"Outdoor play everyday, in almost any weather, is essential for children of all ages. ... Toddlers need to be outdoors to master their new found skills of walking, running, climbing and jumping."
Fill a sturdy paper/plastic plate with thick mud and smooth with a spatula into a flat, even surface. Have your child press his open hand into the mud and remove, then place in the sun to dry. Although it won't last, it's fun to look at for a while! (You can use plaster of Paris for a more lasting effect).
Go outside with your child on a sunny day. If your child will stand still long enough, trace his shadow on the driveway/pathway. Have him change positions, then trace his shadow again. Make several tracings, then see if your child can fit his shadow back inside the tracings. For a fun alternative, trace his shadow on a big sheet of newsprint or other paper. Let him fingerpaint his shadow or colour it with crayons or markers.
Digging for Treasure
Hide small objects in the sand pit for your toddler to find as he digs about. Try using an old kitchen colander to sift through the sand.
Before going outdoors with your child, wrap a piece of masking tape to his wrist, sticky side up. As you explore, help him attach colorful leaves, flowers, and other interesting discoveries to his bracelet. When done, use scissors to snip off the nature bracelet, and then display it on a wall.
Give your child a piece of coloured cellophane, then go for a walk, encouraging them to look at familiar objects through the cellophane. Your child will enjoy seeing how the colour of everyday objects changes when seen through the cellophane. If you like, change the colour of the cellophane your child is using, or look through two pieces of cellophane at once to see how the colours change yet again.
Tie one end of a length of rope/string/ribbon around the waist of your child's favourite teddy bear or other stuffed animal. Tie the other end of the rope to a tree branch so that teddy is about 2 feet off the ground. Your child will have fun pushing his teddy to make him swing.
Courtesy of 'The Toddler's Busy Book' by Trish Kuffner