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Toddler Years

Summer Activities for Toddlers: 15 Tips, Tricks & Ideas

By Pehr
Jul 07, 2023  •  Last Modified Apr 26, 2024

Summer is the perfect time to get outside with your little one and enjoy the fresh air, open space and carefree nature of being out and about. Outdoor activities help expose your child to an entirely different environment with lots of new things to explore and learn. So, if you’re looking for summer activities for toddlers, you’ve come to the right place! Here are our top 15 tips, tricks and ideas to get out for some fun in the sun.

Table of Contents

  1. Arts & Crafts
  2. Water Play
  3. Nature Games
  4. Summer Activities for Toddlers: Essentials
  5. Summer Activities for Toddlers: Tips

Summer Activities for Toddlers

Arts & Crafts

We can’t talk about summer activities for toddlers without mentioning arts and crafts. The best part about outdoor arts & crafts in the summertime? You don’t have to worry too much about making a mess. This means you can focus more on having fun and less on coloring inside the lines. Give yourself and your little one permission to embrace the process and just go with the flow. Here are a few arts & crafts ideas to get you started.

  1. DIY Chalk Paint: Hand your little ones a few pieces of chalk and let them use the driveway or sidewalk as their canvas. If you're looking to keep them engaged longer, get them involved in a little DIY before they get started. You can transform sidewalk chalk into paint by grating it and adding some water. Your little ones can even help with this second step! Put each colour into a different container and give your child some paintbrushes. Let them mix and match colors to create a palette. The best part? This will wash away quickly and easily.
  2. Spray Bottle Art. All you need is spray bottles, water, a large piece of paper and some liquid watercolors. Mix a few different colors together and let your little one have some fun creating a vibrant masterpiece.
  3. Pet Rock. Looking to incorporate nature into their next arts & crafts project? Why not have your little one bring a rock to life. Start the day by going on a hunt for the perfect subject. Then, set up a station where they can turn that rock into a new pet (one that you won’t have to worry about feeding or walking!). Set out some paint, pipe cleaners, a few googly eyes, a little glue and let your toddler get to work.

Toddler boy playing with sand pail

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Water Play

Summer just wouldn’t be the same without splash pad games, refreshing dips in the pool or a trip to the beach. So, when you’re planning summer activities for toddlers, make sure to include a little water play where you can. If you don’t live by a body of water or have access to a pool or splash pad, worry not! We’ve got plenty of ideas to easily incorporate water play on warm sunny days.

  1. Ocean Sensory Bin. All you need is a container, some blue food coloring and a few ocean creature stand-ins. Some of seashells, a little sand, and a few sea creature toys will do the trick. Set your child up with some ladles and a sand sifter so that they have some tools they can use to explore the ocean environment you’ve created for them.
  2. Ice Boat Racing. The night before race day, add about two inches of water into a small cup, cover the cup with foil and create a small slit in the top of the foil. Push a lollipop stick through the slit and let the water freeze overnight. The day of the race, have your little one create sails for their boats and glue them to the stick. Then Create your race track, you can use whatever you have on hand for this. Try a flat surface you can tilt to give your boats some momentum. Once it's set up, you’re ready to race. On your marks, get set, go!
  3. Washing Station. A washing station is a fun way to teach your child about taking care of their clothes and toys. Set up a tub of water with soap, another tub for rinsing and another area for drying. Teach your little one how to wash, rinse and dry their toy cars, clothes or dolls. A learning opportunity and a fun activity all rolled into one? It’s a win-win.

Nature Games

Summer is the perfect time to get your little ones acquainted with Mother Nature. Here are a few fun activities for toddlers that focus on outdoor play.

  1. Scavenger Hunt. Scavenger hunts are a great way to encourage your little ones to explore their surroundings. Make a simple scavenger hunt checklist and help your child find the items one by one or print one off and make it your own.
  2. Nature Art. Encourage your toddler to create something around the natural world. Collage art is a great option. Start by collecting flowers, plants and leaves, and create a collage by arranging your findings on a piece of clear sticky paper. When your toddler is done creating, add a second sheet of paper on the opposite side. Place the finished product in a window so the sun illuminates your little one’s beautiful art.
  3. DIY Paintbrushes. Turns out, Mother Nature makes the best paintbrushes. You can use twigs to create paintbrush handles and add on different materials to create brush hairs - flowers, leaves and plants all work well. Attach them to the twigs with elastic bands and let your toddler have fun creating paintings with different colors and textures.

Toddler girl in Pehr outfit playing by pool

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Summer Activities for Toddlers: Essentials

  1. Outdoor Play Mat. When you’re setting your little one up for outdoor play, having a designated surface is key. An outdoor play mat or picnic blanket are great options. Look for something reversible and machine-washable for easy clean ups, and one that folds or fits into a large pouch to store and go.
  2. Swimsuits. Planning a water play activity on a hot day? Remember to pack a swimsuit and poncho towel. From one-pieces to rash guards, find a style that keeps them sun safe and comfortable.
  3. Bucket Hat. When planning summer activities for toddlers, always keep sun protection top of mind. A great mineral sunscreen is key if you and your toddler are planning a day outdoors, but SPF alone won’t do the trick. Make sure you have a hat on hand with a wide brim for added protection.

Summer Activities for Toddlers: Tips

  1. Leave room for exploration. It’s helpful to have a structured activity set up for your little one if you’re planning a day of summer fun, but try to make space for exploration and free play. This is how they express their creativity and hone their imagination.
  2. Get involved. The more engaged you are in play with your little the more likely they are to engage in the activity along with you. Call on your inner child and dive into some nostalgic summer fun.
  3. Be mindful of the heat. If you’re spending an extended period of time outdoors, be mindful of the heat. Remember to have lots of cold water on hand and be sure to take breaks in the shade to avoid sun exposure and overheating.

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We hope this list of summer activities for toddlers has you feeling excited and inspired for a great few months of fun in the sun with your little ones. Remember to take lots of pictures and embrace the season to the fullest!

Frequently Asked Questions

Summer is a great time to get outside with your children but rainy days will inevitably keep you and your toddler indoors from time to time. Here are a few activities you can try out to keep your child entertained on the days they can’t get outside:

Throw an indoor dance party. Turn the music up and let loose with your little. This is a great way to expend some energy.

Bake a special treat. Find a toddler-friendly recipe to tackle with your little one, let them help with some mixing or kneading, and enjoy the treats together while you watch the rain fall.

Set up an indoor scavenger hunt. Who says scavenger hunts can’t happen indoors? Create a guide for your little one of items they can find within the house and help them check off their list one item at a time.

If you’re looking for summer activities for 2-year-olds, the good news is that there is no shortage of ways to keep your little one entertained. Here are just a few ideas:

Sensory bins. A sensory bin is a large container or tub filled with objects that stimulate your toddler’s senses. Summertime is a great opportunity to take this activity outdoors and add some water play to help your little one cool off on a hot day.

Scavenger hunts. Indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts are a great way to keep your little ones entertained and help them explore the environments around them. Keep them easy and simple and make sure you’re on hand for a little support when needed.

Arts & crafts. Art projects are a great way to help boost your little one’s creativity and confidence. Give them a few supplies and let them figure out the rest. When it comes to arts & crafts, it’s best to let your child play and explore on their own terms.

Swimming lessons. If your toddler is eager, now is a great time to start with swimming lessons or trips to the splash pad to get them accustomed to the water.

When you’re a toddler, everything you encounter feels new and exciting. So boredom is rare but it is also not impossible. It’s important to note, however, that boredom may not always be a bad thing. In fact, boredom can help your little one develop skills like creativity, self-esteem, and resourcefulness. Don’t worry too much about having an activity planned for every minute of the day. As you and your toddler fall into your weekly routines you’ll find the right balance between activities and free play to help keep your little one engaged.

A summer bucket list is a great way to ensure you and your family make the most of the summer months. rite down your bucket list together as a group and make sure that there are activities on the list that everyone will enjoy. Gather some art supplies and a large piece of paper to make it a fun event. Put the bucket list up somewhere visible so it remains top of mind and check off the items as you go. Bringing a Polaroid camera along for your adventures and adding the pictures to your bucket list as you check items off is a fun momento. You’ll be left with an amazing keepsake to remember all of your fun summer activities.