Safe ways to help your toddler enjoy nature

As toddlers grow, they generally become more and more interested in the world around them, and so as Baby starts to take more and more notice of his environment, your little explorer will become less content to just sit inside and play with toys, as he begins to understand that there is a whole world out there just waiting to be discovered. Stepping outside and into nature is a great way to spark his curiosity and teach him about how exciting the larger world can be.

Ideas for outdoor fun

  • Summer: The words “summer” and “beach” go hand-in-hand, so pack up a pail and head for the shore – even if you don’t live on the coast, there’s a good chance there’s a river or lake somewhere in your home’s vicinity. Whether you’re digging in the sand or feeling the water, the beach provides an opportunity to explore new territory that can’t be found on the dry land. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
  • Winter: If you live in a colder climate, never fear – there are still many opportunities for outdoor play. Bundle up and walk through the snow – just listening to the crunch of the snow under his boots will be exciting for Baby. Let him pitch in as the two of you build a snowman, or even give him a gentle ride on a sled. For many toddlers, snow is something new and fun, and totally worth the cold. If your winters are on the rainier side, bring rain boots, fun umbrellas, and puddle-hopping can turn a stroll through a shower from a chore to an adventure.
  • Fall: If you’re lucky enough to experience crisp air and colorful leaves, you sure have a lot to be excited about when it comes time for fall, but there are any number or ways to enjoy the season, even if fall weather means something different to you. Go apple picking and bake a pie; stroll through a pumpkin patch or catch a hayride. Want some fun that carries over to the indoors? Gather up some leaves for later and make a sensory bag to play with at home.
  • Spring: No other season says nature quite like spring. Take advantage of the warmer weather by planting some flowers and watching them bloom – checking on your plants with Baby is a great, extended activity, and if the two of you plant vegetables to, it’s an activity that brings the fun all the way to the dinner table eventually. Growing things is only one way to enjoy the season, though. Look for four leaf clovers, have a picnic in the park, point out the new buds you see as you walk through the park. It’s also a great time to have Baby tune in with his ears: listen to the birds chirp, the bumblebees buzz, and the laughter of those around you who are doing the same.

While adults used to seeing things like a flower in bloom or a bird in flight, it’s important to remember this is all new territory for Baby, so use this to your advantage as you begin to see the world again through a new lense. It can be, quite literally, a breath of fresh air!

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