My ds is 15 months old and I am loving to see him explore the mama earth this spring. It's so good for his soul and mine. Here are some fun things for the younger ones(and older ones too
) to do outside, no purchases are necessary:
Mama earth is the teacher~Take them to a park, open field, etc. and let them lead the way. Stay close and treat everything as a learning experience for them. If they want to touch the rocks, water, dirt, whatever it is a huge pleasure for them. My dh and I went for a walk to the local park and dh told ds dont go in the water. Which is hugely frustrating for a child that wants to learn EVERYTHING about his environment. So ds was able to get to the edge of the water and splash his hands in the water, throw rocks in the water, and stomp his feet in the water, just at the edge so his feet didnt get real wet (he needs water shoes).
Front and backyard fun~Try not to hover when in a fenced in yard. Let them run, explore, touch, smell, etc. Try to set your yard up so it is a safe place to explore. They need to be able to direct themselves here. They are learning to make decisions here and be in control of their exploring in this activity. If they seem open to your ideas you can show them the bird nests, budding flowers, trees, bugs/worms under rocks, flying birds, butterflies, etc. Let nature take its course here. Have fun, relax and enjoy watching your toddler take charge as much as possible while you try to watch out for any possible accidents that may be prevented here, but try NOT to be overly controlling in this activity.
Go on a picnic~ Make it simple and go somewhere that is toddler friendly so they can have a lot of freedom to run and explore w/o a lot of NOs or "dont do that" to take the fun out. Let them get their faces and clothes dirty with food to allow them to feed themselves. The pure pleasure of feeding oneself AND touching food is a HUGE pleasure to any budding toddler.
My ds is very expressive and bright. I notice that the more I let him lead the way the easier it is on me and the more he feels in control and less frustrated about some of the things he is not able to do. We have a very trusting and close attachment. The more I believe he is able to make his own decisions about what he wants to learn, the closer we become. I hope you have a fun time exploring with your toddler! Happy spring!