No pool to kill time in this summer? No prob. With a little creativity, all of us pool-less parents can still keep our too-young-to-really-garden tots fully occupied in the sun. (Just don’t tell my husband… I still want that pool one day.)

Here’s how my toddlers and I are passing the time (so far):

1) BLOW BUBBLES. (Duh. The obvious.)

2) TAG YOUR SIDEWALK. Remember how much you loved chalk as a kid? (I did.) My courtyard is starting to look like some serious toddler-territory that you do NOT want to cross.

3) SPRAY WATER EVERYWHERE. Use the garden hose, squirt guns, sprinklers, whatever. Just make sure you’re completely obnoxious about it and scream a lot (sorry neighbors, it’s most fun that way).


4) WASH YOUR MINI-CARS. (One of my fellow Right Start Moms suggested this one but I can’t remember who! Speak up ladies so I can give credit where credit is due.) Got any of those ‘toddler car mobiles’ spread about your patio? Wash ‘em! With a hose, real soap and a sponge, you can skip bath time that night. (Another friend of mine also told me how she used to let her little girl ‘bathe’ her bath toys in a bin in the backyard… brilliant.) We’ve yet to try these fabulous ideas…

5) TURN SNACK TIME INTO A PICNIC. This has quickly turned into a daily ritual every afternoon. I was shocked at what a hit this has been with my girls (you’d think this is the only time I ever let them out of the house the way they respond to it).


6) DO A TREASURE HUNT. Think ‘Easter Bunny stuff’ without the actual Easter Bunny.

7) STAGE A PHOTOSHOOT. I know what you’re thinking: What toddler wants to have their pictures taken? But consider it: This isn’t a real photoshoot, it’s a fake and fun one that frankly doesn’t matter what pictures come from it. Attack your kids’ closets, come up with some crazy-creative costumes, then stage a ‘scene’ in your yard using stuff you’ve already got (firewood, flowers, pots, picnic blankets, toys, etc). Thinking of my girls having a tea party with all their stuffed animals on the grass in ridiculous tutus and my oversized sun-hats makes me giggle… wait, I just gave myself an idea!



Jill Simonian is a Television Host, Entertainment Journalist and Founder/Author of TheFabMom. Having two "surprise" baby girls in two years (September 2010 & March 2012) she contributes to ModernMom, Momversation, BlogHer, has guest-blogged for BabyCenter and was a co-host for the 2011 web series HerSay alongside Soleil Moon Frye. Jill's day jobs have included on-camera work for CNN/HLN's "Showbiz Tonight", Travel Channel, KTLA-5 (Los Angeles), ReelzChannel, the UK's popular ITV morning shows "Daybreak" & "Lorraine" and more. Jill lives in Los Angeles with her husband and girls, and has a blast trying to keep life ‘fabulous' after having babies.

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2 Responses to 7 quick backyard summer fun ideas for toddlers.

  1. When I get really energetic I blow up the big pool and invite over his friends for an afternoon play date in the water. :)

  2. Gwynn Torres says:

    Here’s something we did in the backyard when the kids had friends over and everyone was bored. We staged a “Goofy Olympics,” making up events that kids from 2 to 8 could compete in. Everyone won homemade medals. Kids had a blast.


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