How to Make an Outdoor Environment Adaptable to Toddlers: 4 Steps
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Create a safe outdoor play area for your toddler.

Do you worry that if you let your toddler play outside, he will spend more time getting stitches in the emergency room than he did at the playground? Most children could use a little more time to explore the world outside, but busy schedules or simply worrying about possible injury can cause some moms to want to keep their toddlers indoors. Though all toddlers definitely need constant supervision while playing outdoors, the fresh air and exercise that parents and children get make it worth the effort. Create a safe outdoor play environment for your tot and explore the world through her eyes.


  1. 1
    Spread wood chips or sand approximately 8 to 12 inches deep or lay mats constructed from rubber or recycled materials within the area to create a soft surface. Design your toddler environment with surfaces that reflect heat and stay cool. Pay special attention to areas where tots jump or fall to place the most comfortable surfaces.
  2. 2
    Check all pieces of play equipment for jagged or sharp edges, broken pieces or rusted surfaces and either repair or discard them in an effort to maintain all play equipment for a safe toddler outdoor environment. Always comply with manufacturer safety suggestions along with local laws regarding children’s play equipment, and spread items out to offer the space for kids to run freely. Situate your play area to prevent toddlers from accessing streets, standing water or other dangers. Install fences and natural boundaries, like rows of tall bushes, to prevent unwanted guests from entering your play area as well as keep your toddler from slipping out unnoticed.
  3. 3
    Install hand rails and large decks on all structures to customize your play equipment according to the size and abilities of your tot. Anchor each play set to prevent it from tipping over while your tyke is playing. Choose pieces that are appropriate for this age group, like low-hanging swings, pretend-play pirate ships or slides, since a play structure that is too challenging for 2- to-3-year-olds can cause accidents.
  4. 4
    Place soft grassy patches and sandboxes for safe areas to play with toys, shovels and balls to create an area where your child can explore on his own or play in small groups when friends come over for a play date. Allow your toddler to investigate crawling worms or roly-poly bugs, but make sure she doesn’t put anything in her mouth!

Things You'll Need

  • Wood chips
  • Sand
  • Play mats
  • Fencing
  • Bushes
  • Anchors

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

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