Let’s Take it Outside!

Welcome to the June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their stories and tips for playing outside with kids. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I’m an indoor kind of girl.

I can go days without going outdoors. It’s not that I hate being outdoors. It’s more like I don’t have a persistent need to be outdoors. I don’t get depressed by bad weather because I don’t usually get that “cooped up” feeling. Therefore it is not a surprise that Baby E and I don’t play outside very often. In fact, as a child I would pass up the chance to play outside in favor of laying on the couch to read a good book.

Baby E is too young to complain about not playing outdoors more often. In fact, he might prefer being indoors because that’s where he’s allowed the most freedom to explore. When we’re outdoors he’s usually confined to our arms or a baby carrier since he’s not walking unassisted yet. I know this will not last long. He will become more mobile and possibly bored with indoor play.

So, I’ve thought of some preliminary ideas for how to get us playing outside more often this summer.

  1. Take a walk around our neighborhood and point out new objects
  2. Go to the park and let Baby E crawl on the grass
  3. Get Baby E a toy with wheels and let him roll it around outside
  4. Play with a ball
  5. Get a bowl of water and splash around on the back patio

What else do you think we can do?

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Posted on June 8, 2010, in Blog Carnival, Natural parenting. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. I’m trying to think about what Kieran and I did outside before he walked. A lot of times I’d just bring out a blanket, some books, bubbles, and a camera. He could scoot around to his heart’s content on or off the blanket and I relaxed. I liked to show him things – trees, flowers, bugs. We also did a lot of outdoor concerts last summer. He loves music and there were always people to watch. Have fun!!

  2. we’re pre-walking over here too so i’m interested to see what tips you get. we’ve done the blanket in the park thing and we go for lots of walks with him in the sling. i’ve also busted out the kiddie pool and with close supervision it was pretty fun, jude liked splashing around to his heart’s content in the water. he goes outside pretty much every day and just chills out on a blanket while the little girls blow bubbles.

    it seems like activities will get a little easier (but more complicated) once they can walk, this scooting/standing stage is hard to plan for.

  3. I like to joke that I like the outdoors, from the porch of a cabin with a drink. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when my husband told me the one thing he wishes I did more with the girls was take them outside. It just seemed like such a pain at the baby stage.

    What I did was make a deal with myself to keep it simple but get outside each day. Sometimes it was just having storytime outside on a quilt. Sometimes it was sitting on the deck and eating lunch instead of doing it at the table.

  4. Maman A Droit

    My whole post was about this! One idea I just thought of that I didn’t include in my post is that my son totally loves walking around in the baby carrier places where there are lots of people to look at and wave at like a farmer’s market.

  5. Another non-mobile/almost crawling kiddo over here too! Ella likes bubbles, and we also go for a lot of walks, but nearly every day (weather permitting) we go to the park and hang out on a blanket – Ella can practice her moves and I can lounge. We usually bring some toys too to cut down on the grass eating!!

  6. Balloons which haven’t been blown up all the way are fun too. You can also hang a few in a tree or from an awning and watch them blow in the wind.

  7. I love to take my crawlers/sitters to the park or yard, or any grassy place… I let them explore the grass, chew on sticks, watch fluttering butterflies and follow marching ants. Its a blast- and makes lovely photographs too!

  8. When Mikko was pre-walking, carrying him around on my back seemed to amuse him pretty well, as long as we kept moving. We took him on boat rides, hiking in the mountains, downtown to sightsee – wherever we were going anyway.

    Going to the pool has always been a big favorite. If it’s hot, you could find an outdoor regular or wading pool. If not, indoor ones are still fun.

    Baby swings are a hit. Some babies will swing for hours! Sandboxes are good for littler ones as well, if you don’t mind the inevitable sand tasting.

    Can you get a membership at a zoo or aquarium or similar? If it’s really expensive, you could hold off till your baby would be more interested in the animals, but at this point it might give you something to look at while you walk!

    Maybe you could organize an outdoor playdate or picnic with some other parents. Then you could enjoy some conversation while the kids amuse each other.

    We found that as Mikko entered toddlerhood, he demanded to go outdoors more. He just was much happier if given time outside to stretch his legs, breathe fresh air, and let loose some energy. Sam and I are pretty much the indoorsiest people we know, so it has surprised us that we get outside pretty much every day now. Before having a baby, we could go weeks without seeing the sun, due to a combination of our bizarre sleep schedules, the Seattle winters, and our lack of interest in fresh air. But now — we just have to get out there every day, or Mikko pays for it. So we do, and it’s good. You find things to do as they get older that they like.

  9. Here are some comments & suggestions I got when I posted your link on my FB page. I thought they were really good ones!

    Michael Dawn Thies: To be honest, we haven’t spent much time outside. I tried taking her for a walk a couple of weeks ago and she was screaming bloody murder before we’d gone two blocks! She didn’t calm down till we were back in the air conditioning– at 8:30 in the morning!! (My baby is 10 months)

    Roxanne DeBord: We go to the park since we have a 3 year old, too. My 9 mo old loves to look around and watch the other kids playing while my 3 year old runs off some steam. I either carry him in a wrap or he rides in his stroller. :)

    Susan Betke: With all of my little ones we have to be outside as much as possible. With water play we get paint brushes and “paint” with water on walls, sidewalks, just about everything. Nothing to clean up afterwards!

    Sara Hughes: We go for walks around the neighborhood with her in the Maya or Mei Tai. Or we checkout my neighbor’s garden and pick strawberries, talk about what plants are what, etc. She planted some hostas with me (on my back with a big ‘ole hat to protect her pale skin). Last weekend we went to a local petting zoo and this weekend we’re going to a friend’s house to play in the pool. Next Saturday I hope to bring her to the beach to sit in the sand and have the waves come up under her so she can feel the sand and water. Oh! And we’re going to be having a multi-family rummage sale at my friend’s farm this weekend so we’re going to go visit all the farm animals :) I hope to find a nice botanical garden to visit shortly, also. I love showing her the natural beauty of the outdoors whenever I can :)

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