If there’s one thing that I can always rely on to snap Darcie out of any bad mood, it is taking her outside. We’re lucky in that we live in quite a quiet residential area with a couple of small parks so she can walk and run to her hearts content until she gets tired and suddenly reverts to a baby that needs to be carried home. Over the last few months since she learnt to walk we’ve developed quite a few little ‘games’ and activities that are guaranteed to keep her occupied outside. I’m going to list them here in case anyone needs any outdoors inspiration or perhaps just some convincing to get out of the house and release the toddler into the wild.
1. Collecting and sorting stones. The houses near us all seem to have pretty houseproud and garden proud owners and so there are all sorts of different decorative stones, pebbles and slate for Darcie to take her pick of. I do encourage her to take the ones that have found their way onto the pavement but more often that not she does end up committing a bit of harmless daylight robbery.
2. Chasing cats. Our neighbours have a lot of cats between them so it can take us a good 20 minutes to even leave the close. She loves to run backwards and forwards between them all and has even learnt to put her hand out and make the noise to get them to come over, she’s too impatient though and usually ends up charging towards them and then they run away.
3. Picking berries. So long as your child isn’t prone to trying to eat the miscellaneous berries that are everywhere at this time of year, they could be entertained for a while picking berries and putting them in a pot or, Darcie’s favourite, my hand. You can talk about the different colours and practise counting. Everyday’s a school day!
4. Splashing in puddles. The old favourite, the roads and pavements are pretty uneven around where we live and so whenever it rains we always have a lot of puddles to go and splash in. Pop the wellies and a puddle suit on and you’re good to go.
5. Finding conkers and acorns. I don’t know what it is about these two things but Darcie is like a magpie around them. She’ll find them wherever we go and then will get very sad if her little hand loses grip and drops it. We’ve spent what feels like hours searching for lost acorns before. Luckily her attention span is pretty short and so I can usually distract her with something else pretty easily.
6. Go on a scavenger hunt. Most toddlers want to pick up everything they find anyway so why not make a game of it? Take out some kind of container with you and collect all the leaves, feathers and stones that your toddler can’t bear to leave behind.
7. Play hide and seek. If you have any good hedges or trees around you, you can spend hours and have a lot of fun playing peek-a-boo with your toddler by jumping out and surprising them. Darcie is now at an age where she likes to be the one to do the hiding and surprising and it’s always hilarious how funny she finds it.
8. Practise throwing. If your one year old is anything like mine, then they probably love throwing. I don’t mind Darcie throwing in the house as long as it isn’t anything too heavy or important but it’s certainly less stressful playing throw and catch outdoors. You can see who can throw a stick the furthest or play catch with a ball. The possibilities are endless just try to steer clear of throwing stones around cars, we’ve had a few near misses!
These are just some of my one year old’s favourite things to do outside when we go for a walk. What are yours?