Going for a walk is easy, but what else can you do to help your baby safely explore the outdoors, even amidst COVID-19 restrictions? Take a look at these seven ideas.
Observe the natural world.
Wherever you happen to be — your yard, a park, or another outdoor location — you’re sure to be surrounded by many different plants, animals, insects, and more. As you walk around (or sit and observe), hold your baby or place him or her in a carrier in a way that makes it easy to look around. Go out in different types of weather, too (dressed appropriately, of course). This will help your baby experience changes in the environment — sometimes it’s sunny and warm, other times it’s cloudy and cool.
Talk about what you see.
Point out everything you see, and call things by name. When you see a flower, point to it and say, “flower!” Your baby probably isn’t old enough to say the words you’re saying, but he or she will begin to associate objects with their names.
Explore different textures.
When you’re outside, there are so many different things to touch, from smooth rocks and flower petals to coarse gravel and rough sand. Help your baby (safely) explore these textures to get a feel for the properties of different objects.
Change the scenery on your walk.
If you go on a daily — or weekly — walk, consider stepping out of your comfort zone. If you normally walk around your own neighborhood, branch out to a local park, garden, or zoo. Your baby will have a whole new set of things to look at — a variety of plants, interesting animals, and more. Just make sure to bring your own mask along, and maintain a safe distance from other people at all times.
Discover your own backyard.
Take a blanket outside and lie in the grass with your baby, or set your baby up to watch you plant a garden. If you already have a garden, walk around with your baby, smell the flowers, look at the different plants, and observe the insects that might be around them (take care, though, to stay away from bees, wasps, and the like).
Have an outdoor picnic.
You can do this in your own backyard, too, or you can venture out to a park, the beach, or anywhere else you can comfortably lay a blanket down outside while also keeping your distance from other people. Sit together and look around at everything around you as you eat.
Set up water play.
Messier activities, like water play, can be fun to take outside. Grab some plastic cups, balls, utensils, sponges, and other fun, waterproof objects — making sure, of course, that nothing is a choking hazard. Fill a bowl, bin, pail, or kiddie pool with water, and help your baby play with the different objects…fill them up and empty them, see what floats and what sinks, and more. And be sure to supervise your little one at all times.
Whether you head to a local park or go out in your own backyard, it’s important to get outside with your baby. And the activities you do together can be simple!