Outdoor Activities with Toddlers: Dirt and Water!

A little while back a mama asked for suggestions of outdoor activities.

Of course, as she and everyone knows, you give children a patch of dirt or grass and many will just get to it. Still it’s good to have some quick and easy ideas on hand. I hope to make this the first of an Outdoor Activity Series in which I post about things we are doing and things resources/ideas I find on the web.

We had a lot of gardening work to do on a gorgeous day. On a whim I filled a jar with water to let her “make mud pie.” We started out with a simple, one jar activity. Quickly, I felt inspired to get a few of the bottles that I used to create a pouring activity a while ago.

Easy Indoor/Outdoor Toddler Activity: Previously, I just gathered a random assortment of bottles — maple syrup, broth, squirt bottle, milk jug, etc.–with a bin in which to pour the water.

The original indoor activity

Creative play: Decided to scoop water from the bin and pour from one container to another. Simple yet difficult task that requires perception, focus, steadiness and coordination!

Even more successful was throwing the bottles in the tub as a fun/special bath time. I tried for a range of pouring styles — squeeze, squirt, sloppy glug and the more traditional pour. Since we were already outside in the garden, this time I added the element of mud and all that the great outdoors has to offer.

As usual, my daughter made this activity her own as she surprised and delighted me with her exploration and discovery.

"Can I get in here?" YES!

Dump the water!

Hmmm, that feels different....

Digging....where did the water go?

Glug, glug, glug....

Water pours outside....


"I want to water THIS one plant!"

Pooour....oh, what's happening up there?

Pooour....Hey look how the water goes down!


Wow, look at this thing go!

"Clean the slide...."

What happens when I squirt UP the slide?

Squirt my hand.....

Squirt mama through the window!

As you can see, what I thought would be fascinating fun making mud pie turned out to be a big squeeze bottle adventure. For about an hour, she squirted everything she could see, simply enthralled by this thing. While daddy did some important work in the garden, a few random bottles, some water and some dirt made for one happy toddler!

What have you been doing outdoors with the arrival of spring’s warm weather?

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