Outdoor Activities for Babies [Newborn to Toddlers]

When my daughter was a baby, getting her outside was overwhelming. I wanted her to spend time outside with me but wasn’t sure how to go about it. After talking to other moms and doing some research, I found some great ideas for infant-friendly outdoor activities. Out of hundreds of choices, these were the 13 best practical and easy ways to take my baby outdoors.

Outdoor tummy time with a small sheet or mat is the most rewarding outdoor activity for your baby. The new sensory experiences will help them work on their neck and shoulder muscles. They’ll be eager to look around and hear new things. But that isn’t the only thing your baby can do outdoors! Other activities include eating outdoors, water activities, and even using bubbles! 

  1. Splash Around with Water
  2. Crawl Freely in the Outdoors
  3. Take Tummy Time Outside
  4. Go For a Walk in the Woods
  5. Eat Lunch on the Patio
  6. Pop and Play with Bubbles
  7. Roll a Ball Back and Forth
  8. Swing Gently in a Baby-Safe Swing
  9. Go Pick Berries at a Farm
  10. Experience New Sights and Sounds
  11. Make an Outdoor Ball Pit
  12. Start a Leaf or Plant Collection
  13. Go For a Wagon Ride

Your Baby and the Outdoors

Taking your baby outside can be great for their development. Of course, babies of different age groups will need different types of outside play. 

  • Newborns (Birth – 6 months) can be outside for short periods. You should avoid direct sunlight. 
  • Babies (6-12 months) can crawl around in the grass to their heart’s content! Make sure they are supervised and avoid dangerous areas. 
  • Babies (12-18 months) are likely walking, so walking outside is a great way to improve their skills. Different terrains can help them get a feel for balance. 
  • Toddlers (18-24 months) have more outdoor options than ever, but they should still be supervised outdoors.

Before taking your baby outside, determine the level of activity they are comfortable with. Make sure to limit time outside below 12 months of age. Still, babies in this age range have a ton of outdoor activity options!

1. Splash Around with Water

When it’s warm outside, don’t be afraid to introduce your little one to water. You can purchase a water-based outdoor toy like this one from Little Tikes if your baby is old enough to stand.

However, you can also make something similar for crawling babies. Use a clear plastic storage container (under-the-bed containers like this one work perfectly). Fill it with colored water, rubber ducks, and small toys for your baby to grasp. Use small amounts of water and watch them enjoy the sensation!

2. Crawl Freely in the Outdoors

If your baby crawls around the house, they’ll have a ton of fun doing it outside! Make sure to look the area over beforehand, making sure there are no sharp sticks, holes, or animal droppings. Then, let your little crawler loose! 

They’ll enjoy the sensations of the new terrain. Crawling along in the grass can help their motor skills. Plus, they’ll discover all-new things!  This is a great way to help with your baby’s development.

3. Take Tummy Time Outside

Tummy time is essential for your developing baby. Tummy time can help develop neck muscles, upper body strength, and coordination. But you don’t have to skip it, even if you’re outside. 

Place a simple tummy time mat like this one on the grass. Then, put your baby (in weather-appropriate clothing) in the middle of the mat. Make sure to watch them closely, and keep younger babies out of direct sunlight. Tummy time is a safe, pediatrician-approved activity to help your baby’s development. If your baby is 3 months old, they can safely spend some time on their tummies to help with motor skills milestones.

Overall, this activity fulfills a basic need and adds a sensory component that will keep them interested. Some babies fuss during tummy time, so maybe taking it outside will keep them engaged!

4. Go for a Walk in the Woods

You’ve probably been taking your baby out for walks regularly. However, it’s time to leave the sidewalk and go off-roading in the woods. Make sure you have a stroller that can handle off-road terrain and find a nice wooded path. 

Looking up at the trees is exciting. It gives your baby new scenery to appreciate. Of course, this includes new sounds and new smells. Finally, getting them out of the city and into nature like this can foster a life-long love of the outdoors.

5. Eat Lunch on the Patio

Eating outside can be a great way to avoid mess and encourage development. Of course, you know that babies are messy eaters. If your baby is ready to feed themselves, eating lunch outside is great for both of you!

If the weather allows, bring their high chair out onto your patio and give them their lunch there. As long as you keep flies and other bugs away, it’ll be a great experience. 

If your baby is still breastfed or bottle-fed, take feeding times to the shade outside. It’s a nice break from the indoors, and the fresh air will help you just as much.

6. Pop and Play with Bubbles

Bubbles are fun, whimsical, and safe. This makes them the perfect option for playing outside with your little ones. Pick up some nontoxic bubble solution and blow bubbles for your baby. 

Make sure that they don’t pop in their eyes. Otherwise, let them reach out and touch the bubbles, watch them float away, and giggle when they pop. It’s a low-prep, fun activity that will keep your younger babies entertained for hours.

7. Roll a Ball Back and Forth

Rolling a ball around on the grass can be fun for both of you! Sit down with your baby on a blanket. Of course, your baby has to be old enough to sit up and have some motor skills. Sit across from them at a short distance and roll the ball back and forth. 

Make sure to talk to them as you do this. They’ll love getting to spend time with you, and the rolling develops motor skills and hand and eye coordination.

8. Swing Gently in a Baby-Safe Swing

If there is a playground nearby, you can always take your baby to play. While they won’t be able to use most of the equipment, there are always baby-safe swings available. These enclosed swings allow you to gently rock baby back and forth.

Alternatively, you can purchase your own swing. This one from Little Tykes attaches to a sturdy tree limb. Playground fun can be right in your own backyard!

9. Go Pick Berries at a Farm

At certain times of the year, your local berry farms may allow picking. Prices should be just about the same as you’d find in the supermarket. The bonus here is your baby gets the experience of picking their own food! 

It can be a great time with your kids. Especially for your younger kids. Teaching them where food comes from is fun and important!

10. Experience New Sights and Sounds

Just getting younger babies out of the house can be amazing for their development. Place a playmat or blanket down in the shade. Then, allow your baby to take in the new sights and sounds. 

Your baby may hear bird sounds, barking dogs, or the wind in the trees. New sights like dancing leaves, squirrels, and clouds in the sky work to expand their minds. Unfortunately, you do have to limit time in the direct sunlight for younger babies. Still, there’s plenty of fun to be had just observing nature!

11. Make an Outdoor Ball Pit

So what if you combine water play and rolling balls around? If your baby is old enough, it’s a good time! A small kiddie pool, playground balls, and a little bit of water can entertain your baby for quite a while. 

Make sure to supervise. You can use other toys as well, including grasping toys, rubber ducks, and toys for bathtime. If you’re unsure about the water, you can still fill the wading pool with balls alone. Your baby will love to throw them around!

12. Start a Leaf or Plant Collection

Toddlers love to collect things. Rocks, leaves, and plants can join their collections when they’re roaming outside.

Get them a bucket to carry around their spoils. A light, collapsible container like this one is ideal. Have your toddler compare different plants and leaves, and order rocks from largest to smallest. Afterward, you can display their rock collection on the porch.

13. Go For a Wagon Ride

What if you want to go for a walk, but your baby isn’t old enough? You can always get them set up in a wagon and pull them around the yard. This helps them move in a freer way than a stroller might. Additionally, they’ll be able to see much more around them. Feeling the wind isn’t always possible in a stroller.

If your child is old enough to balance themselves and sit up, this could be a great way to experience the great outdoors. There are even wagon-style strollers. Whichever you choose, taking your baby off-road in a freer way can be exhilarating for them. Just make sure to be safe about it!

Other Summer Camps & Activities 

Final Words

In conclusion, getting your baby outside doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming. Actually, there are tons of age-appropriate activities that can help your baby learn and develop. Try out some of these ideas to make your little one more comfortable with nature and play in the great outdoors!

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