With plenty of warm weather still to enjoy this summer, what better way to take advantage of it than by spending time outdoors! Earlier this summer our school age specialist shared ideas about enjoying the outdoors with older children. But what about sharing the outdoors with infants and toddlers?
Take it outside!
The outdoors is a natural place of wonder for young children. The learning possibilities are endless. Going outdoors with infants and toddlers provides a wonderful opportunity for them to explore the world using their senses:
- The feel of the wind
- The warmth of the sun
- The smell of the grass
- The sound of birds chirping
- The exhilarating feeling from walking or running outdoors that we don’t feel when we are inside
The outdoors can provide children and adults with an opportunity to release stress, not to mention the fresh air and physical play in the outdoor environment that promotes the health and wellbeing of young children.
Creating a safe outdoor environment for infants and toddlers is very important. Active supervision is key to avoiding accidents and injury while outdoors, so parents/caregivers need to be standing in sight of children as they are playing. Parents/caregivers also need to be sure that the environment and equipment are free of any hazards or debris that could be dangerous, and be sure children are protected from overexposure to the sun or colder temperatures and hydrated in warm weather.
Here are 5 resources about outdoor play with infants and toddlers.
- Supporting Outdoor Play and Exploration for Infants and Toddlers from Early Head Start National Resource Center
- Infants & Toddlers: Let’s Go Outside! from Scholastic Early Childhood Today
- Nature-Based Learning Taking Infants and Toddlers Outside from NAEYC
- Outdoor Play for Infants and Toddlers from High Reach Learning
- Play Safe from childalert