Making the time to take your child outside is essential for development- no matter what age.
Fresh air and sunny rays. Gentle breezes and morning drizzles. Cool mornings and early winter afternoons. Whatever the weather may be, making sure that your child gets outside benefits your child on so many levels. There is so much to teach our children, through sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound. Their capacity for learning is endless when discovering, learning and pushing their own boundaries outdoors. Exciting and adventurous for both you and your child, planning a successful outdoor playtime takes some essential preparation, a little creativity and an introduction to their new best friend. Mother nature.
Exercise, beauty and bonding
Active outdoor playtime is essential for the development of your child. Not only does active outdoor time provide a natural playground, it helps your child to develop physical fitness skills, large muscle development and overall physical development. Additionally, outdoor playtime teaches your child independence and how to care for the environment and nature while strengthening the bond between you and your child. A change of scenery and environment is also helpful to you, as a parent. Inspiring you to put down your phone and step away from work does wonders for you, too. These special playdates with your child can be achieved with some creative ideas that do not cost you anything except your time. And for your child, there is always more than enough.
When you are enjoying outdoor time with your child, be sure to prepare ahead of time so that your time can be spent together, not stressing about the things that you forgot to bring along. As parents know, organization is key when children are involved. Take a little bit of time and get your tote bag together. Oh, and also be prepared to have fun!
Proper sun protection
Whatever the season, and even if the sun is not bright and shining, your child should always have on sunscreen. Proper sunscreen protects your child’s delicate skin from damage and burns. There are many sunscreens available that are hypoallergenic and earth-friendly, designed for a variety of ages.
Healthy snacks and drinks
On any adventure with your child, healthy snacks and drinks are essential. Yogurts, fruits, finger foods and drinks should be packed appropriately for the weather and the length of your outdoor adventure. Kids need to keep hydrated and well fed.
Wipes for little hands and faces
Teach your child the importance of cleaning their hands before eating and wiping their faces after they eat. This helps to instill good hygiene and manners from an early age. Like sunscreen, there are many options for face and hand wipes for the delicate skin of little ones.
Fun ideas for outdoor play
Doing things outside with your little one can include anything from going for a walk around the neighborhood to hiking a short distance. Whether at a park or on the sidewalk, you can make walks interesting for your child. If your child is learning to walk, take along a favorite stand-up push toy or a play baby stroller. Let your child bring along a stuffed animal or doll and take it for a walk. Your child will be working on their balance and walking skills while feeling independent. If your child is not at walking age, grab the stroller and clock in some steps of your own.
Want to stay in your own backyard? The sky’s the limit outside, even at home. Get your kid-game on and think of some creative outdoor play. Collect leaves, grass or small flowers from around your lawn and make mini-bouquets tied with pieces of ribbon from around the house. Blow bubbles together or blow them for your little one and watch them squeal with delight when they see them pop. Pretend you are scientists and find some ants to study, then have them draw pictures of what they see. Your child does not have to be Picasso to provide some wonderful fridge art. Let your child come up with some ideas and play along. Let them play in the sand, grass and dirt and experience nature one-on-one. Don’t worry about if they get dirty or need yet another bath. It is all part of the fun of playing with their new best friend.
Outdoor playtime is crucial for your child to develop on many levels and if you make the time, you will get to see them learning right in front of your eyes. Encourage their creative minds and love of nature together. Through this bonding, you and your child (along with Mother Nature), will make special memories that you will always have.