Babies have a lot of energy in their tiny bodies and need to spend it soon before they become cranky and irritable. You can take your little ones outside to spend some time in the natural surroundings where they can be exposed to flora and fauna.
When the weather is pleasant, you can step out with your baby and include a few simple activities in your schedule. If you cannot venture out far, take them to your lawn or grass-covered section of your backyard, where they can get fresh air.
Keep reading the post for some outdoor activities and ideas for babies. Adding them to the daily routine can be a great way to increase their exposure to nature and educate them about the importance of environmental conservation.
20 Baby Outdoor Play Activities
1. Take a walk
Buckle up your baby in their pram and walk around your block. The simple activity is stimulating for the parent and the baby. You can walk for 30 to 40 minutes or according to your stamina. The fresh air can be energizing, and your baby can explore the surroundings with trees, birds, vehicles, and people. A great way to make this walk educational is to talk to your baby and tell them what they see as you walk.
2. Eat outside
Plan a picnic and carry food in your basket to eat outside. It can be something new for your little ones. As you unpack the basket and lay various food items, let them play in the open and then devour the tasty food.
3. Give tummy time
Tummy time for babies helps in digestion and encourages them to roll over and move their hands and legs. Turn your baby over and on to their tummy for 10 to 20 minutes each day with five-minute intervals. Leave bright colored toys nearby so that they can play with them and be entertained. You could lie down beside your baby to give them company and make their tummy time more fun.
4. Give them a nap time
Babies are notorious. They play all day, get tired, and like to nap. An infant can sleep up to 14 to 16 hours a day. Take them outside when it is their nap time and let them sleep in the outdoors, breathing in the fresh air. Do not take them to busy areas as they could get stimulated and skip their nap. A stroll in the park can be a good idea as it can make your baby get accustomed to the natural sounds of the wind, birds, or water while they sleep.
5. Let them engage in water play
If your child loves water, you can include some outdoor water play activities in their schedule. Get a plastic bathtub or an inflatable one, fill it with water enough for your child’s feet to be submerged. Throw in a couple of rubber duckies in it. You can do this activity only after your child can sit up by themselves. Keep an eye on them at all times and never leave them alone while they are in the water.
6. Visit a playground
Your infant might be too young to play at the playground, but they can certainly enjoy watching others running around and playing. They might enjoy watching the sights and listening to different sounds. Do not forget that they are always learning. Even as they watch, they are learning different nuances of games and developing their vocabulary.
7. Take a nature hike
A child can have no better teacher than nature. Plan a nature hike with your baby and if they can walk, let them pick up dried leaves, crunch them, or explore the texture of mud and grass. It gives your baby the chance to feel different textures and smells while enjoying the natural sights around them.
8. Go to a busy place
Take your little one to a busy place. A bus station, a post office, or a railway station can be good choices. Your baby can watch the people come and catch the vibe.
9. Play with a ball
If your baby has started sitting up, they would love rolling balls around. Take some balls with you to your backyard or a nearby park. Roll the ball back and forth with your baby. Watch them laugh and enjoy themselves. You can also pack a picnic basket and take an afternoon off.
10. Feel the grass
Introducing your baby to the grass can be a fun activity. Some babies like the feel of grass, while others might not. Let your baby feel the grass with their hands instead of their feet. Once they are comfortable, let them explore by touching, walking, and sitting on it.
11. Read a book
Babies like to hear your voice as you talk and read to them. You might be regularly reading to them at home, but when you sit under a tree and read them their favorite books, they may enjoy it even more. Reading books outdoors is a great way to help your child build associations. If there is an animal or tree in the book, you can point them out to your baby, and they would remember it.
12. Make music
When they realize they can make different noises, they will try to make funny sounds from their throats and clap their hands when they are happy. You can give them toy instruments and let them create music. If you don’t have any musical toys, hand over your pots and pans, and a spoon, and watch them bang around, making music.
13. Take a trip to the beach
The beach gives your baby a variety of sensory experiences. There are different textures to be explored and different sights to be seen. You can hold them in the water and let them explore the sand. When tired, they can sit and watch the people around them. A visit to the beach can be an entertaining activity for a baby.
14. Make bubbles
Babies love watching and playing with bubbles. Take them outdoors and make bubbles with them. Encourage your baby to pop those bubbles that float close to them. Bubbles can keep your baby entertained for a long time while they touch the bubbles and see therainbow hues.
15. Mow the lawn
If you have a lawn that needs to be mowed, let your baby help you. Strap them up in the baby carrier and carry them with you as you mow the lawn. Make sure your little one has protective eye gear to protect their eyes from flying blades of grass or dirt. When your baby starts walking, you can get them a mini-mower. The sight, sound, and smell of mowing a lawn can make a fulfilling experience for your baby.
Children are drawn to music from a young age. You can see three-month-old babies shaking their arms and legs and grooving to the music. Take your child for a walk, settle in a park or your balcony, and play the music you can dance to. Wear your child and let them bounce with you. By the end of the session, you will find your baby delighted.
When your baby can sit up and has control over the head and neck, you can explore the world a bit further. Make them sit on a playground swing. Push the swing gently and keep the chain in your hand at all times. Watch as your baby digests the new soaring sensation and begins to enjoy it with laughs and raucous screams.
18. Practice walking
If your baby is attempting to stand up, it is time for you to encourage them to take their first steps. In the first few weeks after your baby starts to walk, they will be unsure of their steps and often lose their balance. Take them outside to a grassy area to help them practice walking. Making them walk outdoors reduces the risk of sharp corners and hard surfaces, thus reducing the chances of getting hurt.
You can hold their hands in the beginning and encourage them as they try to walk. Gradually, let them practice on their own. When you are outdoors, babies might get distracted by other sights, sounds, or objects. Do not push them. Instead, let them enjoy and take their time. As they get confident on their feet, you can take them on short walks to your driveway or the sidewalk.
19. Make them look at the trees
Babies like to see colorful things. On a fine morning or afternoon, take your child for a walk to a nearby park to show them the trees there. Your baby would love to see the treetops swaying in the wind and hold the fallen leaves in their hands.
20. Fly a kite
Though your baby might not be able to fly a kite, they would love to see those colorful kites soaring in the sky. You can make this a couple or a family activity so that your child sees and learns how you interact with each other.
Benefits Of Outdoor Activities For Babies
Outdoor activities are beneficial to babies in several ways.
- They get exposed to different seasons and different natural elements, such as wind, rain, and sunlight.
- Their imagination is boosted as they make imaginary tunnels while crawling through tree trunks or a lake while splashing in the water.
- They get exposed to different sounds, sights, and smells and get accustomed to them.
- Their memory is boosted as your baby remembers the nooks and corners of a particular place and navigates there unerringly.
- When they fall and get hurt, they learn from their experiences and are careful the next time.
- The chances of children getting myopia are reduced when they spend time outdoors (1).
Tips To Take Your Baby Out Safely In Extreme Temperatures
- Plan outdoor activities before 10 am and after 4 pm. It is not advised in the afternoon due to scorching heat.
- If you need to be out during the afternoon, look for a shady place or carry an umbrella or a hat.
- If you are using a stroller, consider buying one with a canopy for sun protection.
- Avoid overdressing the baby. As a rule, babies must have only one extra layer of clothing than what you are wearing.
- Carry a light blanket to drape over the legs if the heat is too much, but use it sparingly.
- Use lightweight materials for dressing the baby. You can make them wear short-sleeved dresses if you are going to be in the shade.
- Always apply a baby sunscreen lotion with an SPF of at least 30, especially over sensitive areas like the face, arms, and legs.
- Keep checking for signs of overheating. The warning signs are feeling warm to the touch, extreme thirst, sweating, sudden fatigue, or lack of energy.
- If your child is less than six months old, carry a formula bottle or be ready to breastfeed to prevent dehydration.
- Never leave your baby in the car, even for a short trip to the grocery store.
- If the temperature is below -15 degrees F or wind chills, avoid taking the baby outside.
- Step out in the afternoons when the temperature is the highest.
- Do not spend more than 20 minutes out in the cold.
- Keep the house’s interior warm so that they can be warm as soon as they step in.
- Dress the child in layers of warm clothing. Babies should be covered with coats, hats, gloves, thick pants, boots, and mufflers.
- Use a soft, thin material for the layer closest to the child’s skin. It will help absorb sweat.
- Keep your baby dry at all times.
- The winter sun can be harsh, too. Use a canopied stroller for walks.
- Do not walk too far off from your home. You must be able to get back immediately in an emergency.
- Even in freezing temperatures, babies can overheat. Remove layers as soon as you get home.
- Remove winter coats before strapping your baby in a car seat.
Frequently Answered Questions
1. When can babies play outside?
When the weather is fine, you can take your baby out as frequently as you can. In extreme temperatures, however, choose a time when the temperature is bearable. For babies older than three months, you can take them out daily.
2. Do babies need fresh air every day?
After a walk or playing in the fresh air, babies feel refreshed and are more active. The wind and the motion can help them sleep well during the day and at night. Take your child out as much as you can.
Your baby might be little, but they grow fast. Outdoor play is beneficial for your baby’s development, and most outdoor activities for babies are designed to keep them comfortable and not tire them. Such activities are equally useful in stimulating their physical and mental growth.
Babies explore the world around them with their senses, and these activities give different sensory experiences. They can develop their vocabulary by listening to you, observe you and others, and learn social skills. By playing outdoors, they create new worlds in their imagination and develop immunity when exposed to the outdoors, which is beneficial for growing babies. Keep these tips in mind and try to spend as much time with your baby as possible in the outdoors.
2. C. McCarthy; 6 Reasons Children Need To Play Outside; Harvard Health Publishing