6 MORE New Things To Try At The Park With Your Toddler
The park has always been my go-to with my littlest, Poppy, and my older ones never complain because, well, it’s the park. But playing on the structures can get repetitive and boredom can slowly take over. So, I came up 6 more ways to keep your little ones busy. They are tested and true as Poppy seemed to enjoy them–don’t worry, if you’ve done a lot of these already, you can read my earlier post for more ideas.
Play a game of “pickup trash.” We do this anytime we are outside whether it be the park, hiking, geocaching, etc, and our big kids are super aware of trash since we practiced with them when they were younger. Throwing trash away actually taught Poppy to be more mindful of it when she sees it on the ground and take action to pick it up. Take turns finding various pieces of trash (using common sense as to what you want your little one picking up). I like to do a walk around and scope out what kinds of trash we see on the grass or sidewalk then point them out to her what is ok to grab. Once you’ve collected a few pieces, help lift them up to the trash can to throw away. Hi-fives!
Practice balancing/jumping on or off various objects. Maybe its the light pole base or the service grates. For sidewalks, try to pick one that runs longer so she can practice balancing on her own for a while before hopping off. Once she had enough of balancing, we picked out all the service grates and jumped on those as well. This can go on for a while as there are plenty surrounding at any park. This is a good exercise if your toddler is just learning how to jump and one that we sometimes overlook as parents.
Look for treasure. AKA, go geocaching. This activity isn’t just for adults and big kids–exposing the little ones to geocaching can be a new adventure. Before you know it, they’ll be asking to look for “treasure” wherever you go. Check the Geocaching app for nearby caches (you’ll most likely see some in the area) or read up on what it is and how it can be a fun family activity. We did this with Poppy by herself recently and she got so excited when we were able to find a cache. She even got to pick out an item left behind by a fellow geocacher.
Stop and smell the flowers. If you are near a park with lots of flora, take the time to pass by and smell the different petals. You will be amazed at how one sniff will put a smile on your little one’s face. Poppy does this frequently then rubs the petals to feel the textures. Sometimes we even explain to her how to smell a flower that has thorns, lie roses–being careful to watch out for sharp or pointy branches.
Jump in puddles and make footprints. Ok, this is actually one of MY favorite things to do in the park. I cannot promise parents won’t love it too. Stomp, or walk through a puddle of water and leave footprints behind as you leave the puddle. This is a good one to throw in last-minute while Geocaching or taking a walk in the park when your toddler is losing interest fast. Take advantage of the dispersed run-off water from sprinklers and create side-by-side tracks of you and your child’s feet on the sidewalks.
Climb trees or boulders. This is probably the most underrated but most fun activity to do and it can be done at any park–as long as there are climbable trees and rocks fit for smaller kids. Over the years this feeling doesn’t change, rather you become more confident in your kids that they will figure it out. Climbing trees is a great way to build critical thinking skills and allows kids to challenge themselves. Hold their hand or let them jump off a stump or rock if they feel up to it.
Do you have some favorite activities you like to do at the park that aren’t listed? Comment below and don’t forget to tag your adventures outdoors with #raisingkidswild for your chance to be featured in our weekly outdoor inspiration series every week.