If it’s your baby’s first summer, not quite ready to run around quite yet, what will you do all day during the summer? I have a few ideas based on the activities that my babies loved.
When I was a very new parent, there were days I just had no idea what to do. I would stare at my baby and ask her, “What do you want to do?” She would just smile at me. By the time I had a second baby, I knew that he was very happy to be my passenger. What I liked to do, he liked to do. So, I put him in a baby carrier, peeking over my shoulder, and I set off doing what I would have done anyway.
If you are looking ahead to the long, hot summer and wondering what to do, I have a few ideas for outdoor activities you can do with your baby.
1. Bubbles. My number one favorite play activity with babies is blowing and popping bubbles. One second they are there then they POP! No more bubbles. Who can resist a baby’s amazement the first time they see this happen.
2. Water. My babies loved water, especially splashing. They did not love the sprinkler, which they didn’t control. Go slowly so you don’t take your baby over that edge of excitement into worry and fear. I liked keeping the water movement under my baby’s control as we drummed and splashed in a bucket of water.
3. Garden peekaboo. Whether you have a cultivated garden, a wild garden, or a collection of weeds, it’s all the same to your baby. Sit the baby on the lawn and hide, popping up behind big plants. The simple movement out from behind leaves where you were gone then you are suddenly there can be a big surprise.
4. Lawn ball. Sometimes when it is hot, the lawn in the shade is still a bit cool. Sit on the cool lawn and roll a ball.
5. Music and dance. Grab something to shake or pound and head outside. Sing your baby’s future favorite song. Make sure your baby has something to grip and shake—a rattle will do. If your baby can stand, then dance! This was one of the our favorite daily activities, and my children still remember the songs we sang. We still sing them now as car songs.
6. Take a walk. Wear your baby in a kangaroo position or on your back, so it’s easy to look around. Just get away. Point out birds and animals. Involve your baby. You’ll probably have a sleeping baby by the end.
7. Picnic. The newness of a familiar activity in a different place is fun even if you just have your lunch then breastfeed your baby.
Nearly everything is new and exciting for a baby. Look for developmentally appropriate activities that let your baby use and improve motor skills, social skills, and language.
If you share in the delight your baby feels at every new and exciting thing, you can share a summer of discovery. Really, though, all your baby wants is to be with you. As long as you are there and having fun, your baby will likely have fun as well.