Outdoor Activities for Preschoolers

Got a a bored preschooler on your hands? Take ’em outside! A blast of sunshine and a bit of a breeze go a long way toward turning a tiny frown upside down. No need to travel far to get the grins going again — these outdoor activities are delightfully doable right in your yard or neighborhood.


Chances are your preschooler has already met — and fallen in love with — Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. With a little sidewalk chalk, the endlessly munching insect becomes the star of this sidewalk or driveway game. Start by drawing a large chalk circle, two or three feet across, with a face and antennae, then add ten or 20 more circles to create your jumbo-size caterpillar. Challenge your toddler to run from one end of the caterpillar to the other (a stopwatch makes the race even more exciting). Preschoolers can try bunny hopping or leaping from circle to circle, or even challenge themselves not to step on any chalk lines. Vary the color of the circles and this becomes a learning game as you encourage your critter to jump from red to blue to green.


Introducing your preschooler to the wonders of nature is a wonderful way to stimulate his curiosity about the world. Plus, growing a plant will give your toddler or preschooler a huge sense of accomplishment. Getting started is easy: Just transplant already-thriving seedlings into pots filled with a bit of potting soil. Keep your veggies in these containers as they grow or plant them in the ground if you like. Either way, tomatoes, green beans, and basil are reliable, kid-friendly options; but feel free to check out what’s growing at your local nursery, which is yet another fun outdoor activity to do with your preschooler!


What kid doesn’t love bubbles? This outdoor activity takes the fun to a whole new level by mixing your own bubble solution. To start, add one cup of dishwashing soap (like Dawn) to a gallon of warm water. An extra two to three tablespoons of glycerin, available at your local pharmacy, is the secret to super-big bubbles. Pour your concoction into a flat, rimmed tray, like a sheet-cake pan, and dip in a large DIY wand, made by bending a wire hanger into a loop. Teach your toddler to lift the wand slowly and walk backward to let loose a gigantic bubble. If you like, experiment with making different kinds of wands with straws, pipe cleaners, even fly swatters. And if you really want to go big, pour your solution into a wading pool and use a Hula-Hoop to make monster sized bubbles