As a mom I often think it’s easy to get caught up in different “activities” to do with my baby. With the introduction of Pinterest there are so many fabulous ideas right in front of you! However, I think it is important to step back and remember that kids are kids and they don’t always need a big elaborate set up. Often times just getting outdoors and letting your baby, toddler, or child explore their environment is plenty! It’s amazing to see what kids can create and imagine when they have their backyard or and open outdoor space as their playroom.
The backyard is a lot of fun for your little one. Of course you need to be safe, and take into consideration what you are comfortable with your little one accessing. Depending on a child’s age that can vary. I have a baby so I have to be aware of everything that he could potentially put in his mouth! He loves to put most anything in his mouth!
As a therapist, I try to get my kiddos outside as much as possible! I love all of the advantages that being outdoors offers!
Have you ever seen a baby or toddler experience grass for the first time? It’s quite a sensory experience for them! It’s a great option to let your little one get out and crawl or play with barefeet!
This is C’s favorite. We say he is going to be a little geologist. We have river rock around the house that he loves to sit in. He loves to move the river rock with his hands and feet. I have to be careful that he doesn’t get the little ones in his mouth so we don’t have any choking hazards happening! We also have some larger boulders that he loves to climb up and pull up on!
Sticks can bring out the best in kids. They can become so many different things when children use their imagination. For the younger ones it’s a fun object to manipulate and explore the different textures! In therapy we will jump over them, walk under them, or throw them (not at anyone of course).
Ah dirt! It’s messy , but I really don’t care. Watch a child play in the dirt. If you pay attention you can almost see the wheels turning as they are taking in and learning so much by just playing in the dirt.
C loves to crawl on cement. As long as it’s not hot I’m okay with it. He’s never been injured or had any problems by crawling on it. It’s a different sensory experience for him as well. Transitioning between the cement and grass provides the change in surface play with changes in the sensory input for him. These transitions are great for my kiddos when working with them in therapy as well! Let your older child go barefoot on it if you are comfortable with that. An excellent sensory experience.
We have large pots around our patio that C loves to pull up on and cruise around. He also is a big fan of putting his hands in the dirt. I just have to keep a careful eye on him when he wants to try put it in the mouth. I’m okay with a little dirt in the mouth, however I draw the line at any fertilizer type thing in the mouth. So no potting soil for him!
Often times I’ll set up C’s pool full of his pool noodles (that are cut up) and plastic playground balls. That will be it. He can come and go as he pleases in and out of the pool. I’ve found that he enjoys playing in his pool but he also really enjoys crawling in the grass and the rocks. Boy does he love the rocks! We can spend over an hour outside without any fussing or crying with this very simple set-up.
In therapy, I may bring out some hurdles or a playground ball, however I will use as many of the outdoor “tools” as I possibly can!
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