The leisure of summer paves the way to great adventures and learning experiences. Rather than tackling toddler boredom with TV or tablets, give them interactive and sensory experiences to feed their developing brains. Get a list of fun summer activities for toddlers to do in water, outside, and indoors.
Outdoor Toddler Activities
You don't want to be cooped up indoors when the sun is shining. While you can always grab your toddler and head to the park or go on a walking trail, you might also want to try these entertaining and creative toddler activities outside.
The woods are a magical place for your littles. They are filled with mystery and wonder. Take them for a walk with a basket and have them collect all different kinds of leaves. They can play with them or add them to a sensory activity or craft project.
Make Nature Crowns
Take your toddler for a walk. Give them a basket and let them collect flowers and leaves. Use their collections to create a crown for them.
Lay down in the grass and watch the clouds roll by. Have your toddler find shapes in the clouds. Make a game of it like "I Spy."
Dump out a bin of sidewalk chalk. Your little can use the chalk to work on tracing, draw fun creations, and just have a good time.
Jump the Square
You've heard of the floor is lava. Well, this is jump the square. Make several squares on pavement with sidewalk chalk that a toddler can jump. Have them practice jumping the squares. It's a great gross motor activity.
Some kids find rocks fascinating. Take a basket and collect rocks on a walk. You can take them home and create a fun rock jar for your little one to enjoy.
Grab a mason jar and take a stroll through your yard or a local park. Help your child collect interesting bugs and caterpillars along the way. Make sure to steer clear of those bugs that might bite or sting.
Go to the Beach
Pack up your swimsuit and supplies and make a trip to the local beach. You might also choose to go to the community swimming pool if a beach isn't close. Make a day of playing in the water.
Sandcastles aren't just for building at the beach, although that's a great toddler activity. Can't make it to the coast? Add a little water to a sandbox or fill a bin with sand and water. Help your toddler create a fun castle and moat from the comfort of home.
Search for Beach Treasures
Most of the time, seashells and other cool things are found on the beach. However, if you have a collection you gathered during a recent beach trip, you can hide them in a bin of sand or a sandbox. Your little can use their shovel to search them out.
Color Toss Game
Games with colors are great for toddlers. Grab a few colored pieces of paper and some balls to match. Have your child practice throwing the ball onto the matching paper. Make sure they shout out the color they are looking for, so they start to make the connection. You might want to try colors like red, white, and blue for the 4th of July.
Let your littles get their fingers in the dirt by planting a garden. Have them dig holes and drop the seeds in.
Go to a Splash Pad
Hit up a free splash pad in your area. Toddlers love the sprinklers and dumping out buckets of water.
Go to a Petting Zoo
A typical zoo might be a tad too dull for a toddler. However, they are sure to enjoy a zoo where they get to pet the animals. You can find petting zoos at county fairs.
Have a Bike Parade
Grab the craft supplies and decorate their bike or tricycle. You can let them help you decorate yours too. Have a fun parade with your colorful bikes.
Dance in Bubbles
Dancing and bubbles are a sure-fire winner. You can break out a container of bubbles. You can also create a water and dish soap mixture using a pool and hula hoop. Have your toddler dance around the giant bubbles and giggle in delight.
Play in the Sprinklers
Nothing makes a hot day more fun than a sprinkler. Turn it on and let them run through it.
Go on a Treasure Hunt
Have you ever seen how psyched toddlers get for an egg hunt? They love finding candy and little treasures. Hide treasures around your yard and have them try to find them.
Dig for Worms
Wiggly worms are fascinating to buggy-loving toddlers. Give them a shovel and let them dig for worms. You might even use their collection to go fishing.
Magnify the Yard
Spark a little's curiosity and interest in science through yard exploration. Give them a magnifying glass and help them explore all the little creatures living in the dirt.
Camp in the Yard
Kiddos love to camp. Set up a tent in your backyard. They'll enjoy every minute under the stars, from making s'mores to singing songs.
Feed the Birds
Want to watch a toddler giggle? Give them some birdseed and have them feed ducks at the park or birds in your yard. They are going to be amazed by the surrounding wildlife.
Watch Local Concerts
Toddlers are true music lovers. Pack a bag and head out to a local concert in the park. Watch your littles dance around in glee.
Quick Rainy Day Indoor Summer Activities for Toddlers
You wouldn't think a freezer bag could be so much fun, but kids love a beach-inspired squishy bag. Grab a freezer bag, food coloring, water, and several cute plastic ocean toys. Throw them in the bag with a bit of water and blue food coloring. Close it up and watch them have fun moving the toys around in the water. You can even add a little super glue to the opening if you are afraid it will come unsealed.
Make a Tape Starfish
Toddlers are just learning to perfect their skills with tape and scissors. Help them use some safety scissors to cut strips of tape. You'll layer the tape to create a fun starfish. They can pull the tape off and put it back together to build their fine motor skills.
Much like the squishy bag, a beach bottle can provide lots of entertainment. Put little plastic ocean toys in a 20-ounce plastic bottle. A washed-out pop bottle works well. Fill it with water, a bit of glitter, and blue food coloring. Show them how to shake it up.
Picking up things with a spoon is a fine motor skill toddlers are trying to perfect. Give them a hand by putting several plastic baseballs in a bucket or container. Have them work to scoop the balls out one at a time with a big spoon.
Sensory bins offer hours of fun on rainy days. Use sand and scoopers to create a beach or summer-inspired bin. Toddlers will love it.
Shaving Cream Rainbow
Mix food coloring with shaving cream in containers. Have kids scoop the shaving cream into a clean container to create a fun shaving cream rainbow.
Sorting Colored Paper
Colorful paper sort is all kinds of fun. Toddlers get to use scissors and improve their finger coordination, but they will work with colors. Help toddlers cut up several pieces of colored paper. After they cut it all up, have them sort each color into different buckets.
When your toddler can't play in the water outside, bring it inside. Fill a bin with soapy water. Give your toddlers a container of dirty rocks and a toothbrush. Have them wash the stones. Watch them closely to make sure no rocks go in their mouth.
What toddler doesn't love to make a fort? Grab a bunch of sheets and throw them over a chair. Climb inside and read a book or talk about the stars.
Play With Jello
Jello is a summer staple. Use it to keep your toddler entertained. Just remember, this activity is going to get messy. Create a big container of a clear colored Jello (colored Jello will stain). Throw down an old shower curtain and let your child play with the jello. They can scoop it, cut it with their play knives, squish it, and more. They are going to love it.
Go to a Library Read Aloud
Local libraries offer summer reading programs for toddlers and preschoolers. Not only are these fun and interactive, but they are learning experiences too.
Water Play Activities
When it comes to summertime, water is on the brain. It doesn't matter what the weather is like; your little wants to be in the pool or playing in the sprinkler. But that's not always an option. Try out these fun water play activities for toddlers instead.
Ice excavating is fun and super easy. Fill a container with several toys and water. Allow it to freeze solid. Dump the ice cubes into a new container and give toddlers metal spoons to chisel away at the ice and dig out their treasures.
This activity is just like it sounds. Fill a container ⅓ of the way with ice cubes. Allow toddlers to smash them with their toy hammer or safe kitchen utensils.
Balloons are typically a no go for toddlers. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't take part in the fun. Cut sponges into strips and tie them together in the middle with string to make a poof. Allow your littles to dip the bombs in water and throw them around.
Squirt Gun Painting
Rather than pointing a squirt gun at each other, let them make a little water art. Put a piece of colored construction paper on the ground, and they can draw with their water guns. If you're brave, you can fill squirt guns with paint and let them aim and shoot at a canvas for a truly original work of art.
Learning to pour water is more challenging than you think when you are two or three years-old. Help your toddler perfect the skill by having them play with water. Fill a container with some water. Let your toddler pour the water into a new container and back again.
Color mixing is just like a science experiment for wee ones. Fill several cups with water and drop food coloring in each one. Give your toddler a dropper and have them practice sucking up the colored water and putting it into a new cup. They can make some fantastic colors and are working on their pinching skills at the same time.
Make Flower Soup
Are you wondering what you will do with all those dandelions and weeds your little picks for you? Give them a bowl with water and have them make some flower soup.
Sink the Floaties
With splashing water, you can't go wrong. Fill a bin about halfway with water. Cut a pool noodle into several four to five inch pieces. Throw them in the water bin and let your kiddo try to sink them.
Scoop the Lemons
Lemonade is more common than water in the summer. Use those lemons to engage your toddler. Put some cut lemons in a bin of water. Tell your toddler to scoop them all out. Scooping games are excellent for fine motor skills.
Easy and Fun Art Activities for Toddlers
Art can get messy with littles, but it's fun and easy. You don't need a lot of setup to keep them entertained. Art projects are also great to do during the summer because you can take the mess outside. Create a few fun summer art projects to add to your home.
Grab the fun summer colors, a bit of cardstock, and your toddler. Help your child create a fun summer scene of your adventures.
Splatter painting isn't something you want to do in the house. But it's great out in the summer sunshine. Get a few non-toxic paints and let your toddler use their hands and brushes to throw it at the canvas. You can also use water with food coloring as your paint to create a watercolor piece.
Outdoor Window Painting
Your toddlers and preschoolers will love window painting. Take them outside with some paint and allow them to create masterpieces you can enjoy for several days or weeks.
Go on a walk and find some big rocks. Have toddlers paint them. You can have them decorate your yard with the colorful rocks.
Paper Plate Fish
Cut a paper plate into the shape of a fish, or allow your toddler to cut it with assistance. They can use crayons and markers to decorate their fish.
Buy some colored sand and throw it into a bin. Have toddlers play with it to create fun, colorful art.
Grab a paper plate or a piece of cardstock. Roll some paint onto your toddler's hands. They can use their handprints to make a bright yellow sun or cute fish.
Mix water and food coloring into several cups. Have littles dip the sponge into the water and tap it on a piece of white paper or cardstock. You can help guide them to create a friendly sun or cloudy sky.
Did you get some seashells on your most recent trip to the beach? Take out the paints and let your little ones use their imagination to make them even more beautiful.
During the summer, you have marshmallows and typically some whipped cream. So, you can easily do this fun summer activity. Mix food coloring and whipped cream. Have your toddlers dip the marshmallow into the whipped cream to paint on to a plate. When they are done, they can eat their creation.
Thread Pool Noodles
Toddlers are constantly learning from the world around them. Help them perfect their hand-eye coordination by having them thread pool noodles. Cut several pool noodles into three to four inch pieces. Have kids use a piece of rope to weave them together. It's fun, and they create a new fun water toy.
Torn Paper Art
What kiddo doesn't like to destroy stuff? Well, now they can. Have toddlers rip up several pieces of tissue paper. Give them a plate. Help them use a glue stick to glue the paper onto a piece of tracing paper. You have a cool new light catcher or fun stained glass art.
With all the picnics you've been enjoying, you should have a few plastic forks on hand. Help your toddler dip the fork into the paint and create a sun or starburst.
Rocks are fun. Gather up several dozen rocks large enough that your toddler can't stick them in their mouth. Have them create shapes by lining up the stones. They can make hearts or circles.
Summer Activities Toddlers Will Enjoy
While you can also take your kids to museums and do other indoor activities during the summer, the weather often allows for outdoor fun. The great outdoors can be a relief. Mom and dad are usually more lenient about running, jumping, and shouting when outside, which means that young kids can do what they do best without getting in trouble. Another benefit of outdoor activities is that many of them are free or have lower admissions prices than museums and concerts. Enjoy the great outdoors with your kids for lots of adventure and exploration, not to mention learning and laughs.