10 Summertime Outdoor Activities: Toddler & Baby Edition
I’m all about merging the age gap between my 11 month old and 2 1/12 year old. When it comes to activities that is. There are enough times that each of them have their own personal play, or activities just for them, specific to their stage in development and skill. That stuff is important. Fo the most part though, we try to blend. Things aren’t always harmonious, as those of you with toddlers and babies know.
Although I am sure the same could be said for most siblings, regardless of their age. However, the baby toddler times are succinct to that of pretty much constant surveillance. Until the object launching, pushing and other forms of bodily contact become less so. Those wily little bohemians!
The summer is such a carefree, luxurious time with little ones wherein you can get messy, creative and a tad bit wild. I mean, a water table in the house? Not so much. I’ve rounded up my favourite fun and inexpensive outdoor activities to engage your littles with, during the sweetness of summertime, what are yours?
- Water & Sand Play: water and sand tables have become very popular and also quite expensive. You can find some on amazon or on sale that are cheaper, hunks of plastic. As a lover of all things DIY and wood-over-plastic; I scrounged up a couple of easy tutes that no one has to be a carpenter super-star to master. I actually prefer an old school sand box over the table ones, especially the combo water/sand tables. What kid isn’t going to dump the water into the sand and vice versa? I’d like to keep it separate and save the mud play as another activity. Other fun water activities that are age old winners: going to the beach or the splash-pad, backyard pool time, running/crawling through the sprinkler and bubbles for blowing, a bubble machine and bubbles in the water.
- Picnics : At the park, at the beach, in your backyard – wherever. Bring messy finger foods, juicy seasonal fruit and let them get sticky messy. That’s what the summer is for.
- Play Dates: Invite your lady-friends (or man-friends, whatever) and their kidlets to join in on any of these activities for added Whoo-Hoo factor.
- Art & Crafts: You can get really messy with this and just hose them off in the driveway after. Kidding. Sort of. I like to have the pool filled and warmed up by the sun prior to letting them get their craft-on. Then I turn on the sprinkler and let the crawling, running and splashing begin, thus – bye-bye paint, glue, glitter, etc.
- Dirt & Mud Play: You know you loved making mud-pies as a child. This is perfect for practically all age groups and c;mon. Mud pies people. Mud pies. I bet you’ll have fun getting dirty with this one too.
- Tent & Fort Action: Get creative with goodwill blankets and sheets, adding rocks and sticks for architectural balance and weight. Use your picnic table and chairs. This is a gooder for day or night, add twinkle lights and/or bust out the flashlights for shadow play or story-time. Heck, set-up camp in your back-yard with your tents and sleeping bags, make a fire not forgetting the smores…all with the convenience of being at home.
- Camping & Festivaling: You may think I am cukoo-nutters for this one with such young ones, and I’m here to tell you that I am. Except not certifiably so. We did it last year, when Abby was only weeks old and weathered an epic rainstorm that we had to set-up camp in (in the dark) followed by a nasty heatwave. It was made all the better by the fact that we were at this sweet little festy surrounded by delicious music, beautiful family and friends and excellent children’s programming. So I’m thinking the weather Gods may be good to us this year and if not, we’ll all still have fun.
- The Drive-In: Wyndham has recently gotten into watching kid movies from beginning to end, and some of my best memories from childhood are those ice-cream sticky, gravel in my shoes kind of ones courtesy the drive-in. I don’t remember watching movies much, but more running around like a wild banshee with flashlights, having a rare splurge with junk food, hollering in the arcade, hanging upside down in the park, rolling around in blankets and pillows in the grass, or the best: all out joy of at least starting to watch a movie on an air mattress in the back of a pick-up truck or van. Our little ones may be too young to fully get the awesome that is the drive-in; but since we are adventurers and all, a few bed-times can be missed and a few sugar highs can be allowed. I envision letting Abby play and muck about for the earlier part of the evening when we first arrive and then letting her fall asleep in her carrier or on the mattress while we watch a movie. We usually go with friends who have older kids whom Wyndham adores and he runs around them until he falls down passes out. Us adults wrangle when needed and have a general good hang, tail-gate style.
- Nature Walks & Bike Rides: I love going on long bike rides with the chariot or walks and hikes with the wagon. Now that Abby can sit up on her own, the wagon is a great way that we go adventuring in spurts; Wyndham likes to walk and run at intervals which is great exercise and promotes his sense of discovery and independence. The DIY water table (see #1) we are making this week (yet to decide on which tutorial), will also act as a great sensory table (void of water of course), that we can add all of our treasures to; found foraging during our treks. I also like mixing food stuffs with nature stuffsfor sensory tables. A nice array of texture and colours for little hands and fingers. Who says we can’t bring it in the house during the cold months for continued sensory play? And maybe, mayyyybe sometimes I’ll let the water runneth.
- The Park: sure, the zoo and amusement parks are fun – but little ones are just as pleased with all of the activity and fun things to do at the park. Watching the dogs play, meeting new friends, the jungle gym, slides and swings = toddler and baby bliss.
This post is sponsored by Disney Baby. I’ll be joining the Disney Baby blogging team next month, and look forward to sharing these kinds of stories (projects/ideas/etc) with you over there! Stay tuned for more details!