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    BlogParenting Resources15+ Outdoor Activities for 1 Year Olds that Combine Fun and Learning

    15+ Outdoor Activities for 1 Year Olds that Combine Fun and Learning

    The outdoors is a treasure trove of opportunities to let toddlers have fun and learn at the same time! If you’re looking for outdoor activities for 1 year olds that you can try outdoors, look no further. Whether you decide to take your little one rock hunting in your backyard, or on a picnic at the park, these activities are just what you need to take playtime outdoors! 

    15 Amazing Outdoor Activities for 1 Year Olds

    A mother and her baby on a picnic blanket with a large stuffed rabbit

    1. Watering Plants!

    What you will need:

    A bowl or glass of water (or a watering jug small enough for your child to carry) and a flowerpot with a plant! If you don’t have any flowerpots with plants at home, feel free to step out of the house and into your backyard!

    What to do:

    Step out of the house with your toddler and a child-friendly bowl, glass, or watering jug and help them to water surface-level plants that they can access with ease! Draw your child’s attention to the water as it’s soaked into the soil, and eventually absorbed. 

    If you’re searching for activities for 1 year olds that can help them cultivate a curiosity for nature, look no further! Some parents may even prefer to stay indoors with their child and help them water plants at home. If you’re interested in other great indoor activities for 1 year olds, we’ve curated exactly what you’re looking for!

    What your child will learn:

    Watering plants is a great activity that can nurture their curiosity and encourage them to understand the world they live in.

    Related Reading: How to Make Gardening With Children Fun and Educational

    2. Picture Books at the Park

    What you will need:

    A picture book or two and a nice and comfortable shaded spot at the park

    What to do:

    You can never go wrong with a picture book! All you have to do is get comfortable with your child and draw their attention to illustrations on the pages as you follow the words in the story, page by page. Notice their eyes as they survey the illustrations on each passing page. When you’ve run out of picture books, make sure to visit your local library to check out their latest offerings! 

    What your child will learn:

    A quick story can do wonders for your child, as it is a sensory experience that engages their sight and hearing.

    3. Blowing Bubbles

    What you will need:

    A bubble maker set should work just fine, but if you don’t have that, try baby shampoo and your hands.

    What to do:

    When it comes to fun activities for 1 year olds, blowing bubbles is a low-effort but rewarding activity. Your child will enjoy trying to chase and burst the bubbles as they move along with the wind. You can even encourage your child to blow bubbles on their own, but exercise caution to ensure they don’t try and taste the substance you decide to work with! 

    What your child will learn:

    Observing the bubbles should enhance your child’s sustained attention, while the action of bursting them should ensure tactile stimulation and engage their fine motor skills.

    4. Exploring the Outdoors

    What you will need:

    Just some great weather, you, and your child

    What to do:

    The outdoors offer a great way to allow your child to learn through simple observation! Consider accompanying your child on a walk through your neighborhood as they explore the world around them, whether it’s running up to greet the neighbor’s friendly cat, or turning a rock upside down to discover insects at work! 

    What your child will learn:

    Short walks like this engage your child in many ways! They help develop your child’s gross motor skills and provide tactile stimulation when they engage with beings and objects.

    Related Reading: Enjoyable Kids’ Activities for a Whoopee Time!

    5. Swimming

    What you will need:

    Access to a pool, public or personal

    What to do:

    Taking your child for a swim at this tender age may seem a little early, but it can be a great way to bond with your child and lowers the risk of any accidents. This is a great time to start learning how to swim. Head on to your local community pool to to enroll for any parent-child water play classes.

    What your child will learn:

    Being in a pool is an experience that will engage your child’s senses while developing their muscle strength and body awareness.

    6. Go on a Picnic

    What you will need:

    A comfortable, shaded spot at a public park or in a garden, a clean bedspread, some snacks, and water

    What to do:

    Lay out a bedspread or picnic blanket under a tree, and allow your child an escape from the confines of familiar spaces and an opportunity to see new sights and discover new spaces! Whether it’s a bird they haven’t seen before or a park with new offerings, you can’t go wrong with the occasional picnic. Encourage your child to roam about as you keep an eye on them, before calling them back to your picnic site.

    What your child will learn:

    Roaming about in a new space and returning to the picnic site you have set up should help develop your child’s memory skills and sense of direction. 

    7. Trips to the Museum

    What you will need:

    A museum that you can visit with your child

    What to do:

    Start by searching for a nearby museum and visit with your child for what should be a memorable trip for you both. A trip to the museum is a great way to encourage their spirit of inquiry, given the many new sights and sounds they will be surrounded by. It’s hard to go wrong with this one! If educational activities for 1 year olds are what you’re looking for, trips to the museum are a must!

    What your child will learn:

    Taking your child to a museum can introduce them to a sensory experience with new offerings, unlike anything they’ve enjoyed before! There are tons of great things to see, and some exhibitions also offer exciting audio-visual experiences. 

    8. Attending a Music Concert

    What you will need:

    A kid-friendly music concert and a pair of comfortable walking shoes for you and your child

    What to do:

    Taking your child to a music concert can introduce them to a unique sensory experience that offers something a little different! Music concerts usually have other fun outdoor activities for 1 year olds to experience as well, such as performers and rides for children!

    If you can’t find a music concert happening near you, consider staying home and jamming to some music with your child! If you’re looking for activities for 1 year olds at home, let us walk you through the best!

    What your child will learn:

    Listening to music should develop your child’s listening skills while encouraging musical exploration. 

    Related Reading: Best ABC Song for Kids That Will Make Them Dance & Enjoy

    9. Going on a Stroll

    What you will need:

    Some free time and a pair of comfortable walking shoes 

    What to do:

    It’s easy to overlook the benefits that a simple stroll with your child can offer. A simple stroll can be a stimulating, sensory experience for a child that is still learning how to understand the world. Whether it’s a passing truck or a busy intersection, a simple stroll can reward their curiosity for discovery. Try to take out some time in your day and take your child on a stroll. 

    What your child will learn:

    Going on a stroll can help develop your child’s memory along with their ability to perceive and make sense of direction.

    10. Hop Aboard a Children’s Train

    What you will need:

    Children’s train rides near you

    What to do:

    Once you’ve found a place that offers children’s train rides, hop right on with your child! A children’s train ride is a great way to help your child discover a new place in a fun and exciting way. Whether the train ride zips through a small park or a carnival, it’s sure to have you asking for another ticket.

    What your child will learn:

    Being aboard a moving children’s train should offer an overwhelming sensory experience for your child, as they observe the world through this moving environment. 

    11. Playing at the Park

    What you will need:

    A park with a dedicated play area near you

    What to do:

    A trip to the play area at a park is a great way to allow your child to get to know and socialize with children around their age! Whether it’s a fun time at the see-saw with a new friend, or a race to chase squirrels, a park offers plenty of activities for your child to explore. This is also a great way for you to meet other parents and plan play dates for the future!

    What your child will learn:

    Interacting with other children offers a way for your child to develop their language and social skills. The physicality of playtime at a dedicated play area should also promote muscle strength.

    12. Rock Hunting

    What you will need:

    Just you and your child, and suitable weather conditions to roam outdoors

    What to do:

    Rock hunting is a great way to support your child’s curiosity! Take your child on a stroll to discover new rocks of different shapes and sizes. You don’t even have to limit yourself to rocks. Acorns! Flowers! Leaves! Exercise creativity. 

    What your child will learn:

    Picking up and discovering rocks of different shapes and sizes should be a tactile sensory experience for your child. The act of picking up rocks and other objects should also develop their fine motor skills.

    13. A Trip to the Zoo

    What you will need:

    Just your child and a zoo near you

    What to do:

    When it comes to outdoor activities for 1 year olds, a zoo is sure to impress toddlers. Once you’ve found a zoo you can take your child to, head right down for a visit with your child.

    Taking your child to the zoo can open them to the world of birds and animals they’ve only seen in books and on TV. This is a trip that’s sure to feed their curiosity about the world of birds and animals.

    What your child will learn:

    Observing new animals in person should develop your child’s sustained attention while encouraging exploration.

    14. Art with Nature

    What you will need:

    A small basket full of grass blades and flowers and a white piece of paper 

    What to do:

    After you have plucked some grass and flowers from your backyard, allow your child to arrange them on a white piece of paper. The sky can be yellow and the sun green. There’s no right way to do this. This should be far less messy than using regular paints, but do try and make sure your child doesn’t end up nibbling away. Outdoor activities for 12 month olds are aplenty, but they don’t get better than art with nature.

    What your child will learn:

    Arranging grass and flowers over a piece of paper should promote your child’s fine motor skills while nurturing their creativity. 

    Related Reading: How to Make Kids Camping Experiences Fun and Enriching

    15. Playing Simon Says

    What you will need:

    Just your child and a safe comfortable space outdoors, such as your backyard or a park

    What to do:

    Get started on a game of Simon Says. Take turns with your child as you help them develop an understanding of the game. You can have friends and family join in for a friendly game and see how it unfolds.

    When it comes to outdoor learning activities for 1 year olds, look no further than Simon Says.

    What your child will learn:

    Simon Says should help your child to develop cognitive skills with games while offering a way to get some fun exercise in.

    Benefits of Teaching Kids Using Activities

    A father and his child sit on some rocks

    While early childhood care typically focused on mental and physical development, there’s been an increasing focus on integrating movement and activity to ensure a more holistic development. As children are naturally active, outdoor activities for 1 year olds offer great potential to employ activities and movement for education. 

    Encouraging children to take up activities will improve their learning capacity, motor skill development, and promote their physical health!

    Head On Out!

    A toddler walks up an elevated log with a parent’s support

    So what are you waiting for? These outdoor activities for 1 year olds offer a great way to combine learning and fun for toddlers to make the most of their playtime! Head right on out and catch the sun with your little one with outdoor games!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    How frequently should I take my child outdoors for their playtime?

    As long as you’re taking appropriate precautions (sunscreen on sunnier days, appropriate clothing on colder ones) and your child is comfortable engaging in the activity you have chosen for them, there really is no upper limit! 

    Depending on whether you have your own backyard, along with the distance of your home from the closest parks, museums, and zoos (you get the idea!) this number may vary. Stepping outside with your child once a day should be sufficient.

    A lot of these activities can be done at home too! In that case, why should I consider stepping out with my child?

    They sure can! Being outdoors, however, provides a few extra advantages. Exposure to dirt from spending time in the backyard or at the park can help strengthen your child’s immune system, while exposure to sunlight can help their ability to create Vitamin D and sleep better! The feeling of being outdoors can also trigger the release of endorphins that can help brighten your child’s mood and day!

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