Indoors or out, toddlers can generally find a way to create a little havoc, when they’re in the right mood. Making sure your little one is outside, somewhere with plenty of safe opportunities to let loose when he’s in that kind of mood is generally a lot easier on your home Climbing at the playground and using the ride-on toys there are fantastic, but sometimes the best games and chances for growing stronger, learning, and getting active are the ones that they play with you and others!
Catch a ride
Art isn’t just for rainy days or quiet activities, and sidewalk chalk is a great way to make masterpieces that you and Baby can interact with. Grab some chalk and draw some roads on your driveway or sidewalk. From there, you can use cars to follow the lines, or, even better, be the cars and trucks and busses yourselves! These activities encourage lots of movement and noises and give you the chance to watch Baby at his imaginative and entertaining best!
Right on target
Baby may not be quite ready for the intricacies of team sports yet, but if you’ve got a ball or two and a cardboard box lying around, you can get him started on a few of the basic skills involved by setting up a toddler-friendly ball toss game. The bigger the box is, the easier it’ll be for Baby to get the ball into the box. You can add layers of challenge by moving the box further away, by using your own ball to compete with him, or by coming up with your own variations on the game to keep things interesting.
Another use for spare boxes and balls is to set up a little tame target practice. Put the boxes on their side and using paper cups standing inside the boxes as the targets, have your child throw the balls at the cups. Practice different tosses or just enjoy watching your toddler use the biggest ball to knock down the most targets!
On a hot day, you and Baby, or Baby and a friend, can use sponges and buckets for a variation on a race. One bucket is already filled with water and a racer plunges the sponge into the bucket with water, pulls it out, and brings it over to another empty bucket to squeeze it out, filling up the empty bucket as fast as the racer can. The other racer does the same – who will win?
If that game is a little too complicated for your toddler, it’s just as much fun to use big sponges to make huge, wet marks on the hot asphalt. From there, you two can jump, run, or hop to the “sponge splats.” To keep using those sponges, a toddler car wash race is always fun; remember that most kid’s toys can handle water, so Baby can wash blocks, cars, and other plastic toys!
With a crowd
If your toddler is playing with older kids, a fun game that everyone can play is Freeze Tag. One person or a small group of people decide to be “it” and they run around and touch children who have to freeze in place. To un-freeze, another child has to touch them. This game is best for a group of children who are used to playing with younger siblings or toddlers, as they do need to be gentler with younger children. A less pushy variation can be musical chairs, or Freeze Dance, where music is used to encourage movement, but once the music is off everyone has to claim a chair or freeze or they’re “out” and have to wait for another round of the game.