Exploring Nature with Your Baby: 12 Outdoor Activities for Summer Bonding

As the warm sun graces us with its presence, now is the perfect time to embark on some adventures with your little ones. Although having said that, we’re probably back to drizzle and rainy days! But there’s a whole world of wonders out there come rain or shine. So let’s grab our sun hats, and raincoats, pop on some sun cream and get exploring! 

Being outdoors and in nature can do wonders for lifting us up when things feel a bit too much. And when you really open your eyes to what’s around you, it brings a whole new dimension to a walk in the park or the school run. I found being outside really helped during the pandemic. I started to really take notice of everything, from the birds, trees and insects, down to the wildflowers and butterflies. And nature can be equally captivating for babies and toddlers. From the scent of flowers to the touch of cool water, every moment spent in nature will ignite their senses, fostering a deep connection with the world around them. So let’s take a look at some nature activities for babies, aimed at getting us out and about this summer.

Nature Walks: Take leisurely strolls in parks, gardens, or nearby nature trails, pointing out different plants, animals, and natural features along the way. If you’re having one of those days with a tiny baby, popping them in a sling and having a quick five-minute walk around the block can do wonders for calming everyone. 

Picnic in the Park: Pack a picnic blanket and some baby-friendly snacks, and enjoy a relaxed meal together surrounded by nature. We enjoyed doing this a lot during lockdown. I’d have my eldest, six at the time, pack toys for his brother, while I packed a picnic. We’d walk ten minutes to a shady patch of grass, set up a blanket and have lunch. Simple, yet they both loved it.

Sensory Play: Create a sensory station using natural materials like leaves, flowers, and pinecones. Let your baby explore the different textures, colours, and smells. You could do this in your garden or on a balcony, or equally inside on a tray.

Water Play: On a warm day, set up a small inflatable pool or water table outside. Let your baby splash, feel the water, and experience the joy of water play. You could even add in ice for different textures and temperatures. 

Nature Treasure Hunt: Make a simple list of items found in nature, like a smooth rock, a colourful leaf, a dandelion, something pink etc. Take your baby on a scavenger hunt to find these items together. This activity works particularly well for pre-schoolers. My son absolutely loves finding everything on the list and we use an egg box for collecting our items!

Outdoor Story Time: Find a shady spot in your garden or local park and read to your baby. Encourage interaction by pointing to pictures and mimicking animal sounds.

Flower Picking: Introduce your baby to the beauty and fragrance of flowers by letting them help you pick some blooms. Ensure the flowers are safe for handling and avoid any toxic varieties. Think daisies, dandelions and buttercups. 

Nature Soundscape: Find a quiet spot and sit with your baby, closing your eyes and listening to the sounds of nature around you. What can you hear? Birds singing, leaves rustling, or water trickling? This can be a calming and meditative experience, and again, equally lively for calming pre-schoolers. 

Baby Yoga in the Park: Engage in gentle stretching and baby-friendly yoga poses while surrounded by nature. Whether it’s an organised activity or simply a few stretches together, yoga can be lovely for calming the mind and creating a sense of calm. 

Nature Photography: Bring a camera or use your smartphone to capture some of the nature around you. Involve your baby by showing them the pictures and discussing what you see together.

Outdoor Music Session: Take a blanket and some musical instruments (like a xylophone or maracas) to a quiet, natural spot. Play and sing songs with your baby, incorporating natural sounds and rhythms.

Animal Watching: Visit a local farm, zoo, or wildlife park to watch and learn about different animals together. Talk to your baby about the animals you see and make animal sounds together.

It’s fairly obvious but remember to prioritise your baby's safety and comfort during outdoor activities. Dress them appropriately for the weather, keep them protected from the sun, and stay hydrated! What other summer, outdoor activities do you enjoy with your little ones? Be sure to share them in the comments and save this post for ideas when you’re at a loose end! 

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