Outdoor Activities for 18 Month Olds

Outdoor play is essential for the development and well-being of toddlers. It provides them with opportunities to explore, learn, and engage their senses in a natural environment. If you’re wondering about the best activities to do with your 18-month-old outside, look no further!

Engaging in outdoor toddler activities offers numerous benefits. It helps toddlers develop gross motor skills as they run, jump, climb, and balance. Outdoor play ideas also stimulate their curiosity and imagination through interactions with nature. It promotes socialization as they interact with other children in playgrounds or parks.

To create a safe and stimulating outdoor environment for your 18-month-old, consider factors like supervision, age-appropriate equipment, and childproofing measures. Now let’s dive into some exciting outdoor activities that will make your toddler’s playtime memorable!

Outdoor Activities for 18 Month Olds

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Benefits of Outdoor Learning Activities for Toddlers

Outdoor learning activities for toddlers, especially those around 18 months old, provide numerous benefits that contribute to their overall development. These simple activities not only keep them engaged and entertained but also promote physical, cognitive, social, and emotional well-being. Let’s explore the advantages these outdoor experiences offer:

Enhancing Physical Development through Movement and Exploration

Engaging in outdoor activities allows toddlers to develop their gross motor skills by encouraging movement and exploration. They have the freedom to run, jump, climb, and crawl in a spacious environment. This helps strengthen their muscles and improve coordination. For instance, playing on a playground or going for a nature walk can enhance their balance and agility.

Boosting Cognitive Skills through Sensory Experiences in Nature

Outdoor adventures offer an abundance of sensory experiences that stimulate a toddler’s cognitive development. Exploring different textures like grass, sand, or water helps them refine their sense of touch. They can observe various colors, shapes, and patterns found in nature which enhances visual perception. Listening to the sounds of birds chirping or leaves rustling aids auditory processing skills.

Promoting Social Interaction and Communication with Peers Outdoors

Interacting with other children outdoors provides ample opportunities for toddler’s development of social skills. They learn how to take turns on swings or slides at the local park or engage in imaginative play together. These interactions foster communication as they share ideas and express themselves verbally or non-verbally. Being around peers also helps build confidence and encourages cooperation. Not to mention that the great outdoors is so much fun!

Fostering Emotional Well-being and Reducing Stress Levels

Spending time outside in nature has a positive impact on a toddler’s emotional well-being. The fresh air and wide-open spaces create a calming effect that reduces stress levels. Outdoor activities allow them to release pent-up energy while experiencing new sensations that bring joy and excitement. This contributes to an overall sense of happiness and contentment.

Best Outdoor Activities For 18 Month Old Toddlers

Now, that we’ve gotten the benefits of of outdoor activities for young toddlers out of the way let’s move on to discussing some fun activities. 

Nature Exploration: Scavenger Hunts and Scenic Walks

Encouraging curiosity is a great way to engage your 18-month-old in outdoor activities. One exciting option is to embark on nature exploration through a scavenger hunt or scenic walks. These activities not only provide an opportunity for your little one to discover the wonders of the natural world but also offer numerous developmental benefits.

The good news is with both of these activities you can get out and get some fresh air and exercise for yourself AND the older kids can join in too. 

Encourage Curiosity by Searching for Natural Treasures

Scavenger hunts can be a thrilling adventure for your 18-month-old. Create a simple list of items found in nature, such as leaves, rocks, flowers, or pinecones, and let them search for these treasures. This activity encourages their curiosity as they actively seek out objects and learn about different elements in their environment.

Develop Vocabulary by Identifying Different Plants, Animals, and Objects in Nature

Nature exploration provides an excellent platform for expanding your toddler’s vocabulary. As you walk together, point out various plants, animals, and objects you come across. Name them aloud and encourage your child to repeat after you. This interactive experience helps them learn new words while making connections between language and the natural elements around them.

Stimulate Sensory Awareness Through Touching Leaves, Smelling Flowers, etc.

Engaging multiple senses is crucial for toddlers’ development. During outdoor walks, encourage your little one to touch leaves of different textures or smell flowers along the way. By stimulating their sensory awareness through tactile and olfactory experiences, you’re helping them better understand the world around them while enhancing their cognitive development.

Build Gross Motor Skills While Walking on Uneven Terrain

Walking on uneven terrain during scenic walks offers an opportunity for your toddler to develop gross motor skills. The varying surfaces challenge their balance and coordination as they navigate through a grassy area or forest path. This physical activity strengthens their leg muscles while improving overall body control.

As with any fun outdoor activity involving young children, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Keep a close eye on your child during these explorations, ensuring they stay within a safe distance and avoid potential hazards. Remember to bring along essentials such as sunscreen, hats, and water bottles to keep them protected and hydrated throughout the adventure.

Depending on how far and how long you plan to be out you’ll want to make sure you have a stroller with you too. If the weather is hot, you can carry a stroller fan from companies like Diono to keep your kids cool through the trek.

Engage in Tag or Chase Games Outdoors

To keep your 18-month-old entertained and active outside, engaging in tag or chase games can be a fantastic option. These games not only promote physical activity and exercise but also enhance coordination skills and improve spatial awareness.

Promote physical activity and exercise through running and chasing games

Tag or chase games involve lots of running, which helps your little one burn off energy while having fun. Running around outdoors is an excellent way for them to get their daily dose of exercise. It strengthens their muscles, improves cardiovascular health, and boosts overall fitness. The best part is this simple activity can take place in your own backyard.

Read Also: Fall Backyard Activities That Your Kids Will Love

Enhance coordination skills by dodging obstacles during playtime

During tag or chase games, toddlers learn to navigate the outdoor environment while dodging obstacles such as trees or playground equipment. This helps develop their coordination skills as they learn to move quickly and change direction without tripping or colliding with objects.

Encourage turn-taking and sharing among toddlers during group games

Playing tag or chase with other little kids encourages social interaction and cooperation. Toddlers quickly learn the concept of taking turns as they chase each other around. They also learn the importance of sharing.

Improve spatial awareness as children navigate the outdoor environment

Tag or chase games require children to pay attention to their surroundings as they run around. They need to be aware of where other players are, avoid collisions, and find open spaces to escape from being tagged. This develops their spatial awareness and helps them understand how to move through different environments safely.

Incorporating these activities into your outdoor playtime routine can provide numerous benefits for your 18-month-old child. Not only will they have a blast running around and playing with others, but they’ll also be developing important physical and social skills along the way.

Here are some additional tips for making tag or chase games even more enjoyable:

  • Create a safe playing area by removing any potential hazards or obstacles.
  • Use simple commands like “go” and “stop” to help your child understand the rules of the game.
  • Encourage your child to take turns being “it” and being chased to promote fairness and sharing.
  • Join in on the fun! Running around and playing with your little one will make the experience even more exciting for them.

Remember, outdoor playtime is not only about having fun but also about promoting healthy physical and social development. So grab some running shoes, head outside, and let the tag or chase games begin!

Fun with Bubbles: Blowing and Popping

Bubbles are a fun way to keep your child’s attention and engage with them in a fun game that isn’t considered messy play. Blowing and popping bubbles will go on for a long time and younger children just love it.

Here are some of the benefits of blowing and popping bubbles. 

Develop Fine Motor Skills

Blowing and popping bubbles can be a fun and engaging activity for your 18-month-old outside. Not only does it bring joy and laughter, but it also helps in developing their fine motor skills. By holding bubble wands or even using their fingers to pop bubbles, toddlers strengthen the muscles in their hands and fingers. This improves their dexterity and coordination, setting them up for future tasks like writing or tying shoelaces.

Stimulates Visual Tracking

As toddlers watch bubbles float through the air, they naturally engage in visual tracking. Their eyes follow the path of the bubbles, helping to improve their visual perception and tracking skills. This is important for later stages of development when they start reading or playing sports that require hand-eye coordination. So, while having a blast with bubbles, your little one is also honing these essential abilities.

Encourages Language Development

Playing with bubbles is a good way to encourage language development in your 18-month-old. As you blow bubbles together, describe the shapes, sizes, and colors of the bubbles. Use simple words like “big,” “small,” “round,” or “shiny.” This not only expands their vocabulary but also helps them make connections between words and objects. You can even ask questions like “Where did that bubble go?” or “Can you pop the blue bubble?” to further stimulate their language skills.

Aids Sensory Integration

Bubbles offer a multi-sensory experience for young children. The texture of the bubble solution on their skin provides tactile stimulation while blowing or popping them engages their sense of touch. This aids in sensory integration as they process different sensations simultaneously. It’s a wonderful way for them to explore different textures while enjoying some outdoor playtime.

In addition to these benefits, playing with bubbles is a low-cost activity that requires minimal setup. You can easily find bubble solutions and wands at most stores, or even make your own at home using dish soap and water. It’s a versatile activity that can be enjoyed in various outdoor settings such as the backyard, park, or even at the beach.

So, grab some bubbles and let the fun begin! Watch as your 18-month-old develops their fine motor skills, improves visual tracking abilities, expands their language skills, and explores different sensory experiences. It’s an enjoyable way to spend quality time together while promoting their growth and development.

Riding Toys and Balance Activities

Promoting balance and coordination skills is essential for the development of your 18-month-old toddler. One great way to achieve this is by introducing them to riding toys and engaging in balance activities.

Promotes Balance and Coordination Skills

Riding tricycles, a balance bike, or push toys can be an excellent way to promote balance and coordination skills in your little one. As they pedal or push themselves forward, they learn how to maintain their balance while moving. This activity helps strengthen their core muscles, improving their overall stability.

Stimulates Imagination During Pretend Play Scenarios

Ride-on toys provide a fantastic opportunity for imaginative play. Your child can pretend to be a race car driver, a firefighter rushing to save the day, or even a princess riding her magical unicorn. Encourage them to use their imagination as they navigate through different scenarios, promoting creativity and cognitive development.

Builds Leg Strength

Pushing themselves forward on wheeled toys not only promotes balance but also builds leg strength in toddlers. As they use their legs to propel themselves forward, they are engaging various muscle groups such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles. This physical activity helps develop strong legs that will support them as they grow older.

Encourages Spatial Awareness

Maneuvering around obstacles while riding a toy requires spatial awareness. Your child has to judge distances accurately and adjust their movements accordingly to avoid collisions or falling off the toy. By practicing these skills at an early age, your toddler will develop better spatial awareness, which is crucial for various activities later in life.

To make the most of riding toys and balance activities with your 18-month-old outside, here are some tips:

  • Choose age-appropriate ride-on toys that are safe for your child’s size.
  • Create an obstacle course using cones or other objects for your child to navigate around.
  • Encourage imaginative play by providing props or costumes that match the theme of their ride-on toy.
  • Supervise your child closely to ensure their safety and offer guidance when needed.

Remember, every child develops at their own pace, so be patient and supportive during this process. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Riding toys and balance activities not only promote physical development but also provide opportunities for bonding with your little one. So get outside, have fun, and watch as your toddler grows in confidence and coordination!

Water Play: Splashing and Exploring

Water play is an exciting and engaging activity for 18-month-olds that can provide them with a range of sensory experiences. It allows them to explore the properties of water while developing important skills such as hand-eye coordination and cognitive abilities. Water play can be a social activity that encourages interaction among children.

Enhances Sensory Experiences

Water play offers numerous opportunities for enhancing sensory experiences in young children. By splashing, pouring, and feeling the water with their little hands, they engage their sense of touch. The different temperatures, textures, and movements of the water stimulate their senses, making it a thrilling experience.

Develops Hand-Eye Coordination

Using cups, buckets, or a bowl of water during water play helps toddlers develop their hand-eye coordination. Pouring water from one container to another requires precise movements and control. This activity challenges their motor skills as they learn to aim accurately and pour without spilling too much water.

Promotes Cognitive Skills

Water play also promotes cognitive development in 18-month-olds. They can observe objects floating or sinking in the water, which introduces concepts like buoyancy and gravity at an early age. By experimenting with different objects in the water, children begin to understand cause-and-effect relationships.

Encourages Social Interaction

Group water play activities provide opportunities for social interaction among toddlers. They can take turns pouring water at the water table or passing objects to each other. Engaging in these activities together fosters cooperation and communication skills while creating a sense of camaraderie among the children.


Now that you have a variety of ideas to keep your 18-month-old engaged outside, it’s time to put them into action! Remember to prioritize safety by ensuring proper supervision at all times. Embrace these moments as opportunities for bonding with your child while fostering their growth and development.

Outdoor Activities for 18 Month Olds


  1. Melissa Cushing says:

    I am so sharing this post with my brother as he can do many of these wit his youngest daughter. Such great tips here for activities to do with a toddler and the fall is there perfect season to go Pumpkin picking, to the apple orchards, corn mazes and more!

    1. Victoria H says:


      Yes, pumpkin picking is definitely on my list for this month with my daughter. She’s been before, but now that she’s older, she’ll really get to experience it.

  2. Zab Zaria says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with us! I absolutely love them!

  3. Gervin Khan says:

    This is so helpful especially to new moms! Very informative thanks for this amazing info!

  4. As a mom, finding engaging and age-appropriate activities for my little one is always a priority, and your suggestions are a treasure trove of inspiration.

  5. I agree with so many of these. We always had the kids outside when they were little. It’s good for your frame of mind.

  6. What fantastic outdoor ideas for toddlers! It’s wonderful to see how you’ve made these activities not only fun but also age-appropriate and safe. Can’t wait to try them out with my neices.

  7. These are great suggestions for outdoor activities with toddlers, it’s always a delight to watch them experience nature for the first time!

  8. LisaLisa says:

    This is a great post. It is so important that children get outdoors, playing is essential for the development of motor skills.

  9. These are all such great ideas. I love being outdoors with my kids as much as possible.

  10. Some great ideas! Getting outdoors is so important for kids, and us for that matter.

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