Tiffany Brown shares 25 things you should do with your toddlers before they (sniff, sniff) get too big!
1. Watch diggers and tractors
Construction equipment holds a particular fascination for little people, so be sure to pause and let them take it in whenever possible.
2. Build a sandcastle or block tower
But don’t stop there. Stick around long enough for the tide to wash away the castle, or let your toddler knock the tower to the floor — multiple times!
3. Plant flowers
Demonstrate the beauty of nature by planting a seed or seedling and keeping track of its growth.
4. Pick fruit from the source
There's nothing like picking fresh berries warm from the sun or reaching up to pluck juicy apples or stone fruit straight from the tree.
5. Sidewalk chalk
Unleash your creativity on a grand scale with jumbo-sized chalks on a driveway, pavement or patio.
6. Play "I Spy" outside
You may already have played this classic guessing game in the car or at home, but be sure to play it all over again in the great outdoors.
7. Dress up
You don't need a wardrobe full of costumes to have fun dressing up with your toddler. They'll love getting inot you adult-sized shoes, clothes, hats, and accessories, and they'll look adorable doing it.
8. Walk in the rain
Splash and jump through puddles on a rainy day, or huddle with your toddler under an umbrella as you watch and listen to the rain falling down.
9. Explore the seashore
Climb over rocks and search for crabs, sink into the sand as the tide washes in and out, hop over waves, squelch in tidal mud flats, or make sand angels.
10. Play in the snow
If it's not quite possible to throw snowballs, crunching through dry winter leaves is another must-do activity.
11. Explore the forest
Remember to encourage your toddler to gaze up high and search down low to spot all the fascinating flora and fauna our native forests have to offer.
12. Say hi to the animals
Whenever you have a safe opportunity, let your little ones get close to the animals at the zoo or on a farm, or meet friendly dogs in the park.
13. Roly-poly down a grassy slope
The instinct to lie down and roll is strong in kids of all ages when confronted with a smooth sloping terrain. Roll right along with your toddler and reconnect with your own inner child while bonding with your little one.
14. Run in a wide open field
Nothing spells freedom like breaking into a run on a big open space. For toddlers, it doesn't take much for a space to feel enormous.
15. Drop a stick into a stream
For best results, stand on a brdige when you drop the stick. Clear running water is ideal for tracking the stick's progress from above.
16. Pour and measure
Helping out with basic recipes in the kitchen is a great way to practise the essential skills of pouring, measuring, stirring, whisking, and beating.
17. Swim together
In a pool, the ocean, a river or lake... The location is secondary to the joy a child feels when their loved one splashes around in the water with them.
18. Squeeze wet sponges
Combine this with bath time, water play, or recreational swimming, or let them play with sponges at the sink while they help you in the kitchen.
19. Spur-of-the-moment dance parties
Spontaneous dancing is a great way to harness toddlers' boundless energy and perhaps redirect their attention away from the tantrum they were just about to throw.
Trace your hands or use paint to make handprints. We love the idea of doing this every year on a birthday or other occasion as a visual record of your toddler's growth.
Blowing and catching bubbles improves hand-eye coordination and will delight your toddlers with its simple magic.
22. Enjoy ribbon wands
A more eco-friendly alternative to playing with balloons, ribbon wands made with a dowel and lengths of curled ribbon harness the joy of kite flying without the complications.
23. Build a fort
A couple of chairs or a table and some sheets or blankets will do. The main thing is the sense of adventure the fort provides, and that you crawl inside with them to suggle, tell a story, do a puzzle, or read their favourite book.
24. Experience nighttime
Toddlers don't often get to see the night sky. Make the most of shorter months by carving out time for them to enjoy the darkness of night as they gaze at the stars and moon.
25. Be silly
You'll both laugh you heads off when you get silly together. Pretend you can't see them when they're right in front of you, or that you can't find their hands when you're getting them dressed. Pretend their foot is a phone and call someone. Even better, receive a call from someone they love and passover the foot phone!