Don’t the little ones just love to be outside?! It’s such a wonderful thing to see them start taking an interest in the world outside the house. It’s natural that the backyard or front yard is where they take those first steps.
If they’re on their own you’ll often find them doing something inappropriate like running over to other people’s yards or playing with the garbage can or just wondering around aimlessly. This can be quite unnerving and unsafe for our children!
That’s why today I bring you some great, yet simple activities you can share with your toddler. Plus, everything’s a learning opportunity! So you’ll be teaching them new skills, words, and concepts along the way.
Let’s get started! Here are the top 11 outdoor games for 12 – 18 month olds:
Make a crawl space for them
As the little ones prepare to take their very first steps, they spend the whole day crawling around. So it’s nice to support them and tap into this activity they enjoy so much. You can take them outside and create an outdoor crawl space for them to enjoy the sun while they exercise a bit!
You can put blankets on the grass so you make sure it’s nice and soft for them. To make it a bit more interesting, you can spread a few of their favorite toys around so they have fun getting them and moving them from their spot. You can also do a little picnic with their favorite baby foods! This can be a lovely Sunday afternoon activity to enjoy with the whole family.
Make your own sorter
There’s really no need to spend money on this type of toys because you can make sorters out of anything! Of course, some people will likely order sturdy sorter online. Those are actually cheap. You can get one from Amazon for $9,99. Get some ping pong balls; if they’re white, you can paint them in different colors with the help of your toddlers. Allow them to be a part of the activity’s preparations! Doing something together creates bonding in parent-baby relation. I know you would prepare everything quicker yourself. But take your time. When preparation starts – play starts. Sorting activities are a great way to introduce the names of the basic colors and to practice the fine motor skills.
Get some ping pong balls; if they’re white, you can paint them in different colors with the help of your toddlers. Allow them to be a part of the activity’s preparations! Doing something together creates bonding in parent-baby relation. I know you would prepare everything quicker yourself. But take your time. When preparation starts – play starts. Sorting activities are a great way to introduce the names of the basic colors and to practice the fine motor skills.
Once you have your little balls ready, get a container you can modify. Take the lid and cut a hole big enough on the top so that the ping pong balls can fit in. It can be a yogurt container or an ice cream container, it’s really not important. Just make sure it’s clean!
Get an ice cream scooper or another type of spoon that’s deep and big enough to scoop up the balls and explain to your child what they have to do! They have to scoop up the balls and get them into the container. If your child is still too young to use a spoon, you can allow them to use their hands. This activity is great to develop hand-eye coordination and it will keep them entertained for quite a bit.
Search and find
All you need to make this little game for your kids are a few empty trays, some toys, and some colorful tissue paper. You can make several trays and spread them in the backyard so your kids can go around looking for their treasures.
Take your empty tray and fill it up with torn up tissue paper. Choose toys that are small enough to make it a bit of a challenge to find, but big enough so they won’t be a choking hazard! Try to use the toys they like most, and make sure you hide them with the tissue paper.
Congratulate them for each item found! Encourage them to keep looking and to have fun. Make them laugh and enjoy yourselves while you’re playing these little games. You can even make it themed and buy animal toys, so each time they find a certain animal you teach them the names and the sounds!
Make a balance beam
If you have a few 2×4 planks of wood just gathering dust in your garage, it might be time to get them out and give them good use! Once your toddlers start taking their first steps and growing comfortable with walking, you should find ways to strengthen their balance.
Balancing is actually a very important gross motor skill for your toddlers to learn! So this homemade balance beam allows them to practice without the risk of falling or getting hurt. This exercise also helps them build their core strength while they’re having fun challenging themselves.
Take your boards and arrange them in a line, but you can even add corners to make it a bit more challenging. Just set your boards down on the grass on whatever pattern you like and get your kids to walk on them without touching the floor!
That’s right! We know how toddlers like to be messy, so it can be fun to tap into that and allow them to get their hands dirty while they have some fun. This is something you can do on your porch where there’s not much wind so the drawings don’t fly away.
Making edible paint is as easy as pureeing your toddler’s favorite fruits and adding a bit of food coloring to enhance color and make it brighter. You can choose berries to make red, blue and purple paint, kiwis to make green paint and bananas for yellow! You can also get it quickly from Amazon for $14.99. It is edible organic food paint, safe for children.
Now just pick up some brushes, some paper and take your kids outside. You can sit them in the porch’s table or on the floor, just make sure you cover the surface with something because it will get messy! This edible paint is not the greatest paint ever. But it’s enough to introduce babies to the idea of paint without exposing them to toxic materials that they will most likely want to put in their mouths.
Plus, you help them develop fine motor skills by enabling them to use their hands and fingers!
These sensory jars make a great activity for both babies and toddlers! They’re very easy to make and they’re really colorful so they will keep the kids entertained while they’re outside. Just stack up on empty peanut butter jars or other plastic jars! Once you have enough, get some water, some food coloring, and some soap. You can add glitter as well!
If your kids are old enough to follow you along, allow them to make their own sensory jars. If they’re still too young, it will be just as much fun to play with what you make for them. Just take a jar and make sure you take off the stickers so the jar is clear, fill it up with water, and add food coloring, soap and glitter. Shake it to get everything mixed and that’s it!
Your kids will have fun shaking the jar just to see how much foam they can create. They will also roll around the jar on the ground and even hold it up to the sun to see how the glitter shines brightly.
Hide and Seek
This is one of the classics that are great for pretty much any age! Just make sure you adjust to your children’s abilities. The point is to make it fun for them, not frustrating. Plus, they will practice gross motor skills as they run around the yard trying to find you and cognitive skills as they think of ways to use the space when it’s their turn to hide.
Just have them cover their eyes and spin a couple of times while you hide. Make sure there’s another adult around keeping an eye on them while you hide and maybe assisting them when it’s their turn. If there aren’t many spaces to hide in your yard, make sure to create a few for them to use.
Just get your children’s building blocks and take them outside for a little fun! Help them build the tallest tower you can and teach them all of the different ways they can stack up the blocks to create different types of towers and buildings.
This is great for them to practice and strengthen their fine motor skills as they use their hands and fingers. They also get to practice hand-eye coordination as they make an effort to create their towers without having them crumble! But actually, destroying them is probably the coolest part of the play.
This is great for those days that are a bit hotter than others. Put their bathing suits on and take them outside. There are several ways you can play with water. You can create an obstacle course that’s challenging but not too challenging for your toddlers to go through. You can take several containers or buckets and fill them with water for them to splash around with.
Each container can have a different type of toy, one of them can have floating balls, bath toys, small cups, sponges, or anything else your toddlers might find fun. This is a great way for them to try out different textures and to just have fun exploring each bucket around the yard. Make sure that the water is drinkable in case they fancy zipping it, so don’t add any soap of color to it.
There are so many ways you can reuse cardboard boxes! You can make cardboard cars, space rockets, planes, little houses, or anything else you might think of. Get a few boxes, crayons, paint and put your imagination to good use.
Bring your kids outside and have fun decorating the cardboard boxes and turning them into whatever they decide. After that, they can wear them and run around or simply play with their creations. It’s a great way to exercise fine motor skills and to put their imagination to work!
Baby baths in the sun
Take your baby bathtub outside for your little one to enjoy a different experience. You can make it fun for them by allowing them to crawl around on the grass for a while before bath time. Bring their favorite toys with you so they don’t get restless while you get them cleaned up.
It’s also a great opportunity to splash around a bit in a different setting. They can enjoy the sun, the warmth, the breeze and all of the sounds that you can hear outside.
There you have it! These are simple activities for you to share some quality time with your babies and toddlers. They will enjoy their time and be happy, and you will get to further their development through fun and games.