Ah, Spring! The weather is warming up. You are eager to be outside, and so is your toddler! Here are some fun activities your toddler can enjoy at home.
- Paint with water. All you need is a big, cheap paint brush and a bucket with about 2 cups of water. Your toddler can paint the deck, the porch, the side of the house, the sidewalk–anything goes. You can add a few drops of food coloring to the water and it won’t stain the surfaces.
- Nature walk. Take a walk (without the stroller) around your yard or neighborhood and stop to observe things closely. Is that a daffodil? What kind of tree is that? What color is that car? Do you hear the birds? Ooo, look at that leaf! Your toddler will love looking at all the details and small things we adults usually ignore.
- Toy wash. For this activity, you could use a large plastic truck, a doll, or even a big rock from your yard. Use a dishpan or a big plastic bowl. Put a couple of inches of water in it, and a squirt of mild soap or baby shampoo. Give your child a small scrub brush, a sponge cut in half, a shower scrubby or even a baby washcloth. Also, provide a small plastic cup or pitcher to scoop up water and rinse the object.
- Window washing. This is a great one for sliding doors or french doors. A small, trigger-type spray bottle, a small squeegee, a washcloth or sponge, and you’re ready to go! I suggest you mix a small amount of white vinegar into the water when you fill the bottle. This will keep your windows from getting hard-water spots and will keep your toddler from drinking the water.
- If you have a sandbox: Bury treasure in it. Shells, small plastic toys, river pebbles or any small, weatherproof object will do. Bury the objects a few inches under the sand and let your toddler discover them.
- Gardening. Keep your sessions brief and your expectations small. Buy a six-pack of plants and let your toddler dig a hole, then plant each plant. Bear in mind that your toddler may want to pull them up and re-plant them every few minutes. To water the plant, give your toddler a small pitcher and a water source (bucket, drink dispenser, or cooler). Fill the water-source container until it is too heavy for your Toddler to lift. Bear in mind that Toddlers like to “dump” water on things, so don’t be over-protective of the plants. Let your toddler go back and forth to the water source as often as they want to.
- Sweeping. You can find child-sized brooms at every store during the Spring. For safety, remind your child that the broom bristles have to touch the ground. A push-type broom works best because toddlers are not yet ready for the side-to-side motion of sweeping.
As always, don’t forget sunscreen and insect repellant.
If you don’t want your Toddler to get dirty…GET OVER YOURSELF! Getting dirty is the best part of playing outdoors!