To say that I have busy toddler is an understatement. Once he began crawling, the chase began. When he started walking and running, all bets were off. I’m constantly having to come up with things to do to keep him busy.  In the summer, we try to go outdoors as much as possible so he can run free! Here are 5 simple ways you can enjoy the outdoors with your busy tot …

1. Let your toddler explore. Whether at the playground or the local beach, allow kids to explore their environment without help from an adult. My son loves looking for shells and making things out of sand. I love watching his face when he builds something all on his own. It’s amazing what a child can learn when they’re left to play.

2. Hit the slides – My little guy (like every other toddler in the universe) absolutely loves sliding down slides. He can slide and slide and slide until he’s so tired he can’t slide anymore, which pretty much makes this the perfect pre-naptime activity out there.

3. Introduce your toddler to nature. I’m teaching both of my children to appreciate nature using gardening. My little guy is enjoying planting different flowers and watching them grow. I like that he’s getting his hands dirty and learning the science of how things work. Don’t have a place to garden? Try collecting leaves, rocks or sticks on a nature walk or hike or feel the different textures of bark on the trees. There are countless ways to share nature with a busy toddler. In fact, toddlers are the best audience at this age when they are so full of wonder.

4. Let them run free. My kids love to run after each other. When we’re outside they’re free to chase each other as much as they want. They giggle and have a blast, while getting some great exercise.

5. Teach them to value their imagination. I’m so thankful my kids enjoy playing together. When we’re outside it seems like they’re in their own little world, using their imagination in ways they can’t inside. I try to encourage this as much as possible. It’s so important for kids to use their imagination and be free.