Skip to main content

Montessori Friendly Tips for Outdoor Toddler Exploration

I've mentioned this several times, but over the last few years we have made a much more conscious effort to get outside in all types of weather. Yes, that even means in Minnesota's long winters. But, in the winter there just isn't as much to explore here. The world is covered in ice and snow and pretty much that's it. But, now that Spring is really here, our world is far more exciting. From insects and flowers, to vegetable gardens and (gross) dog poop - even our immediate yard is a complete wonder for Teddy. 
Being outside with an active young toddler can be a little hectic. There's so much to explore! There's so much you could taste! But, not everything is safe. And we can't prepare the outdoor environment in the same way we can prepare the indoors to remove all danger. So it really becomes a balancing act between a child's safety and their drive and need to explore the environment. 

Montessori friendly tips for outdoor toddler exploration

Get on your toddler's level. This is something I recommend for indoors as well, but get on your child's level and check out the space. See the world as they see it. You'll discover what is really attractive or possibly dangerous. Then you can plan to make those areas as safe as possible. 

Know your yard/space. Get to know the plants and animals living around you. Which are safe to eat? Which are dangerous? Sometimes you can find a plant identification app that can help you if you aren't sure. This will help you know when you really need to keep your child away from something or if you can encourage gentle exploration. {If you're looking to learn animal or bird names, many states have books in this series which are awesome}

Stay close but not too close. Stay vigilant, especially if you still have a mouther. But still try to allow for exploration of the environment. 

Redirect to something edible. Make sure to plant something your child can eat! Try some herbs in a pot if you don't have a ton of space. This makes for a fun redirect if your toddler still needs a lot of oral exploration. Remember lots of flowers are edible too so it doesn't have to be herbs. Just make sure to skip chemicals. 

Set some limits and stick to them. Know what you are comfortable with and what you aren't. For us, there's no playing in the road. "We can play on the sidewalk, or you'll need to hold my hand." Or "we need to say on the driveway or we will have to play in the backyard." Just be clear and consistent then follow through. 

Fence it off. If there is something dangerous, or precious that you don't want hurt, try a temporary fence. There are tons of options and even a small edging can sometimes be enough of a visual reminder for a toddler to keep out of that area. 

Give practical life opportunities. Don't forget to provide tools for some practical work outside. While free exploration is always fun for toddlers, they love to really get in there and do some work for themselves. 

Try not to overreact. Weird things might get in their mouths. They are going to get dirty. They might even develop a fascination with dead bugs (hello Nora!) But, more likely than not, they are going to be ok. We just need to react calmly (and swiftly if it's truly dangerous) and remain in control. If we overreact we might allow our preconceived notions of the outdoors influence our children's own relationship. 

Easy, free tips for allowing toddlers to get outside and explore. These Montessori parenting tips balance the need to move with safety concerns.

And that's it! Do you have any tips to make outdoor exploration more successful for toddlers? 


Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2020

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2020 UPDATE: This list is updated for another year! Enjoy a variety of Montessori friendly finds from both major retailers and smaller shops!  So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, but only works for classroom settings. While there are many works that I recommend for home school use, you won't find these

Our Kids' Montessori Gift Lists 2020

With the holiday season upon us we've been making lists and gathering gifts for the Kavanaugh children. It's always a fun process of observing my children, seeing what they would really be interested in and making some decisions based on what I see. This year is different because I'm also making decisions knowing that we are looking at a very long and quiet winter ahead. So that's influencing the amount I will buy and the specific choices I will/have made.  Henry and Nora are also at the point, being into the second plane of development, where they heavily influence the items on the list and what is ultimately purchased. So, you'll see that while Montessori influences what I will purchase and what goes on their list, so does their own preferences and personality.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore Teddy is 14-months-old right now and as the fourth baby, we have so many toddler things. But, there are a few things I've still found tha

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return.  That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains,  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. "A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables