideas, simple activities for toddlers, and fun games and challenges for your kids to do outside.

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Outdoor Learning Ideas

I love taking learning outside! There are so many great outdoor learning ideas to try and it’s easy to incorporate lots of different skills. For starters, practicing gross motor skills is definitely a lot easier. Preschoolers can practice important skills like balance and coordination too. Plus, outdoor learning is the perfect way to explore the natural world with your kids this Spring. Check out some of our favorite outdoor learning ideas for toddlers and preschoolers:

Outdoor Counting Games

Learning numbers outdoors can be so much fun! Games like hopscotch, Mother May I, and 4 corners are easy to play and perfect for building numeracy skills with toddlers and preschoolers. For our favorite outdoor counting game, you’ll need some sidewalk chalk.

outdoor activities for toddlers and preschoolers

Begin by writing the numbers 1 through 6 on the ground with the chalk. Then, roll a die and count to see which number has been rolled. It’s a fun way to practice counting skills, subitizing, and one-to-one correspondence. Finally, build some important gross motor skills by hopping to the number you have rolled or tossing a bean bag to the number.

You can use larger numbers or simple addition and subtraction equations to practice lots of different early math skills with this fun game. It’s a versatile and simple outdoor activity for preschoolers and toddlers too.

Walk the Plank

All you’ll really  need to “walk the plank” with your kids is a wooden 2×4, alphabet letters, and a blue tarp or sheet under the board to help bring your adventure to life. In this fun outdoor learning idea, you’ll be learning about pirates, balance, and the alphabet.  

First, read Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC by June Sobel aloud to your toddlers and preschoolers.

Then, toss your letters onto the “sea” (blue tarp or sheet). Have your kids take turns picking up alphabet letters and identifying them. Then, give everyone a chance to “walk the plank” like a real pirate.

Talking like a pirate is totally optional, but lots of fun! You know what’s also fun? Using these alphabet bean bags instead of foam letters. My students always love when I pull these out and there are so many different ways they can be used for learning the alphabet.

Nature Walk

Teaching toddlers and preschoolers about the great outdoors is a memorable experience when you’re outside. One of the most fun outdoor learning activities you can share with your kids is learning about nature together on a nature walk. 

outdoor activities for preschoolers and toddlers

There are tons of ways to help your kids explore and experience the natural world! Collecting “treasures” on a child-led nature walk just happens to be my favorite. Dress appropriately and don’t forget sunscreen, bug spray, and water. Then, let your kids set the pace as you see the world through their eyes.

Providing tools like a magnifying glass, bag or jar for nature “treasures,” and a snack to share together are optional but lots of fun. We like to take along our nature journals: notebooks the kids have decorated where they can draw or write about things they see and discover in nature.

Simple Outdoor Activities for Toddlers

There are so many simple outdoor activities for kids of all ages! If you’re looking for ways to have fun with your youngest learners, check out some of my favorite outdoor activities for toddlers:

Color Hunt

Teaching your toddlers their colors can be a lot of fun with this simple outdoor activity. Plus, it requires very little preparation. Call out a color and have your toddlers hunt around the yard for objects that match the color. 

outdoor activities for toddlers or preschoolers

Toddlers will be able to focus on color recognition and build problem-solving skills as they hunt down green leaves, purple flowers, and gray rocks. You can easily change this color hunting scavenger hunt to match whatever you’re learning about with your toddlers too.

Try an alphabet hunt where toddlers search for things that begin with the letter A or a number hunt where they must bring you a certain number of leaves or sticks. The possibilities are endless! 

Backyard Bug Hunt

Do you have a toddler who’s really into bugs? Check out The Backyard Bug Book for Kids from Lauren Davidson. It’s filled with insect facts, outdoor activities, and fun stories too. Then, gather up your little entomologists for a backyard bug hunt they won’t forget! 

Hunt for bugs in the backyard. You don’t have to actually capture anything, just observe and maybe snap some cool photos. Not interested in using real bugs? That’s ok, there’s a fantastic set of small plastic insects from the Wild Republic that you can use for your backyard bug hunt.

Looking for even more bug learning fun? Check out my preschool bug activity bundle. You can adapt most of the activities to fit younger learners and use them with older kids too.

Water Table Fun

I love a good water table! It’s the perfect place to explore mixing, pouring, measuring, and all kinds of liquid fun with your toddlers. You can use a water table for outdoor activities with toddlers that involve learning to pour, experimenting with water, and discovering why some things float and other objects sink.

A simple DIY water table is easy to make with a large plastic tub, water, and tools like cups, bowls, and spoons. Another fun option is to purchase a water table. The Little Tikes “Spiralin’ Seas Water Play Table” is filled with fun outdoor learning opportunities for your toddlers. Check it out for a water table option that’s ready to go.

Fun Outdoor Activities for Preschoolers

There are lots of exciting outdoor games for preschoolers to play this Spring. Teaching your preschoolers outside with fun games is just one more way to have fun outside with your kids. Check out some of our favorite fun outdoor activities and games for preschoolers:

Water Balloon Battle

This outdoor activity is always a big hit with my preschoolers. Get ready for some fun with a backyard water balloon battle. Prep your water balloons beforehand or get the kids in on the balloon making fun too. 

When the balloons are ready, have fun building gross motor skills as you toss them at each other or targets. You’ll want to choose a warm day for this activity and dress in clothes you don’t mind getting wet.

These are my absolute favorite water balloons because they’re cheap and self seal for easy and quick fill ups!

Soccer Shoot Out

All you really need for this fun outdoor activity for preschoolers is a ball that’s big enough to kick. Kids will get all kinds of great practice developing coordination as they work to kick as many goals as they can. Plus, it’s a great way to practice taking turns and good sportsmanship with competitive preschoolers.

Backyard Obstacle Course

Get creative! It’s the perfect time to repurpose all the things in your backyard or nearby park for obstacle course outdoor activities for preschoolers. You can even let your kids in on the fun. They might surprise you with some of their imaginative ideas!

outdoor activities for preschoolers and toddlers

Then, begin the obstacle course. Give points for speed, coordination, and diligence. Popsicles make a really great reward for preschoolers to enjoy after your obstacle course fun is done.

Get Ready for a Challenge

If you’re still looking for ways to motivate your kids to spend more time outside, check out these fun outdoor activities that come in the form of a challenge. Your toddlers and preschoolers will get excited about working towards a goal and achieving it with these fun outdoor challenges:

Play 60 Challenge

The National Football League, Discovery League, and the American Heart Association have created this exciting outdoor challenge for kids. The goal is to get 60 minutes of physical activity for every child every day. Kids can join the challenge by committing to spend 60 minutes being active in all kinds of fun ways. Many of the outdoor activities for toddlers and preschoolers above can be used to help your kids meet their Play 60 goals. 

1,000 Hours Outside

Have you heard of 1,000 hours outside? It’s a challenge all about getting kids to spend more time on fun outdoor activities and less time staring at screens. To join the challenge, commit to spending 1,000 hours outside with your kids this year.  

You can use the outdoor activities for preschoolers and toddlers mentioned above to help you get creative and encourage more time outside this Spring. To complete the challenge, you’ll need lots of outdoor activities, so share your favorite ways to play and learn outdoors in the comment section. That way, we can all work together to reach the 1,000 hours outside goal.

If you’re looking for a great related article for inside activities to do with kids be sure to check out the related post.

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