5 outdoor baby-toddler activities

5 outdoor baby-toddler activities

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  • Take it outside

    Bring on the barefoot weather! Make the most of a perfect summer day with these five outdoor activities for you and your little one.

    By Heather Flett and Whitney Moss, authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and the bloggers behind Rookie Moms. Heather and Whitney also publish 510 Families, a blog for San Francisco Bay Area parents about having fun with kids. They live in Berkeley, California.

  • Water world

    Using household items as toys is a thrill for young kids — and their green-minded (or budget-conscious) parents.

    Fill a large plastic pool, bucket, or storage bin with water, measuring cups, plastic bowls and cups, and spoons. Show your little explorer how to scoop up water and pour it back into the pool.

    If your container is large enough, your child can sit inside it. Just be sure to supervise your baby or toddler at all times around water—because even an inch is a drowning hazard.

    Tip: Store your water play supplies near the back door during warm weather months so you can pull them out easily.

  • Stroller exercise class

    Several franchises across the country offer stroller exercise classes for new moms. You'll get a workout — and even make some new friends—while your child enjoys the ride.

    Babies kick back and relax while you jog, with frequent breaks to watch Mommy do strength training. You'll enjoy the company of other postpartum women — who will understand if you need to catch up in a few minutes or meet them at the end of the course.

    Tip: Babies younger than 6 months old need to ride in an infant car seat secured to your jogging stroller with a special attachment. (This keeps their head supported over bumpy terrain.) When your baby's older and has better head control, you can ditch the car seat and attachment.

  • Backyard obstacle course

    If your child is crawling or walking, this is a treat.

    Set up a series of objects for him to interact with, like boxes, hoops, tunnels, balls, and stuffed animals. Challenge older toddlers to follow two or three directions, such as "Crawl through the tunnel and bring Teddy to Mommy." Younger kids will enjoy getting over and through anything you can come up with.

    Want to get fancy? Buy a set of orange cones intended for soccer drills at a sporting goods store and incorporate them into your course.

    Tip: Any cardboard box that arrives at your house can refresh your obstacle course. For a silly game of peekaboo, put the box on top of your head.

  • Sand exploration

    Like water, sand offers a tactile experience that helps young children learn about the world around them. Pouring and scooping show cause and effect, while burying an object and then revealing it again (and again!) teaches object permanence.

    Head to a beach or a playground with a sand area and bring toys like shovels, pails, plastic animals, and construction vehicles. Or make your own sand area at home – you can buy a box and sand cheaply at many home-improvement stores.

    Tip: To avoid losing sand toys at the playground or beach, write your child's name on them with permanent marker.

  • Swing time

    Many towns are packed with parks and playgrounds, but it's not until you have a baby that you begin to notice them. Take advantage of these free destinations by inviting a friend to meet at a park — you bring the snacks.

    Toddlers and babies with head control can go in the bucket swings. Push them gently to introduce the idea of swinging, and watch them laugh.

    Tip: Two same-size babies can ride back-to-back in the baby swings — a great photo opp!

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