Top Outdoor Activities for Babies
The great outdoors is a good source of activities for your baby, and it gives parents a nice break from work too.
It’s important that you gradually increase exposure and let them enjoy the beauty of nature. If you don’t remember the last time you appreciated the trees, flowers and greenery then it’s a welcome break for you as well.
Even a few minutes spent outdoors does good things for the body, mind and soul. However, you could be wondering, what are the top outdoor activities for babies? We’ve outlined some general recommendations for outdoor play and include safe outdoor games you and your baby can try.
Start in the Backyard
Most childhood memories are formed from backyard play. Days spent sitting on the grass, biking on the sidewalk or playing in a sandbox are fondly remembered by parents. It makes sense that you’ll want to let your child experience it too.
No matter the size of the yard there are always activities you can plan. Some examples include having your baby touch and feel (or even taste) nature-made items for a sensory experience, e.g., flowers, water, sand, leaves, rocks, etc.
You can try reading a book to your baby outside and under the shade of a tree or canopy. It adds a natural depth, and the gentle breeze can soothe your baby and make him or her relax better.
Have an Outdoor Picnic
Go ahead and take a small adventure by eating outdoors. A baby eats several times a day, and you can get some fresh air with this idea.
Consider a change of scenery once you get the hang of taking care of your newborn. If you’re comfortable sitting on a picnic blanket or a wooden table with your young one, then go for it. You can set them in a high chair or a stroller and ready your solid foods or purees.
One advantage of eating outside is that you don’t have to clean up as much, and your walls and floor remain clean!
Play in Water
Babies will take to water like ants to sugar. Watch them enjoy and cool off with a well-timed water play during the summer and hot afternoons.
A water table for babies under 6 months is a great idea for an outdoor activity. As they get older you’ll want to invest in a shallow and wide pool or something that can hold water sufficiently.
You can introduce different water elements, such as a hose or combine it with soapy bubbles. Your baby will be so engrossed in play that an hour or two will easily pass by in a flash.
Visit a Baby-Friendly Park
You may need to do a bit of research when exploring which local parks around you are baby-friendly, but once you do you should gear up for an adventure.
The things in a park are something your baby won’t see anywhere else. Slides, merry-go-rounds, monkey bars and novelty items abound. It’s definitely a treat for your little one, so try to make it a whole day activity if possible.
A baby-friendly park is a place that’s kept clean and managed in a way that babies can do most, if not all the attractions offered there. It should have a changing station and a place where parents can sit down, relax and still see their babies and come to their aid when needed.
We recommend it as one of the regular outdoor activities for babies because it costs next to nothing and yet can be a fun way to get kids acquainted outside.
Look Around a Garden Center
Finding a garden center around your area shouldn’t be too difficult. It may not sound like a good idea at first, but a garden center offers a hands-on experience which is a treat for those who love exploring with their hands.
The main attraction in a garden center are the bright, colorful and beautiful flowers that will be on full display. The splash of colors and greens will stimulate their eyes and give them something to direct their attention to.
As a side note, you’ll want to be well-versed on which flowers or plants are okay to touch and eat, and which ones aren’t. In the spirit of fun you can let your baby touch or even nibble at it but you must take precaution all throughout.
Aside from the flowers, gardens are also full of herbs and vegetables. An alternative is a farm where vegetables and fruits are grown- you can tour around and take a hike, then take home a few samples of veggies or fruits in season.
Get Moving in a Playground
Same as with a local park you can check for nearby playgrounds you and your baby can visit.
There’s nothing quite like the exhilaration of a swing or a slide, which your baby will absolutely love. It’s never a boring moment when you’re on a playground!
Adult supervision will be required at all times, so make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothes. Don’t bring a lot- just a change of clothes and the necessary baby items, e.g., diapers and food and leave the rest at home or in the car.
Don’t forget to bring extra towels and maybe a jug of water for you and your baby. Hydrating is important and essential if you want to make the most of your visit to the playground.
Relax at the Lakefront or Beach
The beach is one of the best outdoor activities for kids, and babies will love the sand and the surf. There are many ways to enjoy it, from playing in the sand or taking a quick dip to watching the sun go down the horizon.
Going to the beach may require a bit more planning compared to a playground or park. The sounds your baby will experience, such as the crashing waves, the bird sounds and others will more than make up for the effort, though.
Summer is the best time to go ahead and visit the nearest beach. Don’t go overboard and keep the things you bring to a minimum. You’ll need food, water and a few toys, as well as essentials and adult items, such as your smartphone, a beach umbrella or a good book, for example.
Also, a quick dip in the water is a must-try for you and your little one. The bond you’ll gain will be invaluable and create memories that last forever.
Explore a Walking Trail or Bike Path
If you have the energy and are looking to get fit, why not try a walking trail or a bike path?
Babies will need a stroller or carriage, and parents will need to be physically fit to a degree to make this happen. There are short paths and trails for beginners, which is a good idea if it’s been a while since you’ve exercised.
Basically, a walking trail is usually paved so you won’t need any special equipment. Keep an eye out for bikers and wear something colorful and something that stands out so they’ll see you and your baby. Along the way, you can collect sticks and search for interesting things you can introduce to your little one.
Go to an Aquarium, Zoo or Museum
After spending a few weeks with your baby you’ll probably have a good idea of what he or she is interested in. There could be signs that he or she is musically inclined, or delight at colors and paint.
It’s a good time to explore different elements to see what your baby is attracted to the most. If possible, visit museums, zoos and aquariums and see what tickles their fancy the most. Looking at nature is good for the soul, and moving animals and interesting objects are always good for your baby’s senses.
It’s good to check out the place’s rules and guidelines beforehand so you can prepare in advance. Don’t forget to bring the baby necessities, such as a stroller, blanket, toys, formula, etc.
When Can Your Baby Start Playing Outside?
Your baby is such a tiny human being that your instinct is to protect it at all costs. Time can go on, and you’ll start wondering, ‘when can babies start playing outside?’
The general rule to follow is this- your baby can go outside even before 6 months as long as they stay out of direct sunlight. After 6 months or so, it’s okay to let them have some sunlight and extended playtime as long as they’re sufficiently protected.
Sunscreen is not recommended for babies under 6 months. However, there are many ways you can achieve this kind of protection through clothing. A hat, pair of pants and long-sleeved shirts or onesies can shield your baby’s sensitive skin from the elements. Also, you can set up a shade using a canopy or an outdoor umbrella in their most-used outdoor area.
Your baby will definitely benefit from the fresh air and sunlight, but common sense should take over in some instances. Avoid crowds and public places such as restaurants as much as possible because it’s where viruses and bacteria are in higher concentrations.
For days that are too hot or too cold, you’ll want to stay home and relax. You can still set up a play area near the patio doors so your baby can get light, but keep it to a minimum.
Remember, don’t bring your baby outside when the temperature is minus 15 degrees or lower. Caution is important especially if your baby is still at a young age. Make sure to layer them properly with thick
and comfortable clothes, and pack a blanket or two as well.
The best time to bring a baby outside is during the fall or spring season, where the weather is mild and there’s lots of color. Summer days can be spent at the beach or park but only in the morning or late afternoon.
How Do You Spend Time Outside With a Baby?
Any activity is a good time to bond with your baby. While there are times that parents get a bit of downtime, you’ll want to be as hands-on as possible.
For crawling babies, make sure to check the area for dangers before setting them down to play. They won’t be able to stand, so playgrounds and spending time in walkers are the recommended options.
Pay attention whenever you can to what your baby is doing. Refrain from checking your smartphone or speaking on the phone for long periods of time. If you need to take an important call or prepare food, secure your baby in a walker or stroller.
There’s also the matter of allergic reactions to leaves, pollen or flowers and insects that can bite or sting. Aside from being vigilant, you can pack in repellents that are natural and safe to use for babies.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Lindsay Hudson
Lindsay is a freelance writer who is mom to a lovely daughter. She loves dressing in matching outfits with her daughter and bringing their 2 dogs out for their daily walk.