1. Open the doors often.
Aim to provide your child with 15 to 30 minutes of fresh air activities a day—weather permitting. Dress in layers and apply sunscreen. Plan one long stretch outside (walking, talking, playing), or get some sunshine several times a day in shorter bursts, if you find that more convenient.
2. Get moving.
Save those at-home climbers and giant swing sets for later. For now, satisfy your sweetie with more low-key (read: low-cost) options. Work on those gross motor skills: Pass or roll a large ball back and forth. Show her how to step on and off a low, stable tree trunk. Hold her hand while she practices. Run, skip, jump, and climb alongside her. She’ll learn from watching.
3. Make a playdate.
Invite a neighborhood pal to join you and your toddler for some fresh air fun. Parallel play dominates the scene in the under-two set. But sharing the same outdoor space and the same outdoor toys sets the stage for understanding, give-and-take, and cooperation later.
4. Ditch the playbook.
Assume that your explorer won’t always use his toys exactly the way they were intended. A shovel may be designed for digging sand or dirt, but your sweetie may use it to move rocks or mash pinecones. It’s all part of learning. Just go with it.
5. Lean in enthusiastically.
Look for opportunities to show your toddler that sights, sounds, smells, and textures fill the world with natural beauty. Share your observations (and stretch her vocabulary while you’re at it). Touch tree bark, listen to birds chirp, watch clouds float, and, of course, smell the roses.