Warm weather and sunshine means lots of fun firsts for your little one. Your child might not be ready for jungle gyms and Wiffle ball just yet, but there are plenty of great outdoor activities for babies to choose from. Here are a few simple ways to make the most of a summery day.
1. Play with Bubbles
Not only is it fun to watch the soapy spheres floating on the breeze, but this activity is great for baby’s sensory development. Bubbles popping on skin is a new sensation that can help your little one get used to various textures. If baby is big enough, make a game of popping bubbles using different parts of the body (poking with fingers, stomping with feet, etc.)—this fun bonding activity exercises gross motor skills. “Bubbles” is a pretty easy word for early talkers to say, so don’t be surprised if your kiddo starts calling for bubbles on the regular.
2. Take a Nature Walk
Wear baby in a sling or carrier and go for a walk in the woods, local park or wherever you can interact with nature. Point out all the different sights (colorful flowers, fuzzy moss on the trees) and sounds (birds chirping, brook babbling) as you talk to baby about what you're seeing and hearing. Let baby reach out and touch safe items like leaves, petals and blades of grass. Simply being outside is a wonderful way to engage baby’s senses without overstimulating them.
3. Roll a Ball Around
If baby is sitting up, they’ll love rolling a ball back and forth with you on the grass. Bring a bunch of balls in different colors and sizes and get ready for some giggles. Make it a real afternoon outing and pack a picnic!
4. Find the Music
Go ahead and put “Baby Shark” on pause, and head outside to find some local music festivals and outdoor concerts instead. Lay out a blanket, dance with baby in the grass and relax to your favorite grooves. To protect baby’s ears, pick a spot on the lawn that’s far away from the speakers and consider using a pair of baby headphones. Nothing going on near you? Grab a blanket, sun umbrella and your portable speakers and head to a local park or your backyard to enjoy your own private music festival.
5. Splash in Water
Most little kids get a huge kick out of splashing around in water, so as long as you’re closely supervising, water play can be one of the best outdoor activities for babies. Head to the beach or community pool, find a local playground with sprinklers or even step out into your backyard with a sensory water bin—simply fill a plastic tray with a couple inches of water and add a few plastic toys, and let baby splash and play to their heart’s content.
6. Fly a Kite
Okay, so maybe baby’s about a tenth of the size of the thing—but still, flying a kite can be a fun family activity. Pack a picnic, spread out a blanket, plop baby down (don’t forget the sunscreen) and let that kite take to the skies. Baby will love watching the colorful fabric dancing in the air as you and your partner help maneuver it together.
7. Pick Some Berries
Many local farms will let you come in and pick your own fruits and veggies (strawberries and blueberries are perfect summer treats) and usually at market price. This is a great way to show baby where our food comes from, and they’ll love eating their own pickings.
8. Soar on the Swings
No list of outdoor activities for babies would be complete without a mention of the playground swings! Once your little one can sit up and has good head and neck control, scope out a playground with baby swings, plop them in one and start pushing! The swinging sensation is sure to bring on big smiles.
9. Have a Jam Session
Grab a few toy instruments and duck outside for a fun music-making activity. Maracas, tambourines, pianos and drums all make for excellent baby-friendly instruments, but you don’t need special tools to jam out—pots, pans, metal bowls and wooden spoons are also baby-safe and make plenty of entertaining noise.
10. Check Out the Zoo
Checking out your local zoo is a perfect outdoor activity for babies, even for the young ones. Watching the animals can be mesmerizing; it’s also a great opportunity to start teaching baby animal names and sounds while they can see the real thing in front of them.
11. Do Storytime Outside
Spread out a blanket under a shady tree and crack open a few of baby’s favorite books. There’s nothing like reading a story outside with the breeze in your hair. Try looking for books that take place in nature, so you can point out the trees and grass in the story as well as around you.
12. Get a Latte
Getting outdoors doesn't have to entail complicated plans. Why not just take a stroll to an outdoor cafe and order something to sip or nibble al fresco while baby enjoys the fresh air? Invite a friend and her baby to meet up with you to double the fun.
Updated June 2019