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Easy Toddler Crafts: Inside or Out in the Backyard

written by: Sylvia Cochran • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 8/2/2012

There are numerous easy toddler crafts to do at home--but have you given some thought to combining cheap art materials with great backyard activities that provide some great physical exercise? Read on for some exciting tips and tricks.

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    Change It Up From Indoor Play!

    Cheap art materials may be easy to come by, but not many easy toddler crafts lend themselves to be combined with physical exercise. Not so with toddler crafts that also involve an element from the outdoors! Not only do these activities allow for a clever combination of movement, exercise, and art development, but they also promote development of gross as well as fine motor skills, shape recognition, and color knowledge.

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    Get Ready, Get Set, Go!

    Leaf Hunt

    Melissa Elizondo had the right idea when she combined a nature walk with Nature Crafts for Toddlers. Leaves become cheap art materials, and hunting for just the right raw material provides the much-needed exercise healthy children require. Look at the leaf parts, such as the veins that run through it, in the spring or summer. In the autumn, you can point out color changes.

    Bubble Art

    Arm yourself with a camera and a couple bottles of bubble-making liquid. Keep a refill handy. Homemade bubbles are easily mixed out of one cup of liquid dish detergent and three cups of tepid water. For an extra splash, add a bit of red food coloring. If you have a number of children in your care, mix a different color for each one. Go outside and encourage the children to blow bubbles. As the bubbles are forming and ascending, take lots of photos.

    After the kids are done running around and blowing bubbles, go inside and help the kids to clean up while printing out the photos with your computer’s printer.

    Next, assemble the photos to make a collage. You might make a huge circle to resemble another bubble out of all the bubble photos. This is one of the toddler crafts to do at home that may include as much art development as you like. You may choose to have the child cut out the pictures or decorate the empty spaces in between them.

    Hand Print Art

    Toddler crafts to do at home or in the backyard may also involve the use of color and paint. Mix homemade, washable finger paints and allow the children to decorate the trunks of trees, fences, and the sides of the house. After a good rain or washing down with a garden hose, the artwork will disappear again. This is another prime photo opportunity!

    Sculpture Art

    Sculpture art projects are the kind of toddler crafts to do at home when neatness doesn't count. Unless your garden is perfectly manicured, you probably have that one corner where the weeds are taking over or nothing grows. Apply ample amounts of water to the area, dress the kids in easy-to-wash clothes, and allow them to create sculptures out of mud, leaves, and sticks.

    Sculpting is a process that takes sustained attention, and the time spent outdoors is better than the time spent in front of the TV - which is what kids tend to do when sitting with a coloring book on the rug in the living room. Moreover, the frequent squatting exercises the leg muscles while the act of adding smaller sticks and leaves focuses on the motor skills-component of the art project.

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    Photo Credit

    "Toddler exploring" by Kucharek/Wikimedia Commons at