Feeling the gush of the fresh air outside, listening to the wind blow and the leaves rustle can do wonders to any human being. Being outdoors, close to nature, can be therapeutic. However, the benefits of outdoor activities are not limited to adults. Infants and toddlers too can enjoy its amazing advantages.
Life with a newborn baby can get tough at times for parents. Thus, being out in nature can be refreshing for the new parents. Outdoor activities allow infants and toddlers to bond with their parents away from the mundaneness of the home. It would be good for the physical health and the psychological well-being of both the baby and the new parents.
Pediatricians, too, have always stressed taking your baby outdoors and letting them experience new things. Thus, this time we are sharing 15 extremely stimulating and fun outdoor activities for babies that can be enjoyed by both the infants and their parents. Make Infant outdoor play a part of your daily life and experience the goodness it brings along.
Why Do Babies Need Outdoor Activities?
Often new parents hesitate to take their baby outdoors in fear of the pollutants and microorganisms that reside outside. Indeed, the baby’s immune system has not fully developed yet, and they are more prone to infections. However, taking your baby outside has multiple benefits that you wouldn’t want to miss. Though getting outside might be overwhelming for the kids for the first few times, the time spent outdoors in nature can do wonders for your baby’s mental and physical well-being.
Being new to the course of the world, infants and toddlers always try to touch and feel things to make sense of the environment around them. Everything they find outside becomes interesting to them. They try to understand the different sounds, temperatures, and smells in their vicinity. Here are a few wonderful benefits of outdoor activities for infants and toddlers that you can expect.
1. Spending time outside would build a rich sensory environment for your baby. In turn, this will improve the rate of formation of their brain synapses.
2. The variety of smells, sounds, and textures present outdoors will give them a more meaningful sensory experience than being indoors.
3. Research has shown that babies who spend time in nature have developed stronger immunity and fall sick less often.
4. Babies get exposed to the much-needed Vitamin D right from their starting year.
5. Exposure to fresh air also helps in improving lung function.
6. If your toddler has begun to enjoy running and jumping, nothing will make him happier than being outside in an open area. With ample space to run around, being outside will be a great way for him to exercise.
7. While playing outdoors, kids get accustomed to the normal bacteria and viruses that are always present around us. Thus, the chance of infection and getting ill is reduced.
8. Infants often have trouble falling asleep on their own as they lack the concept of day and night as adults do. Exposure to daylight helps babies make day-night adjustments and develop a naturally attuned sleep rhythm. Infants will thus develop a more consistent sleeping schedule.
9. Research also shows that exposure to fresh air and sunshine helps babies sleep better at night.
10. At last, being with nature reduces stress levels, improves mood, and improves concentration, too. Babies who spend time outdoors overcome the fear of the unknown faster. They also get enhanced opportunities to develop social skills.
Few Things To Consider While Taking Your Babies Outside
Infants are not naturally familiar with the outside environment. As their immune system has not fully developed yet, parents need to consider few things before taking them outside. Here are a few useful tips that would give you some ideas about ensuring a safe outdoor environment for your little bundle of joy.
Going out in the sun? Try staying under a shady and cool place to protect your baby from sunburns and exposure to harmful sun rays. You can use sun hats or put up large umbrellas and let your baby play under its shade. Do not overdress your baby, and make sure to put them in breathable dresses.
If your baby is younger than six months, pediatricians do not recommend using sunscreen on their skin. You can dress your baby in lightweight, soft-colored clothes, preferably made of cotton. Make sure the sleeves and legs are long enough to cover up the body. Try limiting your baby’s time in the heat.
If you are going out in cold weather, make sure your baby is warm. Wrap him in a blanket and bundle him up to give him the needed warmth. You can also get woolen ones that are wonderful for babies during the colder months.
18 Refreshing And Fun Outdoor Activities For Babies
1. Take Them For A Walk
Maybe the simplest activity but one of the most practical outdoor activities for kids is walking outside in nature. Activities do not need to be complicated when it comes to little kids. Just strap him around you, take a stroller or hold him in your arms and you are ready for a short walk around your neighborhood.
Morning or afternoon walks with your baby are a wonderful way to stimulate the baby’s senses without overwhelming them. They would get to see your neighbors and get familiar with their faces and voices. This will help them gain social skills right from their early years. It is also beneficial in cases of social anxiety.
Going for a walk outdoors has also proven to calm babies down. If your little one is being fussy, having a melt-down, or throwing tantrums for no reason, just a short walk in the fresh air can do wonders for them. They would also get familiar with the birds and animals and the trees around and would not be afraid.
2. Let Them Play With Bubbles
A bubble blower and a bowl of soap water can add magic to outdoor time. Take your baby to the backyard or a park and blow some bubbles. Let your baby play with them. They would try to run after the bubbles, try to hold them, and pop them eventually. The feeling of the bubbles bursting on the skin can be a pretty great exercise for sensory development.
If your kid is big enough, try instructing them to pop the bubbles with different parts of the body. Make a game out of it, where bursting the bubbles with fingers or stomping them with feet gains them points. Involve yourself, too. It can be a good method for developing motor skills. It can also be a great bonding time for you and your baby.
3. Take A Splash In A Kiddie Pool
Most kids love playing with water. If your kids love their bathing time, too, try getting a kiddie pool for them. Blow up the pool in the yard, under the open sky and fresh air, and enjoy splashing water with your kids. You can also take them to the beach if you live nearby or head to the community pool when the crowd is less. However, the water in the community pools might be contaminated and may act as a source of infection for little kids. Thus, a small baby pool is a better choice.
You can add some floating toys to the water and let your kid play with them. The bright colors, different textures, and temperatures can be a good sensory experience for your baby. Splashing in the water can also be relaxing during the hot months. You can also put up garden sprinklers or get a regular garden hose and take an outdoor shower with your kids in the yard.
4. Dance To A Breezy Music
Most babies love to dance. You might have seen them grooving to the songs they listen to on television or what you play on your phone, and it is, of course, a joyous sight to see. You can even get a small Bluetooth speaker to your yard and play fun and happy music for them. Involve yourself and dance with them, too.
You can play kiddie rhymes and songs that are musical and fun to listen to. If your kid is starting to speak small words, don’t be surprised to hear him try to mouth the song’s words and sing along. You and your kid will soon be engrossed in the activity, and your giggles and laughter will fill the air. What can make the day happier?
5. Outdoor Tummy Time
Tummy times are of major importance to growing babies. Few minutes on his or her stomach helps in the development of stronger neck and shoulder muscles. It also improves motor skills. So, why not take the tummy time outdoors?
Just take a blanket outside, place it on the grass and lay your baby on his stomach. Let him stay that way for a few minutes. It will help your baby build the strength needed to sit up, roll over and crawl on his own. When your baby is done with the tummy time, roll him over and let him watch the sky.
6. Take Them To A Kid Park
Parks are always intriguing to kids. With a lot more kids to play with, they sure do love going to parks. Taking your baby to the neighborhood park will help him make friends with kids of the same age. It is also helpful in developing social skills. Playing together will allow your baby to learn about sharing and compassion.
7. Watch Birds Together
Watching birds can be an absolute delight! If you have a bird-watching place nearby, it can be a great outdoor activity for babies. You can also take them to lakes to watch and feed ducks and other birds that flock there. Identifying the vibrant colors, different shapes, and sizes of the birds will act as a sensory exercise for your kid without overstimulating them.
8. Arrange A Playdate In The Local Playground
Playdates are always fun for kids. You can arrange a playdate for your kid in a nearby park or playground with other kids of his age. Let them run around the place. If they have baby-friendly swings or slides, you can let them try that, too.
Exploring the playgrounds will give them the experience of new surfaces and textures. Climbing, sliding, and swinging will help them develop better head and neck control, too.
Playing with other babies will allow them to develop the quality of “Parallel Play.” They would also learn to coordinate with their peers. However, if you take them to the playground, choose a time during the off-hours when there are not as many big kids around. Just supervise your babies, and playdates will prove to be a great way to improve their physical and emotional development.
9. Go For A Hike
Hiking can be a great stress reliever for both adults and babies. A change from the regular sight, a gush of fresher air can help elevate the mood. You can wear your baby in a sling or carrier and go for a walk in the woods or a trail. Show your baby the different flowers and the various trees on the way. Let them reach out to touch the leaves and the petals and feel the different textures. However, keep a watch so that they do not put things in their mouth.
10. Have A Jam Session
Usually, kids are intrigued and attracted to things that make noises. You can grab a few toy instruments like drums, keyboards, and kiddie guitars and take your kid out in the yard to have a fun music-making session. It is often seen that kids like playing with household items more than they like their toys.
So, if you do not have any kid-friendly instruments, you don’t have to worry. Just go into your kitchen and grab some metal pots, and pans, bowls, and spoons that do not have sharp edges, and you are good to go. Your kid might make a lot of weird noises with the utensils, but we are sure you will love it!
11. Feel The Nature
Being in nature can be a great exercise for developing synapses. Take your baby to a nature park or just a community garden and let him explore the place. Sit with him on a blanket, bring him some stones and rocks, pinecones, even twigs and leaves and encourage him to touch the things. He would be able to appreciate the different textures.
Let your baby touch the blades of the grass. If he is of crawling age, let him crawl on the grass with bare feet. If you are going out in the snow, let him feel and taste the snow, too. You can even go out in your balcony or yard when it is drizzling and let your baby feel the rain. These activities will enhance the baby’s sensory development and help him connect to the outside environment better.
12. Play With Sand
If you stay near a beach, take your kids to the beach sometimes. Put up a big umbrella, spread a blanket on the sand, and relax with your baby. Let your baby dig into the sand, help him build models with it. Show him how to build sandcastles, too. Bury his legs in the sand and allow him to pull himself out.
Let him feel the sand moving under his feet when waves come at the shore. After the day ends, he would want to go back to the beach soon. Just make sure you keep him supervised, and he doesn’t put strange things in his mouth.
13. Try Gardening Together
If you have a hobby of gardening, try involving your baby in it, too. Take him to the yard, let him touch the soil, and feel its texture. Or you can place him inside a playpen and let him watch you. If he isn’t apprehensive, you can even hand him small snails or some harmless worms. Gardening with your kids would also instill environmental awareness in them from the very beginning.
If your baby is big enough, let him plant the seeds himself. Allow him to water them every day and watch the plant grow. He would be overjoyed when the first leaf appears. Gardening can be a good way to engage their senses, and it will also help them develop both sensory and motor skills. However, it would be best if you kept him under your supervision at all times.
14. Pack A Picnic
Babies need to be fed multiple times a day for their proper growth and development. Then why not pack a picnic once in a while and eat your lunch under the open sky with your baby? You can take your baby’s foods in reusable food pouches. Or, if your kid is big enough, pack his favorite snacks in a bento box along with yours and head out for a picnic.
Having a picnic doesn’t mean it has to be somewhere far and fancy. A park or community garden somewhere near or even your backward works well. Spread a blanket, take some games with you and enjoy snacking in the fresh air. If you have squirrels and rabbits around, let your kid play or share the food with them. This will help them to bond with and love animals.
15. Read A Book Together
Your baby might not be able to read books himself now, but storytime is always endearing to them. If you have an off-day from work, pack a lunch, take a few storybooks and head outdoors with your kid. Choose a nice shady place, preferably under a big tree, beside a stream, spread a blanket, and sit comfortably there.
Let your baby choose the book he wants to listen to and read it to him. If the story mentions trees, flowers, or other natural elements, consider pointing out those to them. It will help him connect the outdoors with his imagination. Reading books outside can be both fun and a learning experience for the kids.
16. Take Them To A Zoo
Taking your kids to the zoo can be one of the best outdoor activities for infants. He would be overjoyed to see the different birds and animals. If the zoo allows feeding the animals, you can let him do the same, too. You can teach him to identify the animals with their sounds. Teaching him to act like the animals can also be a great way to develop motor skills.
17. Take A Nap In Open Air
You can even take your baby out during his nap time. The fresh air, the chirping of the birds, the rustling of the leaves can bring a soothing effect to your baby. Napping outdoors will enable your baby to snooze in any environment, even when it is loud and bright around. This will also help him have a sound sleep, and he will be happier and more energetic when he wakes up.
18. Get A Walker, Take Them Out
If your kid is big enough to start walking, you can take them out to practice walking. Take them to an open space, get them a walker, and let them try to walk on their own. They might get attracted to the plants, flowers, and other things they find on the way. Your child might need a bit of assistance for pulling up and balancing in the first few days. You can also let them walk on the grass bare feet. The experience would be wonderful for them.
Outdoor activities provide babies with an opportunity to learn. It allows for social interaction, as well as promoting physical health. As they run, jump, throw and kick balls, they build on their motor skills. At the same time, they develop a habit of being active.
It is crucial to ensure that you create time for outdoor activities as they affect the physical and mental health of the baby. The baby gets improved sleep and develops better cognitive, social, and emotional characteristics.