Try out these five fun and simple outdoor adventures for toddlers!
They’re enriching, inexpensive, and will inspire you to spend more time outdoors with your little ones.
Outdoor Adventures For Toddlers
Getting outside with your toddler is the ticket. There’s something about fresh air that cures the nastiest of tantrums and calms their little spirits (not to mention yours). It’s also a perfect opportunity for kids to learn something new. (Read more on the benefits of outdoor play here).
On our recent family trip to Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Wyatt and I went on a mini kayak adventure while Ryan hosted a charity golf tournament. I was a bit nervous at first. Am I supposed to take a three-year-old in a kayak? Will he try to stand up or jump out? What if he starts having a meltdown in the middle of the lake? Finally, I retreated back to one of my favourite quotes, “Stop thinking about what will go wrong and think about what will go right!”
I’m happy to report it turned out great. We survived AND also had a really nice time together! Here are a few tips to help maximize your outdoor experience with your kids and further down you’ll find more ideas for outdoor adventures for toddlers.
Tips for Success:
- Keep it short. We went out for about 45 minutes, and by that time Wyatt was done.
- Involve your little ones in the entire process of the adventure. In our case, Wyatt helped me sign in, pick out life jackets, and of course he wanted to get into the boat himself. It’s empowering for them to help out.
- Look for ways to make this mini-outing more of an experience with simple teachable moments sprinkled in. I got him to ‘help’ me paddle, we talked about what he thought was in the water, and created stories of what animals lived on the island in the middle of the lake.
- Give them responsibilities. At this age, the desire for independence is off the charts. Assign small tasks to keep them into it. Wyatt’s job was simply to keep the blanket over our legs. He took great pride in it!
- Take a few pictures, and look back at them in the weeks or months after and talk about what you did. If you’re feeling really crafty you could even print off the photos and make a scrapbook page to hang on the fridge or in their room.
More Outdoor Adventures for Toddlers:
Bike Ride to Dinner: Pop your babe in the ride-along bike seat and head out for a casual dinner. We just bought this bike seat and Wyatt is loving it! Supper is taken care of and he gets to see the city (or wherever you live) from a new perspective.
Picnic and Cloud Animals: No trip to the park needed: take your lunch to the backyard! First of all, compile a picnic basket. (This one is adorable and I love this heart-shaped one too.) Then, lay down a blanket, enjoy your food, and search for animal shapes in the clouds. Make up stories for each one, and get your little one to mimic the animal sounds.
Nature Scavenger Hunt/Eye Spy (in the stroller): So, you need a walk, but you’re not in the mood to chase after your kid on his bike. Create a list of things for him to look out for on the walk, pop him in the stroller, and go! You can do up a fancy list up ahead of time, or if you’re in a rush, jot the items down on a scrap paper and head out the door. He’s confined and learning and you’re getting some chill time. You could also make some things on the list tangibles he needs to bring home (example: heart-shaped leaf, acorn, or a rock) and use those pieces for an art project.
Backyard Campout: Do an overnight camp, or simplify by setting up a pop-up beach tent (we love this one) for a fun day-camp with sleeping bags (tell me this isn’t the coolest kid sleeping bag ever!) and pillows, etc. Enjoy a fire, roast marshmallows, sing camp songs – but most importantly, ensure bedtime actually happens inside in their room.
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