Backyard Play Ideas

Backyard Play Ideas

Celebrate the seasons changing with these fun at-home activities to explore the outdoors with your little ones. 

We can often fall into the trap of feeling like we need a lot to entertain little ones, but often all we need is a little idea and our very own backyard!

These are our favourite ways to inspire play in nature, requiring very little preparation or effort for days that have no agenda. We love that not only do these activities inspire a discovery of nature and an exploration of their sensory and motor skills, but they don’t create any waste or require any single-use items which is something we adore from a sustainability perspective.

Sensory Bin Play

Create a sensory bin filled with materials like rice, dried beans, or sand. Add small toys and vessels that they can dig and scoop with to let your toddler explore the textures. Older toddlers might like to introduce diggers or animal figurines to invite more imaginative play.


Ice Discovery

Gather up some small toys or treasures from nature like flowers, shells or gum nuts and freeze them in muffin trays filled with water. When you’re ready to play, give your little one some toy blocks or hammers to chip away at the ice or a watering can to pour and melt it. Watch the excitement when they see the ice disappear like magic!

Nature Hunt

Create a nature scavenger hunt by making a list of simple items like leaves, rocks, or flowers. Give your toddler a small basket and let them explore the backyard to find each item on the list.

Chalk Art

An oldie but a goodie, use chalk to create colourful drawings on your driveway or pavement. Your toddler can scribble, draw, or even play hopscotch. This is a great way to encourage creativity and gross motor skills.

Mini Obstacle Course

Set up a simple obstacle course using items like hula hoops, cones, or small tunnels. This helps improve coordination and balance while keeping things fun and active.

Water Play

On warm days, set up a kiddie pool, water table, or simply provide buckets of water and some water-safe toys. Water play is not only refreshing but also great for developing fine motor skills. There’s just something about a hose and bucket that is so mesmerising to a toddler!

DIY Outdoor Art

Set up an outdoor art station with washable paints and large sheets of paper. Your toddler can get creative while enjoying the fresh air. You can also use items from nature, like leaves or twigs, as painting tools. For slightly older children we love to inspire them to paint what they see - talking to them about the colours, shapes and textures they see around them, a beautiful way to introduce the concept of mindfulness.

Musical Play

Create a DIY outdoor music station with pots, pans, and wooden spoons and let your toddler experiment with different sounds and rhythms. You can even introduce simple instruments like shakers or a small xylophone… (sorry neighbours!).


Image credit @ismeapolo

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