5 Fun and Cheap Outside Activities for Toddlers

We have a rule at our house that when the weather is nice, everyone needs to smell like dirt by the end of the day.  Where we live spring and fall seasons are short, and summer and winters can have extreme temperatures. So we try to play outside and soak as many pretty weather days as possible. Here are the fun, easy, and cheap outside activities that my almost 2 year old and almost 4 year old love.

  1. Sidewalk Chalk Paint  

I was at a discount craft store when I found two buckets of sidewalk chalk paint for $1.50. My daughter loves sidewalk chalk AND paint. So I thought putting the two together for a buck fifty, well this would be a great find. It totally was! She loved it.

The buckets contained powder that we mixed with water to make the paint. The consistency was like paint and it dried like chalk. We had paintbrushes, but we ended up just using our hands. I think we will try sponges next time.


2. Set out a couple of translucent containers

I know this one sounds WAAAAY too easy, but if I give my kiddos 4-5 translucent containers, they will play with those for up to an hour at a time. I set out nonbreakable containers of different shapes and sizes. I fill them at varying levels with either potting soil or water. Then they go to town filling and sorting and shuffling the water or dirt between the containers.

Extra Tip: If you give them dirt you can also give them a sifter. If you give them water you can also give them a funnel.


3. Water slide 

If you have any sort of a slide play toy in your yard, place a kiddy pool at the bottom for a homemade water slide. My smarty pants nephew thought of this when he was visiting, and the kids love it. They also race their toy cars down the slide into the water.

Water Slide

4. A Big Bag of Potting Soil

We made a little gardening corner in the yard just for the kids with some gardening tools and watering cans. While they did plant some seeds, the real star of the corner is the pile of leftover potting soil. I know this sounds too simple, but I really could have gotten away with just dumping a big bag of dirt in the corner of the yard. They dig in it. They have dirt fights. They make mud pies. They drive their toy cars through it. They make dirt roads out of it. They just really enjoy this pile of dirt.

5. Eating Outside

Whether it’s a snack or a meal or on a blanket in the grass or on patio furniture, eating al fresco is a fun way to shake up their every day routine.

Al Fresco


Do you have any outside and low stress activities you do with your kiddos?

Fun, Easy and Cheap Outside Activites for Toddlers


27 thoughts on “5 Fun and Cheap Outside Activities for Toddlers

  1. Hey, we have the same kid age spread! My daughters turned 2 and 4 in March 🙂

    These are great ideas and I love getting the kids outside. The weather here has just gotten sunny.

    I never heard of sidewalk paint. My girls love chalk, so we will have to try it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do your girls feed into each other’s moods? Like when one is happy the other is OR or when one is cranky the other one gets worked up easily too? I’m glad they are close in age, but that’s the biggest challenge we have them.

      Yes I was really excited to learn about the side walk chalk paint too. I’m going to go back for more this weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They do, a little bit, but right now I’m dealing more with them aggravating each other for fun.

        I mean, they love each other, but they also love nothing better than getting the other one to throw a fit. My four year old especially loves working my two year old into a frenzy, and two year olds don’t need much convincing to throw tantrums, haha.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wish I could leave a pic of the fun your kiddos had this morning at our home…playin’ in the dirt! Luved every minute of it! Not to worry, we all smelled like dirt before 10 am LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What great ideas! I am so happy that your kids get to have a fun-filled outdoor childhood. When you grow up in a desert like I did most of the time you are confined to indoor activities. It is heartening to read that your kids are getting the best of both worlds 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow… growing up in the country sounds amazing. But I wonder if knowing all I do about city life and its’ perks I could manage it now 😉

        We live in the UAE and we’re used to seeing summer highs of up to 50 degrees C. Let’s just say ice cream was a staple food of my childhood! 😀


  4. Love this, this is such a sweet post, and I agree that we should be outside in nature more often! Or at least take advantage of being able to do so when we can. Haha the pile of dirt made me laugh, so simple, yet so amusing! I remember that fondly from my own childhood – me and my best friend would literally play all day in the sand or the mud 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I think sometimes kids stuff is over-complicated. Kind of like the joke about buying an expensive gift and they end of playing with the box.
      Really though, what’s better than playing in the mud?

      Liked by 1 person

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