7 Outdoor Toddler Activities You Can Bring Inside

The weather is cooling off, but you can bring outdoor fun inside.

After a summer and early fall filled with easy park visits and lazy backyard fun, the threat of colder weather probably has mom and dad fearing long days stuck in the house with a toddler — or worse yet... more than one toddler. If you’re lacking the craft gene or just want to make sure you have a arsenal of cold or rainy weather toddler tricks up your sleeve, try bringing these traditional outdoor activities inside. It might get messy, but the entertainment value is worth a little clean up. 

Have a Picnic

Toddler Indoors on a Rainy Day

Having a picnic is an easy way to turn any meal into a special event. After all, what kiddo doesn't love eating on the floor (or, you know, off the floor)? All you need to do is spread a blanket on the ground and break out the plasticware and paper plates. To make the meal extra special, serve your favorite picnic foods — think hotdogs and potato salad, finger sandwiches and chips, veggies and fruit salad. 

Play with Water

Who decided the bathtub should only be used for bath time? Water play is a great sensory activity for toddler development. Grab your little one's favorite water toys and fill up the bathtub for play time or use measuring cups, plastic bowls and other containers. Be ready with some towels to clean up the mess. 

Set Up an Obstacle Course

You'll want to move some furniture around, but with a few safety precautions, there's no reason your toddler can't get physical inside the house. With mats, wedges and soft blocks, build obstacles for your toddler to climb over, jump on or navigate through. Just make sure you steer clear of sharp edges on tables and other furniture. 

Construct a Fort

Indoor fort building is the perfect way to get cozy on a cold day. Use extra sheets and blankets anchored by chairs and other furniture. Furnish your fort with comfy pillows and cushions. Add a flashlight, toys and books. Snuggle up inside with your little one for a story time or just let your toddler play in his special space.  

Color with Sidewalk Chalk

You don’t actually have to let kids draw on the kitchen floor — but there’s no need to lock up the sidewalk chalk until next spring. Instead, buy a roll of white banner paper and tape it down to the floor. Break out the chalk and let your toddler get creative. You can also add crayons and markers to the mix, or if you’re really adventurous, paint. 

    Build Sandcastles

    It may sound crazy, but keep an open mind. If you have a room with easy-to-clean flooring — think a kitchen with tile or a basement with cement, bringing the sand inside won’t create too much of a mess. This works best if you have something substantial to contain the sand — a sand and water table (sans water) is perfect or you can even fill a kiddie pool with sand. 

    Go Camping

    You may miss the thrill of sleeping under the stars, but rolling out the sleeping bags in the living can be pretty exciting to a toddler. Pop some popcorn and read some campfire-worthy stories for your indoor campout. 

    Grow a Garden

    Indoor gardening isn't subject to cold weather as long as there is a sunny spot in your home where your plants can grow. Let your toddler get dirty planting herbs or even houseplants. Make watering the plants a regular ritual and talk about how the plants are growing. 

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