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Having fun outdoors with your toddler

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Play & Learn Outdoor activities and games

Toddlers are full of energy – it can sometimes seem like they’ll never tire out! With everyone having spent more time indoors this year, you might have found it hard to let them burn off enough steam. But there’s nothing stopping you spending time outside and letting them use up all that energy – even if the weather’s not the best.

Getting outdoors is important for everyone's wellbeing, especially for younger children. There’s no such thing as too much fresh air, and getting active benefits your wee one in all sorts of ways. Being active helps their minds grow, it boosts their confidence, it helps them manage stress, it keeps them happy, and it even helps them sleep! That’s a lot!

It can sometimes be hard to think of new things that will keep your kids busy. But simple things like playing and running around outside are great fun for your wee one. Here are some ideas that other parents have found helpful. To avoid any hangry strops, try packing a snack like a banana or an orange will often keep them going until you get home.

Out and about

Fun with nature

Fun in the rain

What the parents say

Washing hands

It’s fun to play outside. Mud is good! However, it’s really important that we wash our hands when we get home. When we do, we lower our chances of catching and spreading germs.

Wash thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds – the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. Doing this helps us all stay safe!

What the professionals say

“For toddlers, playing is as important as eating the right, healthy food. Playing helps them develop their personality and most importantly it’s fun. But playing doesn't mean going out and spending lots of money. Chances are you’ll got loads of things around the house that will be just as fascinating to your toddler as expensive toys. Want to know your child’s favourite toy? It’s you. And playing will help you bond with your child. Kids love playing with parents, using them as a horse to trot around the house. Spend time playing with your child each day, even if it’s only a short period of time. This gives you both quality time together and makes for a happy child.”

Carol Ramsay, Family Nurse Supervisor, NHS Tayside Family Nurse Partnership (FNP)

Tickle for ticks

Remember to check for ticks after playing outside – particularly if you've been in long grass or woodlands. These little critters attach to skin underneath clothing and can make little ones poorly. Why not make a fun game out of checking for ticks – by having a good look then tickling for lots of giggles? For guidance on how to remove ticks, visit NHS inform.

Last updated: 24 May, 2022