Outside Time for Infants
Many parents are leery to introduce their infant to the outdoors at an early age especially during the summer. The benefits of doing so are many and it is worth putting aside your concerns. Infants are trying to make sense of their world and being outside helps him/her experience the unfamiliar sights and sounds that they do not have the exposure to inside.
Outdoor Play has many physical health benefits. Not only does being outside help with large muscle development and physical fitness but it also provides the best source of Vitamin D and fresh air exchange with less risk of germs. The mental and emotional health benefits of being outdoors include fostering independence and stress reduction. It is important to note that these benefits are also for you as a parent.
It is important to set up a safe environment for your infant while you are playing outside. Make sure you take a blanket for your baby to lie on while he/she is outside. Also make sure that there are areas of shade and monitor that length of time that your infant is in direct sunlight. Bring some of their favorite inside toys outside with you but also allow them to touch the grass and other natural objects. Talk to your infant about the chirping birds, moving leaves, blowing wind, etc. This helps expand the vocabulary that your infant is being introduced to throughout the day. As your infant gets older introduce tunnels, balls, sensory tables, and riding toys. This time should be enjoyable for both you and your baby and it will hopefully ignite a love for the outdoors that will continue through adulthood.