It's finally summer! The days of warm weather, vacations, swimming, and grilling are finally here!
For some parts of the country, the summer is when you hibernate (looking at you Florida and Arizona), but for the majority of us summer is when we try to maximize our time outside to prepare for colder temps in just a few short months! For parents, especially new parents, summer activities look a bit different than they did in the past.
Below are some ideas for those of you having to rethink your outdoor fun this summer. There are a TON of ways to enjoy the outdoors, but for sleep-deprived parents who want to spend more time outdoors this summer without having to think about it, this list is a good place to start!
Once you're ready to get out of the house, bringing your baby outside can be a fun way to ease into activity for yourself, get out of the house, and introduce baby to new things.
- Walks outdoors with baby in the stroller. Your neighborhood, local park, farmer's market, or local shopping areas can be fun for baby to experience!
- Set up a picnic blanket in the shade and enjoy sitting outside
- Infants that can sit up on their own may enjoy baby friendly swings at the playground!
- Outdoor sporting events.
This year is a fun one for discovering the outdoors. They are exploring the world at this age and can be amazed by the things we take for granted every day.
- Walks! You can use a stroller or a wagon, or you could let your toddler walk on their own. At this age the walk is the fun part, so walks around the block can be just as fun as walks to really cool destinations.
- Playgrounds and splash pads! Many playgrounds and pools have toddler areas designed for the littlest ones.
- Check out your local community garden, garden center, or greenhouse! Some toddlers love pointing out the colors on the flowers and picking out flowers to grow at home.
- Sidewalk chalk. Be ready to give them a bath afterward; they will likely draw all over themselves and perhaps their parents too!
At this age they're starting to enjoy some of the same things you do outside! You can modify most of the things you do outside to be toddler friendly.
- At home: Throwing a ball, playing with friends, picking up sticks in the yard, gardening, riding a tricycle/bicycle, running through the sprinkler.
- Nearby: Splash pad, pool, playground, short hikes if available.
- Other: If it's a really warm day, check out your local library or community center for indoor toddler-focused summer activities.
- Ensure your activity is appropriate for the temperatures.
- Speak with your pediatrician about appropriate temps and activities. I also like this MD's recommendations for keeping baby safe during the summer as a starting point.
- Dress your little one appropriately for warm weather in a natural fabric (lightweight cotton or linen, for example). For babies they should be in a single layer that is tight enough for safe sleep. Older toddlers may appreciate loose-fitting clothes that allow air to flow.
- Avoid the heat of the day. Sunrise may be your best option to get outdoors in many parts of the U.S.!
- Consider a stroller fan. You can even keep one in your diaper bag all summer for quick cool downs on the hottest of days.
- Whether in a backyard or near a body of water, it's important to have water safety in mind.
- Don't forget sunscreen!