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Outdoor Play With Babies

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Outdoor Play With Babies

Right from the earliest years, outdoor experiences are an invaluable aspect of healthy human growth. Engaging with the outdoors and nature helps even babies to develop fully, realise their physical and intellectual potential as well as bond with the surrounding environment.

Here are a few more ideas to help you plan outdoor play for babies.

Being

Outdoor play provides babies with many opportunities for free movement like grasping objects, kicking legs, crawling. These along with observing others run and play help in their physical development. Spending time in the sun and fresh air gets them used to the difference between night and day, leading to healthier sleep patterns. Some ways you can help babies get the maximum developmental benefits with outdoor play are:

• Providing them things to push and pull such as balls, large hollow blocks, besides hanging things to reach, grasp or kick
• Helping them explore open-ended materials like a short ribbon or a spoon in their own way; give them objects to grasp, poke, bang, squeeze and shake
• Giving them access to sturdy items like logs, ledges that they call pull on as well as soft ground to fall back onto

Becoming

There is so much in nature and the outdoors that can help babies develop their sensory, cognitive and even emotional faculties. As babies touch sand, grass, dirt or leaves, they are exposed to a wide sensory diet and they also build stronger immunity. You can further facilitate ‘becoming’ experiences by giving babies

• different surfaces to crawl on, such as grass, wood, pavers, rubber, straw matting
• natural objects, such as leaves, feathers, flowers, herbs, grass, smooth river stones for varied sensory experiences
• opportunities for water play and sand play to help them explore different elements
• the chance to listen to and observe wind chimes and mirrors
• emotional and social interactions as you imitate sounds and describe objects from nature; then listen and respond to them as the babies repeat back and express themselves

Belonging

Playing in the outdoors further helps babies to develop a sense of belonging to their surrounding environment. It not only fosters wonder at so many stimuli and curiosity to know more about them but over time, as they begin to recognize objects and people, it also builds the foundation for lasting love and respect for the natural environment.

Safety concerns

Babies should play in the outdoors always under adult supervision. In order to help babies make the most of outdoor play, see that they are safe and free from harm. To do this, remember to:

• remove sharp, dangerous objects as well as anything smaller than a D-size battery that can be a choking risk if put in the mouth.
• dress them in protective clothing like broad brim hats, loose-fitting, lightweight long sleeves and pants.
• Have them play only in the shade and avoid going out in the afternoons
• see that the baby’s heads, hands and feet are covered when they are out on a cold day.

Reference:
Babies and Outdoor Play

Created On March 10, 2022 Last modified on Friday, May 13, 2022
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