Summer is a great time to get outside with your toddler. There are many valuable lessons are tons of fun. Just don't forget the sunblock!
"Surf" the local parks. Each park can bring new adventures and new friends for parent and child. Parks are great for a toddlers gross motor development and are a great way to let them run off any extra energy. Going to various different parks lets them try new equipment and get different perspectives of the world around them.
Study the clouds. Pull out a blanket and lay down in the grass. Point out the clouds to your child and guess what they look like. Ask your child what he thinks they look like. This is a great way to stretch your child's imagination and get in some cuddles.
Go chalking. Take your toddler right outside with some sidewalk chalk. You can draw pictures for them to fill in, they can draw pictures for you, or you could write messages to other members of the family. Chalk offers endless possibilities. Play guessing games or attempt to teach your toddler how to play Tic Tac Toe. Chalking can also be a great way to work on fine motor skills or learn the ABC's.
Blow bubbles. Buy bubbles or make your own. Making bubbles can be a great "first" science experiment for a toddler. Get different types of wands and experiment with sizes and shapes of the bubbles. Toddlers also have a great time chasing and popping bubbles.
Sand and Water Tables. They can be purchased or you can have fun by taking an old tub, some toys, and filling it with sand or water. On rainy days you can also take it indoors and fill it with noodles or rice. This is great for a child's fine motor development and sensory-motor skills.
Observe and collect bugs. Try to put aside your negative feelings about bugs and have fun. Kids don't know that bugs are yucky, so they love those little creepy crawlies. Show your child the differences between, flies, crickets, and ants. Go out on a nice evening and teach your toddler about the mystical firefly.Plant flowers and/or vegetables. Get some flower seeds and/or some vegetable seeds. Have some fun planting, watering, and watching them grow. Once the flowers are grown have fun picking them and giving them to loved one. Use the vegetables as snacks and have your toddler help you make veggie kebobs. A great kid friendly veggie is a pumpkin. The earlier they are planted the bigger they will get. Watch them grow with your child and when it is ready to be picked, you an paint them, carve them, or eat them.
Go for a nature walk. Go to a wooded area or along a country road or along the banks of a local stream. Point out all the animals and talk about the sun and clouds. Make up funny names for the flowers. Spend a good physical activity having a fun time with your toddler.
Have a picnic. Get up in the morning and have your child help you pack a lunch of sandwiches, fruits,veggies, and maybe a yummy cookie and head out to a park, or some other picnic area. Spend some time playing and chatting and enjoy your lunch together. Talk about your favorite part of the day and then relax and enjoy the summer breeze.
Go to petting zoo/farm. For the kids who don't mind the big animals petting zoos are great for hands-on kids who love animals. Talk to your child about the animals and let them investigate how they live and play with them. Make sure you take a camera because it could be an interesting day. Make sure you wash hands well afterwards.
Go kite-flying. You will probably have to hold the reigns for a while and a cheaper kite might be best. Most kids love to see stuff flying and will probably be fascinated. Keep in mind most toddlers will not be able to keep the kite up on their own.
Have an outdoor photo shoot (even if you aren't the greatest photographer). What a confidence builder! Let your child run and get dirty. Let them laugh and carry on. Get pictures doing any of the above activities. When your child is older the pictures will be a reminder of how much fun he had with you. The more candid the shots, the better they will be!
All of the above activities focus on areas of a child's development and are important to a child's growth. Spending time with your child is the BEST way to help them become confident and strong individuals. Any activity you do with them is beneficial to their well-being, so have fun and enjoy them!
By Lindsay Gorsach for Associated Content