How to Encourage Your Toddler to Enjoy the Outdoors

In this day and age, even our little ones have to unplug and unwind.

While hopefully their screen time is limited, unplugging for them can also mean that you, the parent, has to put the technology down!

From a young age, you can encourage your toddler to enjoy the outdoors, so that they can grow up to enjoy it. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to do that.

1. Go outside.

That’s right! Believe it or not, you and your child need to be outside in order to enjoy the outdoors. The more exposure you give to your toddler during the day, the more they will accept it as a normal and important part of it.

2. Food is allowed.

A picnic is a classic and great way to spend time with your little one.

Put food anywhere and most toddlers are innately destined to follow. But while a picnic can often involve more planning than you may always have time for, there are ways to simplify it.

Designate “outside snacks” such as popsicles, ice cream, cookies with sprinkles, all of those messy treats you’d rather feed to the ants than your floor.

Now, if you’re getting a “doggy” vibe, don’t send your toddler out with a snack and call it a day. Enjoy the snack outside together. The positive endorphins from the tasty treat will associate lasting, positive feelings with the outdoors.

3. Get messy!

Rest assured you can make more of a mess outside than a few crumbs on the ground. The outside is a mess’ best friend and a sensory overload, so use this to your advantage.

Outside is perfect for new sensory materials; dirt, grass, rocks, flowers, the bark on trees. Increasing their sensory awareness is critical at a young age.

Put a water bucket outside, make bubbles, and have a blast! Stimulating their minds will stimulate their appreciation for the outdoors, and the best part is, you can skip the clean-up!

4. The sky is the limit.

Literally. If you want your toddler to truly enjoy the limitless possibilities of the outdoors, visit multiple locations.

Front yard, backyard, down the street, at the park; there are so many different parts of the outside for your toddler to enjoy.

The variation will prevent their short attention spans from getting bored.

5. Free the toys.

Make the outdoors personal. Let your toddler bring their favorite toy outside and help them to explore new things they can do with it.

I cannot tell you how many car ramps my son has found in the backyard; across the deck wall, up the swing support, and over rocks for off-roading.

I am proud to say for not even being two yet, his imagination is vast.


While we live in a typical suburban city, where temperatures actually reach 120 degrees, I can proudly say I have outdoor babies.

As soon as they can go outside, I have spent numerous hours reading books, having picnics, looking for bugs, and playing cars.

An appreciation for the outdoors and the world is a value that will last them a lifetime.


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