Let’s face it: the early days of parenthood are scary. Taking a baby outside might make you a little nervous, but it’s beneficial for both parents and babies to get some fresh air. Most doctors agree that requiring newborns to stay inside for the first few months is a myth, provided that you follow the right safety precautions, which we’ll go over a bit below.
Knowing what you can do once you get outside should make you more comfortable though. Here are 6 outdoor activities for your baby that will give them healthy stimuli while they get their first breath of fresh air.
Have a picnic
A picnic is a great outdoor family activity for your baby. It will save you a bit of a headache too since you don’t have to clean up floors, walls, chairs, and tables after messy eaters!
Use good practices for sanitary feeding while you’re outside: make sure people who touch the baby’s food have washed their hands. In general, though, the food and the outdoors are nice new experiences for them (and for you).
Just make sure you protect their immune systems with good hand-washing practices and that all their vaccines are up to date before you go on a picnic. Use the advice from KidsHealth to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
Plus, if you get a great baby swing like one of these recommended by Netparents, you can enjoy a picnic with your baby and even let them get some nap time while you’re at it.
Different squishy balls that bounce and roll are ideal toys to use as outdoor activities for babies. Not only are they enticing and colorful and super safe, but they also have health benefits too. Bet you never thought of that!
The truth is that outdoor activities for a 9-month-old baby can’t be too strenuous or complicated, but there are still developmental factors to consider. When you take them outside, you might as well be thinking about their fine and gross motor skills. What does that mean?
Fine motor skills are the delicate movements like holding a fork or picking up a ball, while gross motor skills are broader movements like sitting and walking and rolling around. Both of these skills can be put to the test with little games involving squishy balls that your baby will want to pick up and roll around.
Down and dirty
You’re probably worried about germs and infections when you take your baby outside. However, so long as they’re not newborn and their vaccines are all up to date, a little dirt can actually be a big help for a budding immune system!
Did you know that autoimmune disorders are far more prevalent in developed Western countries than any others in the world? Many research organizations like the U.S. National Library of Medicine now theorize that the reason is hygiene itself. This so-called “hygiene hypothesis” basically says that keeping people, even kids, too clean with sanitizers and a lack of outdoor activity weakens their immune system and preps them for dysfunction.
This is why, with the right amount of caution, playing in the dirt and grass is a pretty good thing for a baby. Their little immune systems need the help to develop resistance to the world’s germs and a little bit of grass and dirt now and then may not only be harmless: it may actually be a ticket to good health!
Walking with baby
If you’re looking for activities for a 9-month-old and up, then they may already be taking their first steps. The outdoors is a great place to stretch their legs because unlike the safe, smooth, flat environment in your house, the ground is more uneven. It provides just a little bit more of a test for the baby’s new motor skills.
It’s also a great bonding activity that helps you both get some much-needed fresh air. Stronger legs for the baby is just a bonus.
You can always take your baby to a pool as a great outdoor activity for a little sun and fun in the water. However, water itself, even without a pool, can still provide outdoor activities for your baby that you may not have considered.
Just a little bowl of water to splash their fingers in can be fun for them. Let’s face it – they’re not as complicated as you are!
You also have a secret weapon when it comes to outdoor activities for babies: bubbles. Babies love bubbles. For you, bubbles represent clean, cheap, easy, and endless fun.
Playgrounds may seem pretty scary to a new parent and rightfully so, especially if you’re trying to think of outdoor activities for 9-month-olds. However, if you wait for the bigger kids to get off, and walk with your baby, playgrounds can be fantastic learning opportunities.
They may not seem like it at first! Remember what we talked about with motor skills, though. Little steps and swings and slides can get their brains firing, their little legs moving, and it can be fun for both of you if you use the right safety precautions.
If you’re looking for outdoor activities for your baby, you want to find something safe for them and also as enriching as possible. Remember though that for a baby, enriching experiences can be simple and readily available.
These could include walking and playing with balls, which give you ways to build your baby’s motor skills, which are important at this level. You also have their immune systems to worry about, so make sure they have all their shots. However, a little dirt can be a big help getting a baby’s immune system ready to face the germs of the world.
Regardless of which activities you choose, just make sure you choose some. You may not think that there are any outdoor activities for 7-month-olds, but they can be both enriching and fun, not to mention cute. When in doubt: just get some bubbles.