Fall is here and school has started! But what about your toddler? If you’re a stay-at-home-mom, it can be hard to come up with activities to keep your little one entertained. It can be even harder to come up with outdoor fall activities for toddlers.
If you’re looking to cut down on screen time for your toddler, outdoor activities are a must. After all, no one likes being cooped up inside all day!
Being outside is good for everyone, toddlers included. Being outside gives your kids a chance to soak up the vitamin D they need, plus use some of that never ending energy.
But really, where do they get all that energy?!
However, sometimes it can be hard to find things to do outside, especially when it starts to get a little chilly.
To help remedy this dilemma, I’ve created a list of outdoor fall activities for toddlers.
Some of these ideas your little one can do on his own in the backyard (with you around, of course), and others you can do together.
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Getting Your Toddler Outdoors
Now, before we get into the actual activities, let’s take a quick minute to talk about getting your toddler outdoors. I know with all the current events going on, it can be hard to get both your toddler and yourself out of the house. But it’s still very important.
Even with sickness going around, it’s important for our health, mental well being, and even our immune system to get outside and be active. And the same goes for our toddlers!
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to hang around other people. If it’s not safe or wise to be out and about around others, then don’t. But don’t think that means you can’t leave your house at all.
Get creative! If you have a backyard, use it! Only have an apartment patio or balcony? Get creative and be outside as much as you can. Use the space you have available.
And if you don’t have any outdoor space where you live, get out and find some creative places to be. Find a park where you can be outside and still keep your distance. Look for hiking trails or ball fields were you and your child can get out and move.
Outdoor Fall Activities for Toddlers
Keep in mind that some of the ideas below may not be an option right now depending on where you live. But don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
Is there a way you could do some of them in a slightly different way? Don’t be afraid to modify and adjust to make it work for you.
1. Rake and jump in leaf piles
Leaf piles are a pretty classic outdoor fall activity—and one that toddlers adore! Grab yourself a sturdy rake and kill two birds with one stone by cleaning up the leaves in your yard and by letting your toddler enjoy jumping in the leaf piles.
2. Make s’mores (with supervision)
This fall could be the perfect time hang out in your backyard and teach your toddler to toast marshmallows and make s’mores. If you don’t have them already, some marshmallow roasting sticks can make the process much easier and less intimidating with a little one.
I know, having a toddler around a fire, no matter how big or small, can feel intimidating. Just be sure to have someone designated to supervise them constantly, as well as someone in charge of watching the fire at all times.
If you truly don’t feel comfortable trying this with a toddler, you can always get play s’more kit designed for toddlers. That way, you can at least pretend with your toddler. This is also a great way to start teaching about fire safety and handling food—without any risk or danger.
3. Go to the park
Do you have a park or a playground nearby? These places can make excellent locations for outdoor outings. Both you and your toddler will enjoy getting outside, especially with the fall leaves fall and the trees turning colors.
4. Go for a walk around the neighborhood
Of course, you can also just go for a walk around your neighborhood. Even if it’s just around the block or down the street, just getting outside is often enough.
You can hold your toddler’s hand and walk on the sidewalk, or have your little one ride in a stroller if you prefer. While I often prefer an umbrella stroller for a lot of our outings, I do prefer to use our Evenflo stroller for neighborhood walks.
The streets in our neighborhood don’t have sidewalks, and I’ve found that our Evenflo stroller does better on the edges of the road. No worries—we have very low traffic streets, and we’re always very careful on our walks.
5. Give wagon rides
Easy to do at parks or in your backyard, wagon rides are a toddler favorite. At least for my toddler! We have a Radio Flyer wagon that Elijah loves to ride in. And sometimes he just wants to pull it around himself.
Not only is this wagon incredibly sturdy, it has so many different uses. You can give wagon rides, or let your toddler fill it with his favorite collectible—sticks, rocks, leaves, you name it.
6. Collect leaves/sticks/rocks
Is your toddler a collector of sticks, rocks, or leaves? (Spoiler, I’m not sure there’s a toddler alive that isn’t) Elijah loves to find sticks. Recently, he started a rock collection on our patio. Sometimes the best activities are the simple ones.
7. Visit the local farmer’s market
Do you have a local farmer’s market near you? Assuming it’s open, farmer’s markets make great fall activities for toddlers. Even if all you do is walk around and look, your toddler will be sure to love it. And it can be a really fun outing for you, too!
8. Learn to play hopscotch
Maybe you’re stuck home this fall, but desperately need some activities to keep your toddler happy. Why not try teach your toddler to play hopscotch?
All you need is some sidewalk chalk, a small rock or sack, and some flat pavement or sidewalk. Hopscotch is a great game to teach balance, listening to instructions, and motor skills.
9. Practice throwing a softball
Fall is the perfect time to practice throwing and catching skills. And that’s a great motor skill for toddlers to be working on. Recently we tried having Elijah hit a ball with a stick as “batting practice.” He actually was getting the hang of it pretty quickly!
10. Practice kicking a ball
Just like throwing and catching, kicking is also a great motor skill for toddlers. You can just kick it back and forth, or try a little family kickball to engage the whole family. Just remember to use a softer kick ball to keep your little ones safe.
11. Help pick up fallen sticks/twigs
Got some yard work to get done before winter hits? Why not turn your fall work into some fun activities for your toddlers? Toddlers are great at picking up sticks and collecting things. Put that eagerness to good use and enlist them to help you out with your projects.
12. Look for bugs
Is your toddler into bugs? Mine was for a bit…and now suddenly he’s decided that they’re scary. I’m sure he’ll come back around soon, though.
Toddlers love to explore the world, and fall can be a great time to do bug activities. Make the most of it with a bug scavenger hunt or with a toddler bug catching kit.
13. Independent play time (great for developing imagination!)
While there’s absolutely benefits to organized activities, I also wholeheartedly believe in the benefits of independent play. As parents, we tend to try to fill every second of our child’s day with things to do. It’s usually done with good intention, of course.
But there are huge benefits to allowing boredom to occur. Don’t worry, your child will make it. In fact, the more opportunities they have for independent play, the less likely they are to be bored at all. So take them outside, and let them do some growing on their own.
14. Make a tent or fort using blankets
Making a tent or fort is a classic toddler pastime. There’s just something about forts and tents that make little kids so happy. Elijah is always making forts with his dad. And at his last birthday, he got a tent that he loves to play in!
15. Have a picnic (as long as it’s not chilly out)
Even though fall is known to be chilly and crisp, you can still catch some pretty nice days. If you have a warm day, why not make a picnic lunch and enjoy it somewhere outside?
Even just eating in your backyard will thrill your toddler. Just having a change of scenery makes it a special time for kids.
16. Look at the changing leaves
While some places in the country are better for this than others, don’t miss out on looking at the changing leaves with your child. While leaf watching may not be at the top of your list of activities for toddlers, it can still be a fun thing to do.
You may need to actively engage your child in this activity at first. Talk about how the leaves are changing, why it happens, and the different colors on different trees. Once you bring it to his attention, I’m willing to bet your toddler will start to notice all on his own.
17. Splash in puddles
Okay, you may be hesitant to do this one. But mama, don’t be afraid to loosen up a bit now and then! Get your toddler some sturdy rain boots (and some for yourself, too!) and go enjoy the puddles after the rain.
Toddlers love to jump in puddles. And if you join in, it will make their day!
18. Visit a corn maze
Are there any open corn mazes around you? While you will obviously need to stick close to your toddler for this outing, it can turn out to be a great time!
Corn mazes can be a lot of fun for the whole family. Let your toddler actively participate in this activity by helping to choose the direction. Just be sure to stick close to each other!
19. Visit a pumpkin patch
Pumpkin patches are another classic fall activity that’s great for the whole family. Our church set up a pumpkin patch the last two falls, and it was a huge hit! We went both years, and Elijah had so much fun picking out a pumpkin. It was definitely the highlight of his week.
20. Pick out pumpkins
Even if you can’t make it to a pumpkin patch, your toddler can help you pick out a pumpkin or two at the grocery store. A lot of grocery stores carry pumpkins in the fall, in a variety of sizes. It’s great to involve toddlers in even the simplest of fall activities.
21. Swing in the backyard or playground
While it may seem simple, just hanging out and swinging on a swing set can be a great outdoor activity. Thankfully, swinging doesn’t really depend on the season. As long as it’s not raining, you’re good to go.
What about you?
What are your favorite outdoor fall activities to do with your toddler? Share with me in the comments below—I’d love to hear from you!