Sep 13, 2022
Fall is my favorite season and the best time to take your toddler (or toddlers) outside. There are so many outdoor activities you can do with your toddler in autumn to get excited about.
During the heat of the summer I find myself counting down the days till cooler weather. How about you? Those first cooler autumn morning sitting outside drinking coffee as my toddlers play is heavenly!
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Lots! Autumn tends to have great weather and perfect conditions to take your toddler outdoors.
Toddlers don’t require much to have fun. Sometimes it is the simple things that end up being the most fun of all, like jumping in a leaf pile or searching for the largest acorn. There are plenty of toddler outdoor autumn activities that you can do today!
Toddlers don’t require expensive things. What they love most is for you to have an open imagination and be willing to get down on their level and play. However, a couple key outdoor toys for toddler for days at home doesn't hurt.
Cold autumn days don't mean you have to stay inside. It just means you have to dress appropriately for the weather. Invest in warm clothes for your toddlers. If it is snowing look for toddler snow outfits and a good pair of snow boots and socks.
A hike might be the perfect cold autumn day outdoor activity or, take a visit to the local pumpkin farm. Keep reading for my full list of 24 toddler outdoor autumn activities.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 3 hours a day of physically active play. Outside play is a great way to achieve this and toddler outdoor autumn activities will give you ideas of fun things to do.
There has been an initiative to get kids outside and active. The 1,000 hour outside challenge is a great example of this. The goal of this challenge is trying to match screen time with nature time. Nature play is very important in a child’s social and physical development.
The most popular fall activities are pick your own farms, leaf jumping and outdoor bonfires. But don’t worry there are plenty more activities you can do outside with your toddler. Some activities right in your own backyard. Just keep reading!
Pumpkin picking might be the most popular autumn activity. It is forefront in everyone’s mind and that is for a good reason, it is fun and seasonal.
Whether you grow your own pumpkins in your garden or you head over to a local pumpkin farm, pumpkin picking is a must for toddlers.
Let your toddler pick out their favorite pumpkin. If you are worried about them choosing a pumpkin that is too big tell them they can pick any pumpkin as long as they can carry it. That should help reduce the possibilities.
After pumpkin picking, decorating is a must. For toddlers I suggest painting the pumpkin rather than carving it. Knives are dangerous and knives should NOT be around little people.
Painting pumpkins is simple and fun. Place the pumpkins outside,(to reduce making a mess inside), and grab some toddler friendly paints. I squirt the paint on a paper plate and get some big paintbrushes and let my toddlers go crazy.
Toddlers don’t have the best hand control, but whatever they design will be great! If your toddler isn’t too independent, he/she might even let you help!
Farms are geared toward family fun in the autumn. Check out which local farm is best to visit and make a day or afternoon out of it. Different farms could have different fun outdoor autumn activities so you might be able to visit more than one and get different experiences.
My toddlers love farms that allow them to get close to animals, especially the chickens. Feeding the animals is also a winner in our house.
Autumn is the perfect weather for outdoor picnics. Make some sandwiches and snacks and grab a picnic blanket. For an extra special picnic make sure you pack a nice treat for the end, maybe a chocolate chip cookie!
If your toddler isn’t great with sitting on a blanket a travel highchair might do the trick. You can place the highchair on the blanket and place the food on the tray. Eating al fresco always helps to reinvigorate the soul.
Or if sitting on the ground is not for you, a picnic bench could be the solution. Lots of parks offer this option and some have a playground in sight!
Scavenger hunts are always a hit with toddlers. Take my autumn scavenger hunt (PDF VERSION) or create your own. Mine is designed to be done on a hike or in your backyard, if you have several trees and space.
If your toddler is reluctant to start, tell him or her there is a surprise once he or she finds all the items. A great surprise is using some of the items you found on the scavenger hunt to create a nature arts and crafts project.
Apple picking is another idyllic outdoor autumn activity for toddlers. Maybe you have a couple apple trees in your yard or you take your toddler to an apple farm and pick your own.
Once you have collected the apples, why not try making an apple dessert with your toddler. Baking with your toddler is always a hit in my family. Or squeeze the apples for fresh apple juice.
Sunflowers normally are at their peak early autumn. Sunflowers are tall and cheery, with their bright yellow petals and large dark face. Your toddler will run crazy among all the sunflowers, most of them will be taller than he/she is.
Heading to the local farms is always a great idea. Even better is picking a farm in autumn that also has a corn maze. Getting lost among the corn is a sure way to use up your toddler’s energy in a fun way.
Make sure you go in with your toddler and keep them in eyesight. Corn mazes can be complex and you wouldn’t want to lose your child in the fun!
Personally, this might be one of my favorite outdoor autumn activities to do with a toddler. Rake up some fallen leaves and I bet your toddler will already know what to do. Encourage them to jump in the leaves again and again.
My toddlers like to bury their toys in leaf piles and then have someone else find the toys. Or just lay in the leaves and throw the leaves into the air. It might take longer to clear the leaves from your yard, but you are sure to get a lot more giggles out of it!
Also your toddler might enjoy having his/her own toddler rake and help you rake the leaf piles. Before I got a toddler size rakes my two boys would fight over the large adult rakes; they both wanted to help mommy.
Hiking with a toddler in the fall is special. The leaves change and the air turns crisp creating the perfect atmosphere to explore the trails. Just make sure you dress your toddler appropriately for the hike and you are sure to have a great time.
Remember toddlers can’t hike as far as adults and they are very distractible. Knowing some tips to keep hiking fun will help keep your little one moving and engaged. And a hiking carrier backpack might be a worthy investment.
Another classic autumn outdoor activity with a toddler is to take a hayride. Perhaps the hay ride is to a sunflower field, to a pumpkin patch or just a nice ride through some scenic spots.
Safety first, when on a hayride with your toddler there will be no seat belts. Make sure your toddler is in reach of you and won’t fall off.
Once autumn arrives the days get shorter. Earlier sunsets make it possible to have bonfires outside before your toddler's normal bedtime, at least in my house. During the summer it is hard as the sunsets after my toddlers go to bed, and I do love keeping to my schedule.
Staring at fire is captivating and your toddler is sure to find it mesmerizing. You can bring out some marshmallows to roast and if you’re up for it make a whole S’more. Just make sure you find the perfect roasting sticks before it gets dark or buy some roasting sticks.
Everyone knows that trick or treat happens on Halloween, but that might not be the only day trick or treat happens. Lots of communities hold trick or treat events around towns or at a park leading up to October 31.
Check the local events to see if you can find some outdoor trick or treating to practice before the big day. Trunk or treat has become more popular and you might even get to create your own Halloween Trunk.
My toddler is all about arts and crafts, especially if he can use items he has found in nature. He loves to search the yard for things we can use in a new arts and craft project. Fall time provides colored leaves, pinecones and acorns that can be used in so many different crafts.
Some of our favorite toddler fall nature arts and crafts are
Playgrounds are a hit any time of year, but autumn has great weather for it. Playgrounds allow your toddlers to explore different play equipment that helps to develop their motor skills.
Each playground is unique and it is fun to explore all the different ones in your area. Your toddler will probably have a favorite and insist that you keep going back to that one.
I like to cycle with my toddler to a local playpark. It is the perfect combo, I get a workout by cycling to the park and he gets to run around and play!
Toddlers love water and especially love splashing in puddles. After a nice rain storm grab your toddler’s rain boots and head outside. See who can find the biggest puddle and make the biggest splash as you jump into it.
Or gear your toddler up in a rainproof outfit and go out while it is raining. Grab buckets and shovels and have fun. There are plenty of things to do for toddlers outside in the rain, just make sure their clothes allow them to stay warm and dry.
Another amazing toddler outdoor autumn activity is a fair! Communities often have a fall fair. If not in your town maybe one of the surrounding towns might have one. Fairs are great fun for toddlers. They often have games, food, and entertainment.
Some might even have amusement park rides, like a carousel or ferris wheel. Others could have animals to pet or face painting. Each fall fair is unique, but guaranteed to be interesting to your toddler.
Sleeping under the stars is a magical experience. Exposure to nature is giving your child a great start in life. Nature can provide so many benefits to kids and going camping is one way to achieve this.
Our backyard camping set up with Core 9 Person Tent
Make sure you have a waterproof tent and the right sleeping arrangement for your toddler and you are set. Pro tip, a toddler will think camping in the backyard is just as fun as camping somewhere new.
Autumn time means the changing of the leaves. A great game to play while going on a walk or hike with your toddler is I-spy. You can spy the different colors of the leaves and have your toddler try to spot them.
Or your toddler might like to spy the colors as you search for the tree that he or she is looking at. You can also expand the I-spy past leaf colors to anything around.
Fall time for gardens means cleaning up the summer harvest and often preparing the beds for colder weather. Or maybe planting a cold weather crop. Let your toddler help; toddlers love playing in the dirt and doing what their mommy or daddy does.
Provide your toddler with their own gardening tools and don’t be surprised when he/she starts pulling the weeds out with you.
Outdoor play kitchens are a blast with toddlers and a great toddler outdoor autumn activity. Find a bucket and prepare to make autumn soup. Let your toddler collect ingredients from the yard, think leaves and pinecones, and add it to the bucket with some water. Get a big stick to stir the soup.
Let your toddler’s imagination lead this fun outdoor toddler activity. Perhaps it isn’t a soup but a stew and water isn’t required. Or maybe you need to get mud and make mud cakes.
Disc Golf has become more popular in the last several years. It is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise. Search the local area for disc golf courses and you might be surprised how many there are. Start by getting yourself a couple starter disc and "gift" one to your toddler.
Letting your toddler be part of a sport or new hobby you love will ensure your toddler will be interested too. Just don't expect them to get any hole in ones anytime soon!
If your toddler and you really love disc golf, you can get a basket for your backyard to practice with.
Autumn times is gorgeous to take an outdoor train ride to see the changing leaves and countryside. Look for a local train company and book for the peak fall foliage for your area.
Just remember an outdoor train can get cold. Dress your toddlers warm, better to have extra layers and not need it then the opposite!
Riding a bike with a toddler is a great way to spend a fall day outside. Either with your toddler riding their own bike or getting a bike carrier for yours! Make sure you both have helmets and set off on an adventure.
Me riding using my Hamax Caress Child Bike Seat
I like to make my bike rides fun for my toddlers by cycling to a park or a nearby farm. Once there I get him off my bike and let him have some play time and often a bite to eat before riding him. My husband also rides with my other toddler making it a fun family outing.
Let me know if you have any other fun toddler outdoor autumn activities!