9 games your toddler will want to play in the park, right now

The next time you’re taking your child out in a buggy or on a trike or bike, try one of these...

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Bit fed up with swings and roundabouts for the 126th time? Looking for ways to turn worms, sticks and stones into fun, imaginative games? We’ve got 9 simple ideas that will make your toddler think you’re the most amazing parent ever (while helping them learn some new stuff, heh heh)!

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1. Park bingo


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What is it?
A nature-based spotting game

What you need
We’ve created four simple printable sheets above – or make your own.

How you play
Can your toddler spot the common outdoor objects on the sheets? Older ones will love shouting ‘BINGO!’ at the top of their voices when they match them all. Each of our sheets has a different theme: Creatures such as a dog or squirrel; Nature, such as a tree or flower; and Playtime items, such as a trike or swing.

You can use them all, or pick your child’s favourite sheet for a shorter game.

The best bit? Little ones can play park bingo while walking, riding on a trike or bike, or even sitting in their buggy.

Play time: 5-20 minutes

2. Colour hunt

What is it?
A fun collecting game based on colours

What you need
To play the basic version, no props are required. To make the game even better, find an empty egg box and some coloured pens

How you play
Give your child a colour to look out for and then ask them to spot an item of that colour, for example, a yellow dandelion, a grey stone, white daisies, green leaves, or a brown pine cone.

This game can start on the way to the park, with your child spotting small items that match the colours in the box from their buggy or trike.

Depending which colours you choose, you can make the activity as easy or challenging as you like.

To make this even better, colour the wells of a 6-hole egg box in different colours – you can use the same colour more than once. They can then collect the items they find in their egg box, and can even take them home as tiny treasures home in their egg box display case?

Play time
30 minutes

3. Hop on over


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What is it?
A colour-based jumping game

What you need
We’ve created six coloured circles above for you to print and cut out

How you play
Place the spots on the ground in a circle, zig zag, pinwheel or square pattern and show your toddler how to jump or hop from one to another.

When they’re standing on one circle, call out the colour of another circle they need to get to next.

Play time
10 minutes

4. Crazy Slalom

What is it?
Create a track for your child to weave in and out of

What you need
Use the six coloured circles (as No 2) to print and cut out

Lay the coloured circles out to create markers for your child to run around and in and out. This game is also really fun to play with your little one riding their trike, such as a SmarTrike, while you push – how fast can you get from the start of the spots to the end marker, calling out the colours as you go? You could even slalom between the circles, weaving the trike along the track – guaranteed to get a giggle!

Play time
5-30 minutes

5. Up, down, all around

What is it?
The best-ever toddler obstacle course

What you need
A blanket plus some nature bits – 4 sticks and some stones

How you play
Set up your course for the next generation of Bear Grylls-a-likes by creating an obstacle course using the sticks stuck into the ground, a jumping or hopping track with the stones, and (best of all) a ‘scramble net’ using a blanket.

You can vary the distance between the ‘slalom’ sticks, and the jumping spots, and get your child to tackle the course as many times as you have the energy for.

This is definitely one for mums and dads to have a go at too – we defy that competitive streak not to come out!

Play time
10 minutes

6. Make a bug hotel

What is it
OK, not exactly a game, but a fun activity to make a home for mini beasts that can be revisited many times

What you need
String and a box or bag – plus some leaves, sticks and no fear of creepy crawlies

How you do it
Set your child on a mission: to collect leaves, sticks and twigs. More independent children can walk on their own holding the box or bag, or ride their trike or scooter with you to explore the farthest reaches of your local green space.

Now for building the hotel. Lay two or three pieces of string, each about 70cm long, on the ground a few centimetres from each other and start making alternating layers of twigs or sticks, then leaves on top of the string.

When you’ve got a good chunky pile, wind and tie the pieces of string around your finished layers, and voilà, you have a bug hotel.

Now’s the time for your child’s second mission: to collect the hotel guests. Look for worms, beetles, woodlice, spiders maybe.

You can leave the hotel camouflaged in the park, or take it home to a garden or patio. And every so often, your child can check on how popular the hotel is.

Play time
20-30 minutes 

7. Number ball


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What is it?
Catching game with a few numbers thrown in

What you need
A ball

How you play
Stand a short distance from your child and roll, kick or throw the ball towards them. As you do, shout out the number ‘1’. As they pass the ball back to you they need to shout out the next number, eg 2. You then pass the ball back again, shouting the next number, eg 3.

Young toddlers can roll the ball back and forth, while older children can enjoy throwing and catching. Don’t worry if your toddler doesn’t know all the letters, this game is about having fun, and you can help out with the tricky ones.

You can also play this game by shouting out the names of your child’s favourite story or film characters, although singing the Frozen theme tune is optional.

Play time 
5-10 minutes

8. Animal footprints

What is it?
Noisy animal identification game

What you need
A stick to draw on muddy ground or chalk if you have some

How you play
Let’s face it, on every parent’s list of skills is the ability to make great animal noises. This game gives you the chance to practise them – and encourage your child to join in.

First, use a stick or chalk to draw an animal footprint on the ground. Stuck for ideas? Try a lion or tiger paw, a horseshoe-shaped pony print, a duck’s webbed foot, a wavy snake imprint or an enormous elephant’s print.

Let your child discover the footprint and then try to identify the animal by making the sound and even move around like the animal.

With little toddlers, this is where your am dram skills come in. See if your toddler can figure out which animal you are.

Play time
10 minutes

9. Hunt the ball

What is it?
A collection game

What you need
A few balls plus a bag or hula hoop

How you play
Scatter the balls around the park and encourage your toddler to find each one and bring it back to put inside the hula hoop or bag.

Give them different ways of getting around to collect the balls, such as hopping, running, riding on a trike or scooter.

You can make the game more difficult for older children by having two hula hoops or circles, and asking them to put small balls in one, and larger balls in the other.

Play time
10 minutes

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