The Best Outdoor Activities to Try With Infants

You are currently viewing The Best Outdoor Activities to Try With Infants

Getting outside with a baby can feel like a lot of work, then once your out there what do you do with them? Here I provide seven outdoor activities for playing with your little one. Outdoor play has numerous benefits to a child’s well-being and overall development. I encourage you to make it a part of your child’s daily routine to instill in them a lifelong habit of spending time outdoors.

Benefits to Outdoor Play

As mentioned earlier outdoor play has numerous benefits to children. It can support all areas of development helping to build and strengthen skills. The five main areas of development include the following:

  • Physical developmental includes gross motor (using large muscles), fine motor (using smaller muscles), and sensory development (engaging the senses).
  • Emotional development refers to the ability to recognize, manage and express their own as well as others emotions.
  • Social development relates to our social interactions with others and building our social skills.
  • Cognitive development involves thinking, remembering, and reasoning.
  • Language development is about the understanding and recognizing of a language as well as communication and literacy.
grass sensory exploration

These areas are often interconnected and one activity usually supports more than one area. In addition, the skills in each area will vary depending on the age and developmental level of the child. Gross motor in infants, for example, could mean sitting up, crawling, or walking.

How Infants Learn

Now that you know the areas of development, how exactly do infants learn new skills in each area? Acquiring new skills and strengthening ones already learned are all done during play. Children learn best through play and for them most experiences are play.

During infancy it is important for children to engage in meaningful interactions with caregivers to help build and strengthen those relationships. Meaningful interactions can happen through holding them, eye contact, and other forms of physical touch. These moments provide safety and security to your child in order for them to explore their environment.

baby playing

Let your child explore and be curious. This allows them to gather new information that they can use to understand their surroundings and development new skills. Following a child’s interests when choosing toys and activities will keep them engaged during play.

7 Outdoor Activities For Infants

Still not sure what to do with your child outside? Here are a few ideas.

Nature Walk

Go out for a walk with your child. Point out things you see along the way to encourage language development. If your child has started walking, let them walk and explore on their own. If not they can practice standing up and keeping their balance. This will all contribute to their gross motor development.

baby learning to walk

Sing Songs

Singing songs and playing with instruments is a great way to support your child’s language development. Try some finger-plays. These are songs that combine singing with hand movements such as Pat-a-Cake or The Wheels on the Bus. The hand movements will also help build hand and finger coordination as well as strengthening muscles.

baby with toys outside

Bring Toys Outside

This is a simple way to get some extra outdoor time. A basket of animal figurines, blocks, instruments and books are easy toys to bring out. Set up a picnic blanket or just play in the grass. Even bring an extra basket and your child can transfer toys from one basket to another. There are so many ways this activity can contribute to your child’s development depending on the toys you bring out.

Listen to Birds

Sit in your backyard or go to a park. Listen to the birds calling. If you can see them point them out to your child. This is such a great sensory activity to play. You can support language development by mimicking the bird sounds and encouraging your child to do the same. Read a book about birds to go along with this activity. One of my favourites is The Little Book of Backyard Bird Songs.

family outdoors bird watching

Sand Box

This is always a fun sensory experience. Provide some shovels or rakes to strengthen both gross and fine motor skills. Children love pouring and dumping so containers or buckets would also be a great addition. You can even try gardening with your infant by letting them explore the soil with their hands or shovels.

outdoor activities

Animal Figurines in the Grass

Instead of creating a sensory bin for your child to play in, bring your child and some animal figurines into the grass for a sensory activity. Take off their shoes and socks and let them feel the grass on their feet as well. Sensory play is a crucial part of child development and this activity is one of the many ways children can engage in sensory exploration. For a more in depth look at the benefits of sensory play check out this post.

Water Play

An absolute favourite with children. If you don’t like messy sensory play than this is for you. Water play outside is a great way for your child to engage in sensory play without having a mess to clean up afterwards. Provide a basin with some water and water toys such as animals, cups and scoops, or boats. Let your child splash and explore the water. You can even provide a basin large enough for them to sit inside of and play.

outdoor infant water play

There are so many ways to spend time outdoors that are engaging for children. Need more ideas? Check out this full list of 27 outdoor activities for children of all ages.

Outdoor play is a important aspect to child development. It is a great opportunity for play and supports skills in all areas development. Remember engaging in play outdoors with your infant can be as simple as playing a game of peek-a-boo.

Further Reading:

Leave a Reply