Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Baby's Own Health - Exploring the Park

My son's day care provider is roughly a 45 minute walk from my house. It's not horrible, but it's not ideal to have to spend the better part of an hour walking before 8am. At least, that's what I thought at first. With the heat of the summer in full effect, parents can’t wait to shake off the layers and start up the barbeque! Kids get excited about outdoor play, and you might hear your older children start to ask for their bikes from the garage. Babies can’t ask you, but they need it, too, and as the day goes on, it sometimes gets too hot!

While it might seem designed for your school aged kids, the perfect destination for any sunny day walk is the park; a wonder-filled space for everyone to enjoy. It great for an early morning stroll to start your day with energy. It's a shade spot to picnic, and to reapply your sunscreen. It's lovely in the evening to hit the swings. So how do you interact with your little one if they are not yet mobile to do it themselves? Here are some tips!

*I throw a shopping cart cover in my stroller before we head to the park to use in the swings. It adds a bit of padding and protects baby's bum in case it rained earlier in the day.
The walk to and around the park alone is a great way to build vocabulary. Talk about the sights, sounds, and smells of your surroundings. Point out the colours and the animals you see. We like to mention the sounds the birds make and talk about their coloured feathers. Lay out a blanket under a tree to stare at the leaves, or the shapes in the clouds. Consider bringing a bag to collect fossils, shells, or other souvenirs to talk about later.

Take time to experience the difference in textures, something than babies and toddlers love. Spiky grass, rough stones, smooth sand, and refreshing, cool water are just some of the new experiences your little one will enjoy. Encourage your child to describe it to you, or laugh about how different things can be. 

No matter how your family enjoys the park; singing songs in the splash pad, walking the dog, or just relaxing and talking to your neighbours, find a time in the day to get the fresh air with your little one a couple days a week. It really shakes of the stale feeling of hiding from the heat, when you can do it in a safe way.

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