After being cooped up for months because of the cold weather, springtime brings this sense of urgency to spend time outside. But as new life begins to blossom, how do you enjoy nature when it’s muddy, wet, and often pretty rainy with little kids? No matter what the weather, here are 33 spring outdoor activities for toddlers that will encourage them to learn and enjoy our beautiful earth.
My daughter loves to spend time outside, but finding activities that keep her attention isn’t always easy. It’s important that she is learning life skills and has the freedom to explore God’s beautiful creation.
The BEST Spring Outdoor Activities for Toddlers
In this list, you will find everything from parent-led activities to things to do in the rain. We have tried most of these activities on this list, while others are on our bucket list.
I have included a few things that you can purchase, but I tried to give you ideas that are mostly in your backyard!
You will notice that many of the activities on this list are inspired by forest schools and Montessori. My hope was to include things that toddlers will not only enjoy but will help them to explore and learn independently too!
At Bless Our Littles, we like to talk about things we love and think you might enjoy too. Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. Which means we will receive a commission, if you click on a link and make a purchase. This is no extra cost to you. There are some products we have tried and others that we haven’t but think would be helpful to you!
1. Paint with Nature
Go out and find things in nature to paint with! This could be anything from leaves to pinecones. Your toddler will enjoy finding these things and will like being able to get messy with paint!
I love this tutorial by Toddler At Play. She shares tips, tricks, and a supply list for what you need to paint with nature!
I also found a Flower Stamp Art guide on her website too!! As those pretty new blossoms pop up, you can pick them to make stamp art with paint. Maybe even turn them into a mother’s day card for grandma!
2. Nature Walk Flower Pots
My daughter has always loved to pick dandelions. We usually just put them into a mason jar in the house, but recently we tried this cardboard vase drawing. It kept her busy trying to put the flowers into the holes in the cardboard!
3. Nature Treasure Box
Use up some old egg cartons and make them into a treasure box! Your toddler will enjoy carrying them around and hunting for nature treasures!
If your toddler is into colors, you can simply paint the inside of the egg carton with different colors for them to find in nature. This is a great way to encourage them to look for specific things and apply the colors they are learning about.
4. Rocks + Leaves Sensory Bin
Toddlers really enjoy sensory bins. You could make a nature bin by using leaves as the filler and hiding rocks or pinecones in it.
I loved this idea of putting the alphabet on rocks and hiding them in the leaves. This is a great activity if your toddler is ready to start matching the letters up!
5. Stone Matching
There are a couple of ways you could do this, but right now my daughter is enjoying using sidewalk chalk to outline some stones. Then she matches them back up after we are done tracing them.
You could also do this on a poster board, if you want to go rock hunting then use something a little more permanent, so they can do it again and again!
6. Draw with Chalk
I needed to add this because although it may seem obvious, somehow I forgot about doing this with my daughter. I also didn’t realize they have different kinds of chalk that are shaped a bit more toddler friendly.
7. Erasing Chalk Lines
Most toddlers love water and chalk! After drawing on the pavement, give them a bowl of water and a paintbrush to “erase” it.
8. Start a Garden
Most kids love any excuse to play in the dirt. I encourage you to start a garden with your little one. Give them gardening tools like a watering can and shovel.
You can start a garden that is toddler friendly. Here are some popular seeds that are easy for them to grow.
9. Sand Table
What toddler does not love sand?! If you haven’t already, invest in a sand table so they can enjoy pouring, mixing, and building things. This really helps them to develop their motor skills!
10. Jump in Puddles
My number one tip of advice for toddler parents is to invest in rain boots. This will be the best thing you’ve ever purchased. It’s nice because you can let your little one enjoy exploring in the rain and jumping in puddles without worrying about them ruining their clothes.
Just the other day, we went outside to jump in puddles and some of the neighbor kids came out to join us! The kids loved to splash around and even brought over some of their dump trucks and buckets. They had a blast… and us moms enjoyed a few minutes to catch up and talk.
11. Collect Sticks
There are so many things that you can do with sticks. I love all the ideas that The Lady Birds Adventures has on her blog.
We love to collect sticks on our walks and then use them to stir mud pies and to draw in the dirt!
12. Ride a Trike
It seems like every toddler in our community has a trike! These are a huge hit and help to get out their energy. If you haven’t invested in one, you definitely won’t regret it.
13. Blow Bubbles
My daughter never gets bored of bubbles. She loves to catch them and try to pop them. Recently, she’s even tried blowing them herself!
14. Make Mud Pies/ Mud Buckets
One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to make mud pies. This activity does require play clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
Your toddler will enjoy filling up buckets with dirt and adding water. They can practice stirring, pouring, and molding it too!
Here are some other fun ideas on how to play with mud!
15. Mud Art
I wanted to make this a separate point because I feel like there are so many ways that you can use mud as art. One of the most common art projects is mud painting!
They can also build sculptures much like you would with clay!
16. Make a Bird Feeder
Right now, my daughter loves to watch and listen for the birds. We decided to make a bird feeder, so she could enjoy them up close!
Here is a great tutorial on bird feeders for children!
17. DIY Balance Beam
It seems like my daughter is climbing all over everything these days. She will find anything to balance on or even try to jump off of.
We’ve started laying scrap wood on the ground to let her practice balancing.
Lately, we’ve been on the lookout for old tree stumps or small rocks for her to practice climbing (safety).
18. Help with Outdoor Chores
Toddlers are very helpful creatures by nature, so they will most likely be thrilled to help you with chores around the yard. You can have them help with raking, sweeping, and shoveling dirt!
I mentioned this earlier, but this is a great opportunity to get them involved in prepping the garden too!
19. Play with a Ball (Kick, Catch, Throw)
Let your toddler practice kicking, catching, and throwing a ball! You can even have different sizes so they have different textures as well.
20. Painting Rocks
If you don’t enjoy messy projects in the house, you will have to try rock painting outside! This is a fun way for your toddler to paint while using nature at the same time.
You could put their painted rocks in a sensory bin when they are done too!
21. Rock Stacking and Balancing
You may notice that I have lots of rock-related things on here and that’s because my daughter has always been obsessed with rocks.
One of her favorite things to do is gather a bunch of rocks in her wagon and then practice stacking them. I think it’s great for her hand-eye coordination, while also learning how to balance things.
22. Nature Collage
This activity will require a bit more guidance from you, but it’s a fun keepsake that they can even hang in their room. A nature collage is really a collection of their findings (maybe do this for items in their treasure box) that you preserve.
You can check out this amazing tutorial by Kids Activities Blog!
23. Nature Paint Brushes
I had never seen these before until I was searching around on Pinterest for naturing painting ideas. These nature inspired paint brushes seem like such a fun way to combine nature and art together in one.
24. Leaf Threading
This spring outdoor activity is perfect for learning hand-eye coordination. Here is a great tutorial by Kids Craft Room!
We love finding leaves (both old and new) to practice threading. My daughter has become quite creative with what she puts on her thread. Sometimes she figures out a way to get flowers on there too!
25. Cutting Tray
If your toddler is showing interest in using scissors, you may want to try a cutting tray. This is where you take a bunch of treasures from your adventures and put them on a tray. Then your toddler can practice cutting them. Since there are many different textures and thicknesses, it makes it a little more of a challenge!
26. Make a Flower Bouquet
Whether your toddler wants to use scissors or they are all about picking flowers, make a bouquet. We like to bring a mason jar with us and fill it with the pretty spring flowers we find.
This is a great time to teach them the difference between a plant that is budding and one that is in full bloom.
27. Go to a Tulip Festival
There is so much to see and experience at a tulip festival. Not only will they get to see all the beautiful flowers, but there are typically other fun outdoorsy events that they can enjoy too!
28. Visit a Local Botanical or Japanese Garden
When you notice that flowers are beginning to bloom, you must visit your local botanical or Japanese garden. With so many paths and trails to follow, your toddler will love to walk around and see all the pretty flowers.
There are so many colors and textures, which is great for keeping your toddlers attention.
29. Go Fishing
My husband loves to fish, so he started introducing my daughter to fishing. She enjoys “casting” her line into the water. Although she really likes when he catches a fish! This is a fun bonding experience for both your toddler and their fishing partner.
30. Mud Faces on Trees
This is actually on our bucket list to try! I love the simplicity of this nature-inspired art project. But basically, you take clay, mud, or play dough and push it on tree bark. Then your toddler can decorate it.
Many of the blog posts I’ve seen, show their toddler making a face out of things in nature. I’m just not sure my daughter will think to make a face. I feel like things will get stuck to it in a bit more random fashion.
31. Make a Fairy Garden
I mentioned gardening earlier, but making a fairy garden is a little bit different. This is something that your toddler can really get involved with, even after it has been created!
Here is one of my favorite fairy gardens!
32. Decorate a Flower Pot
Another outdoor art project that is fun for toddlers is to decorate a flower pot. Whether you use paint, stickers, or even markers is up to you! But this will keep them busy and then they can enjoy the fruits of their labor long after by planting herbs or flowers in it!
33. Introduce them to Foraging
Last but not least, introduce your toddler to foraging. I have been very interested in how to do this, so I’m definitely not an expert. Although I think it’s a great opportunity for you both to learn more about nature and how it is used to nourish our bodies.
It doesn’t matter if it rains or shines, your kiddo will be sure to enjoy these spring outdoor activities for toddlers. I hope these ideas inspired you to get involved in the beautiful creation God has given us, so your family can spend more time outside!
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