This morning my little walker and I needed to get out of the house and grab some fresh air on this crisp, clear day. So we grabbed the bucket that goes with his shape sorter (find here) and headed out for a 20-minute walk around our complex to go collect some autumn leaves.
Our little nature walk made it easy to practice a host of toddler-level developmental skills. We worked on safety awareness and following directions as he and I engaged in the age-old power struggle of holding Mama’s hand while walking across the parking lot. I pointed out leaves on the ground while he followed my gaze and went to pick them up (referred to as “joint attention“). And he practiced his fairly new skill of squatting to grab items from the ground and then standing back up without losing his balance.
You can go on a nature walk with an older toddler and challenge them to only look for one type of object (like leaves), or you could challenge them even further by encouraging them to find two or more types of objects on your walk (leaves, flower petals, pine needles) and then place them in separate bags or buckets based on category. It’s a fun and natural way to introduce the concepts of matching, sorting, and same/different while helping them expand their vocabulary and getting a bit of fresh air and exercise in the process!