Toddler Play: Real Life. Real Entertainment. Real Play.

play outside

How to Entertain a Toddler (Toddler Play)

Have you ever been sucked in to all those ‘educational’ and ‘developmental’ programs that are ‘beneficial’ for toddlers? (Don’t worry, I have on occasion.)

This morning I had a moment. While my son and I took our puppy out for a walk I recalled why playing outside is so beneficial for kids. Not only does playing outdoors reduce the incidence of childhood depression and anxiety, it encourages physical activity, is naturally sensory, and so much more.

Lately, trucks have resumed working on the soccer pitch just beyond our house. All day, these big trucks (“Trucks! Trucks! Trucks!”) drive by with dirt. And down the road there are bulldozers grinding and chugging away. There is ACTION!

So, during our walk we paused to watch the trucks (just like yesterday) although this time we went over where we could see them dumping their loads of dirt. We saw bulldozers. We saw stuff. We felt the earth rumble. We heard the trucks grind past. We heard the clunk of their bucket doors slam shut. We felt the soft breeze as we stumbled through the soft snow. We smelt the exhaust from the trucks and the fresh dirt and melting snow. We saw life. We saw real stuff. First hand.

And we chatted and interacted.

“Look at the trucks. They are dumping the dirt over there so the bulldozer can spread it out.”


“It sure is muddy over there. We’ll have to walk the dog somewhere else for awhile.”


“Yes, those are big trucks, aren’t they? And lots of them!”


I literally had to carry him away when we started to get chilled.

And while it is common for others to convince us that we need so many amazing things and need to spend money to raise healthy kids who will succeed in this world, sometimes we need to step back and live real life. In the here and now–right outside our front doors. Because that is where the world is. The real world where our kids will be living.

What’s outside your front door these days? Any good toddler play out there? (Or for other ages?)

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