Can babies play outside? Many people feel babies are too young to play outdoors. Caregivers tend to keep infants and toddlers indoors; worried that weather isn’t quite right for them. The journey of exploring nature starts at birth. Helping babies explore nature helps to develop their sensory skills. The joy of learning using nature can be a great experience for infants and toddlers. Infants and toddlers are natural investigators that are curious about everything nature has to offer. When exploring nature, infants use their five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. When working with infants, you should take them outside. Use the fresh air and relaxing sounds of nature to help calm down and relax young children. Allow babies to explore outside as much as possible, observe how babies relax and naturally explore. Here are a few simple tricks and activities to keep exploring and learning with nature:
1. Take Sensory Walk
Take 15 minutes or so to walk around with babies and allow them to explore. Notice how babies use their sense of sight to look at the different elements around them. Stop at a tree or bush and allow a baby to explore it by looking, touching, and smelling. Communicate with the baby about different sounds and who or what are making those sounds.
2. Feel the Wind
Take a short walk or lie on a blanket under a tree. Allow the baby to feel wind on their face, watch the leaves blow across the ground or fall from the sky.
3. Experience Rain
During a warm light rain or mist, take five minutes to explore with babies outdoors. Leave the baby’s head and hands free to allow rain to fall and gently touch them. If you really want to explore, allow babies to experience a small puddle. (Create a puddle on a cleanup mat or in a small sensory bucket, so there is no exposure to toxins like example oil leaks from a car)
4. Have a Picnic
Picnics can be done in the yard, at a nearby park, or in a beautiful nearby nature spot. Take time to sit on a blanket and experience the surroundings. Feel the sun and wind, touch the grass, watch the different animals, and look at clouds in the sky. Bring food that has a strong scent and allow babies to smell.
Keep in mind, babies might be little, but they start using their senses to explore at birth. Therefore, the more opportunity they have to develop their senses, the more their brain develops.