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Emma was born at the end of December so she hasn’t spent a whole lot of time outside in the short three and a half months she’s been alive. Now that the weather is getting nicer I’m trying to get outside with her on a daily basis. Most of the ideas I’ve found online are for older babies so I wanted to put together a list of activities that can be done with younger babies (like 3-9 months old). In honor of Earth Day today, here are ideas to get baby outside to start their love of nature early:
Bring baby toys outside- The first day we could get outside I grabbed Emma’s activity table and brought it into the backyard. I then sat with Emma on the ground, letting her put her feet in the grass and we played for about 20 minutes before she was ready to go in. Any toys baby enjoys would be perfect for outside play as long as you can easily bring them outside.
Go for a walk- Wear baby in a baby carrier or put baby in a stroller and take a walk around your neighborhood. Talk with your baby about what you see as you walk.
Practice tummy time- Emma is not a fan of tummy time so going outside into a new environment helps keep her attention and encourages her to look up for longer periods of time. (Here are ideas for outdoor tummy time including what you can talk about with baby while they are on their tummy.)
Play in a shallow container of water- Playing in water is a fun activity for all ages! Babies will love splashing their hands in a small amount of water put in a shallow container. Another alternative is putting their feet in the water instead of their hands.
Enroll in a Tinkergarten class- Tinkergarten brings families together for classes where kids learn through well-designed, outdoor play-based activities. While most of the classes are for older children, they just introduced baby classes for ages 6 months and up. Amanda, a Tinkergarten leader in Mokena, IL that I know, says “I started leading because I truly believe in outdoor child led learning. I love the babies classes because it gets families in the habit of scheduling outdoor time, babies start learning in an outdoor classroom, families gain a community of like minded friends, and babies get a rich sensory experience.” Want to try Tinkergarten with your little one? Check out the Tinkergarten website to find a class near you.
Enjoy some music- Whether you listen to music from your smartphone or go to a live music festival (standing away from the speakers), babies love music! You can dance around with them in your arms, gently swaying them back and forth, and sing quietly along with the tunes. Another fun idea would be to use some little musical instruments and make music together with baby.
Read outside- Bring a few board books outside and sit with baby on a blanket while you read books to them.
Let baby take a nap- This winter I learned that, in some places, it’s normal for babies to sleep outside even when it’s cold out. While I don’t see myself ever letting Emma nap outside when it’s snowing, I think that a nap outside on a beautiful spring day could be a great idea. Let baby nap in the shade (love this Fisher-Price On-The-Go baby dome!) while you read a book next to her and you both get to enjoy the benefits of the fresh air!
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