Outdoor Time with Babies
Winter might seem like an odd time of the year to be taking your baby outdoors, but outdoors activity any time of the year provides children and babies developmental experiences that engage all the senses and give children more to think about and learn from. Activities such as smelling flowers and pine needles, feeling a breeze on the face, watching wildlife, touching leaves, and hearing the sound of moving water will help babies to build neural pathways.
Both good affectionate child care at home, as well as new experiences, help babies’ brains to connect neural brain pathways into the trillions between the ages of zero to three. The more connections, the greater the developmental benefit going beyond childhood and into adulthood. It isn’t hard to help your baby develop these pathways. Your natural parental instincts and your willingness to share experiences and discoveries with your child are both keys to success.
While engaging in natural outdoor activities, you may notice that your baby cries less and becomes calmer. Many times at our center we have seen babies and toddlers stop crying when brought to a window or taken outside, even for a few minutes. It may sound strange in our modern world that people of all ages are naturally wired for the outdoors.
In the winter months, you may choose to bring your child outdoors during the warmest part of the day, especially when there is sunshine. Also, you can consciously take the time to stop briefly on the way into a building to note and observe the birds and plant life. It may only be a few minutes, but it is another experience you can share with your child. Babies may enjoy observing the activity at an outdoors skating rink, a little time at the park with family, or a brief trek into the yard after a light snow fall.
As always, your child’s Master Teacher or I can give you more suggestions for outdoor play and answer any questions you may have.