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10 Ideas for Backyard Toddler Fun!

When I think back on my childhood I have so many special memories of time spent with my family. It seems, though, that most of these events took place during the summer months, and most of them happened outside.

So what were we doing, exactly?

I can assure you that we weren’t vacationing in some luxurious tropical locale.

We weren’t swimming with dolphins or traipsing through the world’s great urban centers.

And while we did our fair share of traveling and had many wonderful family adventures, the things I remember most about being a kid occurred in my neighborhood- or even my own backyard.

Summer can be a magical time when you have children. It can also be long, with one day at home seeming eerily like the day before. It’s tempting to spend our days indoors, watching television or playing video games. But when my kids look back on their childhood days, I want them to remember being active and playing- doing things together that don’t involve a screen.

Instead of waiting for vacation to entertain my children this summer, I’ve decided to plan one backyard activity each day for us to do together. They don’t have to be elaborate or costly or even require much time preparing for. The key is to have an attitude of adventure and fun and to make sure each of my children- even my toddler- can participate.

Here are 10 ideas for backyard fun with your toddler. Do you have a favorite?

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  • Create a Simple Summer Sensory Box 1 of 10
    Create a Simple Summer Sensory Box
    My toddler and I love this fun and easy activity. Here I've taken an inexpensive container and filled it with shells, items from the yard, and a random dinosaur. She loves exploring the items to feel the variety of textures and interact with them in different ways. I just plopped her on a blanket in the yard and she was good to go!
  • Construct a Kid Wash 2 of 10
    Construct a Kid Wash
    I love this idea. Some PVC pipes, pool noodles and sponges create a magical way to clean up after a day spent outside. So creative and fun!
    For instructions and more photos, visitFamilylicious.
  • Sensory Fun! 3 of 10
    Sensory Fun!
    There's no doubt about it: sensory play is important for encouraging your toddler's development. Here, water beads (typically used for gardening purposes) are used for sensory exploration. It's inexpensive, easy and most of all, fun! Photo Credit:
    Living on Love.
  • Make Flower Fairies 4 of 10
    Make Flower Fairies
    This is such a cute idea that I know my daughter and I would love. It would make a great keepsake project as well.
    Photo Credit:Family Fun
  • Play in the Clouds in Your Own Backyard 5 of 10
    Play in the Clouds in Your Own Backyard
    The ingredients are basic: water, Ivory soap, and toilet paper. A little microwaving and mixing and the "clouds" are ready for squishy, clean fun.
    For more detailed instructions see the post here:
    Play at Home Mom.
  • An Old Standby…the Slip-N-Slide 6 of 10
    An Old Standby...the Slip-N-Slide
    This is my favorite picture of my middle child from last summer. It captures the essence of childhood. Do your kiddos love the Slip-N-Slide as much as mine?
  • Go 7 of 10
    Go
    Hours of fun await your toddler in this handmade teepee.
    To purchase this pattern, visit Fiddle Dee Dee/Etsy.
  • Host a Messy Playdate! 8 of 10
    Host a Messy Playdate!
    A messy play date? Sounds like major toddler fun. Stations are set up throughout the yard: sand play, bubbles, even dirt! This is a creative backyard activity that your kids won't soon forget!
    For more photos and detailed "station" instructions, visit Click.Pray.Love.
  • Beat the Heat with Water Play! 9 of 10
    Beat the Heat with Water Play!
    This is another favorite of my toddler's. Fill a large tub or play pool with water, and give your toddler bath toys or other items like measuring cups or bowls. This is a great activity for speech therapy, color recognition, or playing matching games with your toddler.
  • Create a Toddler Obstacle Course 10 of 10
    Create a Toddler Obstacle Course
    This is another activity that can be played in many different ways, and it's totally up to you to decide how elaborate to make your obstacle course. We love to play games that work on gross motor skills like balancing, climbing, and crawling. Here, a wagon is used to weave in and out of pool noodles! For more information and ideas, visit Martha Stewart.com.

Top Photo Credit: Click.Pray.Love.

Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

More by Mary Lauren:

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