Fun Outdoor Play Area for 1 Year Old

Inside: Toys and activities for your backyard play space for 1 year old. Activities you can do with your 1 year old outside that are budget friendly, and often use what you already have!

Backyard Play Space for 1 Year Old

Outdoor play with your 1 year old can seem overwhelming, they still seem so little.
But once they’re mobile, they are ready to explore…and so the adventures begin!

As a parent my goal is having activities that will grow with my child so that I do not have to keep buying “more”.

If you take careful consideration in what toys you invest in for your child you can save money in the long run, and have less “stuff” laying around the yard.

Often you can come up with many outdoor play activities with things you already have around the house!

Young children love to feel they are able to “help” with tasks around the home, so don’t feel you need to have heaps of toys at all!

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Outdoor Toys a 1 Year Old Will Love

Cubby House & Sandpit

We found a 2nd hand cubby house and a sandbox to give some TLC and that was the starting point for our outdoor play area we created for our 1 year old.

Having foam pieces inside the house has been great keeping his hands and feet splinter free and making it easy to rinse clean. We picked this tip up from the parents’ we bought it off of and would recommend them for any parent with a wooden play house.

He was gifted one set of sandbox toys and that will easily last us for awhile. Less is more when it comes to toys.

outdoor play area with cubby house and sandpit for 1 year old
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Little Tikes Mower

Shortly after that he took a liking to his Nan’s little tikes mower and it somehow ended up living in our yard instead Haha.

This has been of the most used toys in our backyard.

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Whenever we need to mow he will go and get his mower and mow on the opposite side of the yard mirroring us.

Little tikes mower for 1 year old outdoor toy
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What you can do with 1 Year Old Outside

There are still plenty of activities you can do with your 1 year old that don’t require toys for those on a tight budget!

Your little one want’s to do EVERYTHING you do I bet. So find ways to let them help you!

outdoor play activities for 1 year old including gardening, bubbles, chickens
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Help in the Veggie Garden

They want to do what you do, so let them help you out in some form with your normal garden tasks.

In the veggie garden let them watch and help you. Some tasks my 1 year old helps me do in the veggie garden are:

  • Hold bucket for weeds
  • I hand veggie to him to put in bucket
  • I let him hold egg and walk it to kitchen
  • Holds hose to water veggies
  • Watering can to water plants

I bet you read the egg one and thought, “Oh my goodness!”.

Guess what, he has only broke 1 egg in 6 months when he lost his balance and dropped it on kitchen tiles.

Toddlers will surprise you with what they are capable of if you give them a chance!

Give them guidance and the right tools and they can do a lot.

A child-sized watering can helps with watering tasks when they are this little. Bigger ones get a bit bulky for them to walk with and use.

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Let 1 Year Old Water Flowers

This is my 1 year old’s favorite outdoor activity, watering the trees and flowers.

After watching my husband and I water the trees for so long, he expressed he wanted a turn.
So we chanced it and let him have a go.

He stood there holding the hose in same place for 5 min to water the tree, no problems. Let me say I was surprised! He loved the responsibility.

Now we go to the backyard together and I let my 1 year old water some of the plants while I do the weeding.

Occasionally he side tracks and it goes from side to side, or he gets wet. But for his age he stays on task fairly well and truly enjoys it.

Sweeping Back Step

Another common activity that I do that my 1 year old wants to help with is sweeping the back step.

Between dog hair and dirt, it is a common chore for our household.

So I found a toddler-sized wooden broom for him and we both sweep together. Often he chooses to do it other times through the day as well.

1 year old boy sweeping outside for outdoor montessori play
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Fun Outdoor Activities to Do with 1 Year Old

These are all small activities we do in the backyard with our 1 year old every week.

List of outdoor fun for 1 year old:

  • Bubbles
  • “Painting” with paintbrush and water
  • Sweeping
  • Ball Toss
  • Play in Sandbox
  • Help parent with gardening
  • Watering plants
  • Walk Dog on leash
  • Chalk drawing

How to Avoid Too Many Outdoor Toys?

  • Think long-term use before purchasing anything

  • Set a Limit
    • If you reach that limit, donate one to buy one.
      Aka, 1 in -> 1 out

  • What normal items can be used in place of “toy” version?

Common Questions About Making an Outdoor Play Area

How do I make my backyard safe?

First and foremost, You must be watching! That’s the key part of outdoor time, you need to be present.

Every child develops differently, so only you will know their abilities through their stages. My child could walk before 1, so activities that included walking/climbing we an option. That won’t be the same for others.

Here are the best official backyard safety tips I found.

How does outdoor play help toddlers development?

As explained from Porto Biomedical Journal, “Play promotes cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being, offering the necessary conditions for children to thrive and learn. Through play, the child can experiment, solve problems, think creatively, cooperate with others, etc., gaining a deeper knowledge about his/herself and the world. “

How long should toddlers play outside?

As much as possible! Though from I have been able to read up on, a minimum of between 1 and 3 hours a day.

Don’t let weather stop you. There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.

Featured in Twinkl’s Fun Outdoor Activities for Children

Twinkl UK

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outdoor play area for 1 year olds
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Backyard Play Space for 1 year Old

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2 thoughts on “Fun Outdoor Play Area for 1 Year Old”

  1. Girl, there is definitely such a thing as bad weather. You clearly don’t live in the Midwest. Or north. Or by the ocean. Or on an island….

    • I actually have lived in all those places. I grew up in the Midwest as a toddler and young child, weather can be deemed “dangerous” such as tornado or actual blizzard you are correct, but if it was just cold, snowy, rain, wind, etc. I still went outside to play that day with the correct clothing. The Danish often still go outside and play and I would say their weather is worse on most occasions than the Midwest. And personally I found the northern coast and island living to have the most mild weather. I feel that the perception of “bad weather” needs to be challenged and reflected upon, is it actually bad weather or does it just require different attire? Kids love to explore outside, even if only for 30 minutes with a fluffy snowsuit on to attempt a snowman.


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