5 Small Space Backyard Activities for Toddlers

June 24, 2020Sarah Khandjian

This post is sponsored by Babyganics. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep this blog going!

Our home is pretty small (850 square feet!) and it’s felt even smaller lately since I’ve spent everyday at home with my husband, toddler and large dog.  Now that Los Angeles has been under a stay at home order for over two months, we now truly utilize every inch of our home to live, work, and play. While I’ve worked from home for the last 8 years of my career, my work has looked different these last few months. Before the pandemic, June just started going to daycare for 3 half days a week and this was a game changer for me! My productivity was off the charts during those few hours she was in childcare. But things have changed now that she is home with us all day and Kevin is also working from home. My productivity has been lacking to say the least. It’s just hard to accomplish anything when you have a toddler around!

During this time we’ve been leaning heavily on our small backyard/patio space as a place for June to play. When your entire family is crammed inside a small home all day, I found it’s best for all of us head outside and soak up some sun. And since we’re in southern California we are very lucky to have so many sun-filled days.

Today I’ve partnered with Babyganics to share some of the activities I’ve created for June to explore, get fresh air and just burn some energy in our tiny yard. All of these activities use things you likely already have on hand and can be adapted to suit your space and your toddler.

We’re making spending time on our patio a twice daily habit lately. Not only do we all enjoy it but I find that she naps better too. Win, win! Before heading outback, I give June a quick spritz of Babyganics Baby Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+ on her arms and legs. While I adore the SoCal sunshine, I don’t want either of us to get burned! And it’s not just for babies and toddlers, I use the Sunscreen Spray to protect my skin  from the very intense sun too.

While we don’t encounter as many bugs as we did when we lived in Florida, we still get them. I tried out the Babyganics Insect Repellant Spray on all of us and found it to be very effective. No random, itchy mosquito bites here! Just a quick spritz of the sunscreen and then the insect repellant on top and we are protected and ready for playtime.

1. Sidewalk Chalk City Landscape

Grab a roll of painter’s tape and go to town (pun intended)! Use the tape to create roads, trees and buildings. This can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. The goal is to create a “coloring book” surface for your toddler to color in using sidewalk chalk. They can also use their play cars, trains or anything with wheels to zoom around the roads.

2. Plastic Storage Container Water Table

Because anything with water is pure joy for a toddler, am I right? If you don’t have a fancy water table or don’t have the space to keep one out all the time this is a great option. Grab plastic storage containers you my have in the closet and use them to create a simple water table. I like to prop them up on plastic milk crates  to provide height and create a temporary water table. Bring out the bath toys and other small plastic toys that can be used for water play. Plastic berry containers and old (clean) take out food containers are great for this.

If you’ve already done this and need to find a way to make it “new” again for your child, do a color themed water play time. Grab all the plastic toys, cups, or even kitchen items that are same color. Add a couple drops of food coloring of the same color in the water to make it extra colorful and fun.

3. Toys Frozen in Ice

Because of the aforementioned reason in #2, extend the water play even longer by adding ice! June LOVES playing with ice and adores this activity. The night before grab small plastic toys and place them in an ice cube tray or small freezer-safe food storage containers. Add water and freeze them over night. Then dump the frozen toys in the plastic storage container “water table” or dump them in a mixing bowl let your child use water to dissolve the ice and get the toys out.

4. Egg Carton Caterpillar Color Hunt

This is two activities in one! Use colored cardstock or construction paper to create paper “caterpillars” by cutting the paper into thin strips and folding it like an accordion. Use acrylic craft paint in the same colors as the paper to paint the inside of an egg carton. Allow it dry completely before giving it to your child.

Scatter the “caterpillars” around your backyard or patio then have your child find them. Once collected they can sort them by color and match the caterpillars to the corresponding color in the egg carton. Hide them again. Repeat.

5. Digging!

Kids love dirt so just embrace it and be ready to stick them in the bath (or hose them off) afterward. Grab the beach toys and a few things from the recycling bin like clean plastic takeout containers, berry baskets and more and let them have a ball scooping mulch and dirt from one container to the other. Hide small sand molds and other plastic toys underneath the mulch or soil and your child can “discover” them!

What outdoor toddler activities have you tried? Before you head in the backyard with your family , grab your Babyganics Sunscreen and Insect Repellant Spray. It’s easier to find (I got it on Amazon) than all-purpose flour and toilet paper these days!

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