Over the past year and a half, children have been forced to spend more time indoors than ever before, and this has had tremendous effects on their ability to regulate their emotional responses to both their own stress and that of others. Our own ability to control personal stress and anxiety has been put to the test, making it more difficult for us to see our children’s struggles. Toddlers, in particular, can struggle with emotional regulation that can worsen when they don’t have an outlet for their boundless energy. Here are some of the best and simplest calming outdoor activities that can help calm down your irritable toddler.
Make Rock Pictures
Toddlers love collecting rocks of different shapes and sizes, so use their natural curiosity to help them create pictures of animals, letters, and numbers with their newfound treasures. Your toddler can also sort them by size and shape, and they can be fun to paint as well.
Nature Color Sorting
Spend some time outside with your toddler gathering leaves and flowers and let them sort into different color groups. This is a fun way to create nature collages as well. All you need is glue or mod podge and construction paper.
Create Sidewalk Chalk Art
My toddlers spent many stress-relieving hours outside with a few pieces of sidewalk chalk and a bucket of water (for ‘chalk painting’ as they called it). You can also help your child make beautiful sidewalk chalk mosaics with masking tape and chalk. Check out how by visiting Bilingual Beginnings for step-by-step instructions.
Have a Toy Wash
Toddlers love to help with “grown-up” chores, and involving them in these activities can help them feel valued and appreciated. Grab a few plastic tubs and your child’s most-loved toys, and take them outside for a good scrubbing. Your toddler will enjoy this activity’s repetitive nature, as it helps them to focus in order to accomplish a task.
Make Shadow Art
All you need is paper, a pencil or crayon, toy dinosaurs or other figures, and a sunny day. Show your toddler how they can make shadows of different sizes depending on the time of day and angle they’re drawing from. They’re guaranteed to love it.
Make Rainbow Foam
This easy-to-make DIY Rainbow Foam from the Play Inspired Mum is the perfect outdoor calming activity for toddlers. Involving them in the creation process helps them develop several valuable skills, such as experimental play, creativity, and fine motor skills. The best part is that you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen.
Play in the Sand
Another fun outdoor kid activity is to have your toddler grab their favorite dump trucks, buckets, and shovel and head to the nearest sandbox or beach (if you’re lucky). The texture of the sand offers lots of calming tactile sensory input, and your toddler will love building sandcastles or filling up their trucks for transport.
If you live near a lake, pond, or even a stream, help your toddler collect some quality skipping stones and have them give it a go. For the most part, they’ll just throw the rocks into the water, but that in and of itself is a calming activity.
There is nothing more relaxing than watching bubbles float lazily in the breeze when it comes to calming outdoor activities for toddlers. This calming outdoor activity never grows old, and it requires your toddler to concentrate on using their breath to create their own bubbles which is a great way to incorporate mindfulness activities for kids.