6 New Things To Try At The Park With Your Toddler
I’m first to admit that there are days when I don’t have the energy to put into going on a hike. But I have a toddler and sometimes I prefer to be outside than indoors–especially if the sun is shining. On those days, I try to find activities to do with her that are fun but don’t necessarily mean a whole excursion and packing up a ton of gear. Going to the park is our go-to, default activity–but trips can get repetitive and coming up with new ideas to keep it interesting is a challenge. Here are some new things to do with your toddler that you can add to your toolbox of park fun that will keep them interested and parents wanting to come back even more.
Collect different-sized sticks and ask her to arrange them by length. We did this and then I asked her to choose the one that is the smoothest, the one with a branch hanging off it, and so on and so forth. You could organize a bunch of different kinds for this activity.
Pick up some rocks and throw them down storm drains or grates. Acorns work too! Poppy does this on walks and it’s something that’s accessible in every park or sidewalk. My 10-year-old suggested we play a game using things around us (leaves, sticks, acorns/rocks). The object of the game is to drop an item over the grate and see what falls through. If something gets stuck, you go to the next person until someone gets something to fall through.
Find some pill bugs or “roly polys” and hold them. My toddler loves this. My big kids still love finding and observing them. We get a bunch and when they’ve rolled into a ball, we wait until they uncurl and see what they do.
Squirrel-watch. Your kid will squeal in excitement and focus on finding more once they run away. Make a game of it and try to see what tree they jump to, looking up to each canopy to find them.
Make dandelion crowns or necklaces. I like this tutorial. Have your child help pick flowering ones and some that have gone to seed. She can blow the ones that have gone to seed while you are assembling the flowered ones into crowns or necklaces.
Use the same sticks you found earlier to make music. Drag the sticks across the play structure bars to make sounds. We also use them to bang on stools or pieces that resemble drums. Take turns trying out the heavier and lighter sticks, noting the sounds they make.
Playing doesn’t have to just be about the same parks you visit everyday. These fun additions will make an everyday visit to the park more enjoyable for your child and yourself. What other kinds of activities do you do with your toddler at the park? Let us know in the comments below or tag us with your photos on Instagram using the hashtag #raisingkidswild.