If your one-year-old is anything like mine have been, outdoor activities are the perfect remedy to just about anything. Having a tantrum? Need to get some extra energy out? Bored? Whiny? Excited? Go outside!
There is something about the great outdoors that sparks joy in even the littlest members of your family.
If you are a new mom or are just a little unsure about the kinds of activities you can do outside with your little one, this post will help you to find your way. Outdoor activities are the perfect opportunity to keep your one year old entertained in a relatively easy and (free!) way.
Read on to find some of the best outdoor activities for your one-year-old:
First on the list – water activities. Water activities are the most obvious (and popular) choice for outdoor activities for one-year-olds, and for good reason! Water activities are an easy and often free way to entertain your one-year-old for hours, plus it keeps them cool.
Especially in the long summer days, water activities can help you and your one-year-old pass the time.
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1. Enjoy a Sprinkler
Looking for an inexpensive good time? Try a sprinkler! One-year-olds love running through the water shooting out of a sprinkler! Plus you need very few supplies! Simply grab a sprinkler and a water hose and you are all set!
Have them run through the sprinklers that are already in your lawn, but if you don’t have a sprinkler system, you can easily buy a kid’s version! Try this turtle sprinkler from Amazon that your little ones will love!
2. Try a Kiddie Pool
If a sprinkler isn’t exactly what you had in mind for a water day, try putting up a kiddie pool for your little one. They will love splashing around and swimming with you close by their side.
There are several options when it comes to kiddie pools including this one from Amazon which just offers some basic water play or this style that has a few more options to play around with like a fun slide!
3. Use a Water Table
Water tables are the perfect addition to any outdoor play. Your one-year-old can engage all of their senses in this fun and exploratory play. Simply grab a few cups, spoons, or even bath toys and they’ll play in there for hours!
This is a great option if you don’t want your little one completely immersed in water on a cooler day or if you want an option that can be brought inside during the winter months. Try this water table from Amazon for hours of fun play.
4. Inflatable Splash Pad
Not able to make it to the splash pad in town? No problem. With an inflatable splash pad like this one from Amazon, you and your one-year-old can have a blast splashing and playing in the water in your own backyard!
This splash pad holds just a tiny bit of water so it is not too deep and is perfect for younger children. They’ll have fun running through it, similar to a sprinkler.
5. Water Balloons
Water balloons are a blast, but filling them up isn’t always easy. If your little one enjoys playing with water balloons, consider purchasing one of these self-sealing water balloon sets on Amazon! INSERT AFFILIATE LINK
6. Water Squirters or Guns
Water squirters are a great way to play in the water outdoors with your one-year-old. These squirters from Amazon are easy to use, and will allow everyone to have a great time!
7. Just Add Sponges
Add some sponges to a bucket of water or your little one’s kiddie pool and watch the magic happen. Your one-year-old will enjoy filling the sponges up with water and squeezing all of the water back out!
As a bonus, this is an excellent way to increase those fine motor skills your little one will need to write as they get older.
8. Hit the Beach
Sand, water, sun… what’s not to love? If you are looking for a fun and easy activity to do with your little one outdoors, the beach is a great place. You and your little one can wade in the water, build sand castles with this fun set, have a picnic, and soak up the sun. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
9. Frequent a Splash Pad
Not ready to purchase your own inflatable splash pad? No worries! Most towns have a splash pad within city limits and if not there is usually one close by. Find the best splash pads in your area and take your little one for a visit!
10. Frozen Toy Play
Try this quick and simple frozen toy ice cube activity for your toddler. If you need an outdoor activity to help your child cool off in the summertime and stay busy, this is it. The coldness of the ice cubes will be fun for your baby to nibble on and play with. This activity promotes fine motor skills and fun sensory play.
11. Ice Block Toy Dig
Keep your toddler staying cool with this fun ice block activity on a hot, summer day! Simply place a bunch of small toys in water, stick it in the freezer, and hand your kid some small tools. They’ll love watching the ice melt and learning about how water changes from a solid to a liquid.
12. Toy Water Scoop
A simple sensory outdoor activity for your toddlers or babies. Use a spoon to scoop small toys out of a container of water for fun outside play.
Related Post: Summer Bucket List for Kids Free Printable
Backyard or Park Activities
There are many outdoor activities you can participate in right in your own backyard or at your local park. Whether you are looking for something classic, or something with a little more ingenuity I’ve got you covered.
1. Sand Box Play
Take some time to allow your one-year-old to explore around in a sandbox. I promise they will love it! Whether you go to the park or grab a sandbox to play within your backyard your little one will love digging, burying, and building in a sandbox. Try this sandbox for your backyard, and while you are at it add on these fun sand toys!
2. Practice Gardening
Gardening is an important skill, and little ones love to help garden! You can grab a fun gardening set like this one, and allow your little one to the garden right alongside you in the backyard! You may even consider allowing them their own patch of dirt to plant a few things in.
3. Ride a Balance Bike
Around 18 months is the perfect time to start increasing your one-year-old’s gross motor skills and allowing them to practice on a balance bike. Balance bikes are the perfect choice because they allow your little one to practice balancing before having to learn all the coordination of peddling at the same time.
Related Post: How to Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike Using a Balance Bike
4. Draw with Chalk
Chalk is a great way to pass the time outdoors. You can get it in several colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. Your one-year-old will enjoy the bright designs they can make on the sidewalk, and you will be happy for a few minutes of entertainment! Try this non-toxic chalk from Amazon.
5. Ring Toss
Ring toss is an easy game that even a one-year-old can play. Grab a set for your backyard and get playing outdoors with your little one today!
6. Create an Obstacle Course
An obstacle course is a fun, easy, and free way to have some fun outdoors with your one-year-old. You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you like. Your one-year-old will have a blast completing the course with you, and building those motor skills.
7. Play Chase or Tag
Your little one would love nothing more than to be chased around the yard or playground by you or a sibling. Playing chase or tag is a great outdoor activity for one-year-olds.
8. Do Some Digging
Get dirty! Let your one-year-old dig in the dirt and find what they can inside. Watch closely especially if your little one is prone to putting things in their mouth, but otherwise allow them to really “dig in” and have fun.
9. Grab a Ball!
There are plenty of different balls of all kinds of shapes and sizes to play with outdoors with your one-year-old. Consider grabbing a t-ball set, a soccer ball and goal, a small basketball hoop and basketball, a volleyball set, or even just a large inflatable ball to play in the backyard.
10. Blow Bubbles
One-year-olds love to blow bubbles, and you can make blowing bubbles easy with toys like this bubble machine!
11. Go On a Picnic
Everyone loves a picnic! Take your little one’s lunch outdoors with a fun blanket and a basket. Finger foods will work best for this trip!
12. Pitch a Tent
Tents are fun, and your one-year-old will find them extra exciting. Just pitch a tent in the backyard and pretend to go camping! While you’re at it- you might as well roast some s’mores over a fire!
13. Go On a Nature Hunt
What can you find outdoors? Pinecones, sticks, fun rocks, feathers? Take your little one on a nature hunt and bring a baggie along the way so you can collect the items.
14. Do Some Nature Rubbings
All you need for this activity is some paper, crayons, and some items you found in nature! Just place the paper over the item, and then rub the crayon over it! Your little one will delight in the patterns and textures this creates.
15. Read Outdoors
Change up your reading routine by reading outside! You can do a story that relates to the outdoors or just any book that your little one enjoys. This is a great way to foster a love for reading.
Places you Can Visit Outdoors
There are so many places you can visit outdoors with your one-year-old while still enjoying the outdoors! Try one of these next time you feel like venturing past your backyard.
1. Farmers Market
You can support local farmers, get some yummy treats, and spend time outdoors all in one with this fun outdoor activity. This is a perfect time to teach your little one about healthy choices and where food comes from.
2. Go Berry Picking
Take your little one to a berry patch near you! You can pick strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or whatever local fruit grows near you. This activity is perfect for one-year-olds, and a lot of the berry farms will have other activities for you to participate in outdoors as well.
3. Head to the Zoo
The zoo is a great outdoor activity for one-year-olds and there is so much to do! Besides looking at animals, you can also visit the park, explore different exhibits, hike, and even find some fun treats.
4. Find a local Festival
See if you can find a local festival to enjoy with your little one. Many local festivals offer rides, treats, petting zoos, games, and more for you and your one-year-old to enjoy.
Best Outdoor Play Items
If you are wanting to spend more time outdoors with your one-year-old, it is likely that you want some awesome outdoor play items to make the time even more enjoyable. Here are some of my top picks:
5. Climbing Structure
Looking for a place your little one can monkey around? A climbing structure is a perfect addition to any backyard playground. Try this one from Amazon and get it shipped right to your door!
6. Mini Trampoline
A mini trampoline is a great way to get some energy out when playing outdoors, and because it is so small and low to the ground it is perfect for your one-year-old.
7. Caterpillar climber
This caterpillar climber is a great addition to your backyard. Your one-year-old can practice climbing on, around, and through this fun outdoor piece.
8. See Saw
This see saw is a great way for your one-year-old to practice balancing and gross motor skills, all while having a great time! Plus it can be used by multiple kids at once, making it a great addition to your play space.
I know firsthand how hard it can be to keep little ones entertained during these times! We are all navigating a very different reality and can use all the help we can get! I hope you try one of these outdoor activities with your one-year-old.
Just trying out a few of the activities, or grabbing one or two of the suggested supplies can really go a long way in keeping your one-year-old entertained this summer!