Routines – Going Outside

You can do so much while on walks with your toddler. There is so much to observe outdoors even if you are just walking around the block. Ask lots of questions. There are open-ended questions or close-ended questions; questions that have just one answer.

Examples of open–ended questions:

  • What do you see?
  • Where do you think we’re going?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • What would you like to do outside?
  • What do you want to bring outside?

Examples of closed–ended questions (Yes / No questions)

  • Can you find the green car?
  • Can you find your shoes?
  • Did you see the squirrel?
  • Do you want to go to the park?
  • Do you want to go to the backyard?
  • Do you want to play with water?

Depending on where your child is expressively, you may have to mix it up a bit sometimes. If your toddler has a good imagination and can tell you lots of things, then open-ended questions are great. Let them explore and tell you what they are seeing. Let them name things for you. If your child cannot seem to answer questions well, we might have to scaffold (support them and make things easier). That is where close-ended questions come into play. Asking yes/no or even giving two choices takes some cognitive load off your toddler. If you ask them, “where do you want to go today?” They might not know where to start with that answer. But if you give them a choice, “Do you want to go to the park or walk around the block?” That allows them to choose but they have a couple of suggestions.

You can teach lots of different concepts when you are outside.

  1. Teach adjectives by playing I Spy.
    1. I spy something green. They have to guess what’s green. Maybe grass, maybe a bush.
    2. I spy something tall. Maybe a tree, maybe the building.
  2. Teach kids part / whole concepts.
    1. A tree has branches, and leaves, and a trunk.
    2. A car has a door, and wheels, and windows.
  3. Teach children to anticipate what’s next.
    1. Where do you think we’re going?
    2. Which way should we turn? (if on a very familiar path).
  4. Another way to teach adjectives is just to describe the things you see along your walk.
    1. That rock is bumpy / smooth.
    2. That grass is long.
    3. That tree is big.
    4. That dog is small.

I hope you can enjoy time with your toddler outside. Fresh air is great for everyone.