We live in Malaysia, a land of hot sunny days year round. But many of you live where the seasons change from icy cold to cool and comfortable to hot and steamy. Since it is hot weather for almost all of the First Steps moms, I thought I’d send some ideas for hot weather fun with your baby or toddler.
John J. Ratey’s new book, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, reports how exercise can give your child the edge in learning. He is using this knowledge to help schools transform their PE programs and improve academics. Why not begin early and help your child develop a lifetime habit of being physically active?
A few safety tips first:
Remember your little one has very sensitive skin. Don’t forget to use a good quality, water proof sun block during outdoor activities. Children can burn even on over-cast days, so don’t be fooled by cloudy skies. The SPF should be 15-30 and barrier-type with zinc oxide or titanium oxide that are not absorbed by the skin and begin working immediately. Chemical sun block must be on the skin for 15 minutes before exposure to protect tender skin.
Never, ever leave your little one in water by themselves. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by a cell phone call or anything else while your baby or toddler is in water.
Now for some fun ideas:
Even babies can enjoy taking their bath outdoors where they can splash and make bubbles to their heart’s content. Play with a squeeze bottle or different sized cups or bubble bath. Don’t forget rubber ducky!
Enroll in a tot swimming class. Help your baby or toddler enjoy the water. Once you and your child have learned the basics, practice as often as possible in the warm summer days.
Let the kids play in the sprinkler if you have to water your lawn.
A sand box and lots of containers and some water make great fun outside where you don’t have to stress about cleanup.
Walks or bike rides in your neighborhood or local park give you a chance to exercise as well as your little one. With toddlers and preschoolers, turn a walk into a treasure hunt or nature walk.
- Take along binoculars and/or a magnifying glass. See birds and little animals in trees or tiny bugs and plants with the help of binoculars or a magnifying glass.
- Gather some collectibles like: seeds, bird feathers, shells, or rocks.
- Catch some friendly bugs for a day, like: grasshoppers, fireflies, lady bugs, or daddy-long-legs. Make sure the jar has some holes in the lid for air and put some leaves for shelter and food.
- Let your child build an ‘elf’ house out of some bark, twigs, moss, and stones they find on their walk.
- Play ‘I Spy with My Little Eye’
Teach your child to progress from walking to galloping, to jumping, to hopping, to side-sliding, to leaping, to skipping. All great skills and fun ways to keep moving!
Tea parties and picnic lunches are a great way to enjoy the warm weather. Back yard camping can be much safer and convenient than getting out in the woods and just as much fun for little ones.
Don’t forget some of the old favorite outdoor games like tag and hopscotch and Simon says.
Grow some flowers or veggies. Children appreciate them so much more if they have been watering and watching over these little plants until they produce something enjoyable or useful. If you can’t make a garden, you can raise some plants in pots.
Some night, take your child out to see the stars and moon. You may have to drive away from the city to see them, but it is worth the trouble. I know, I know, you don’t want to disrupt their sleep schedule. But take advantage of a holiday weekend or while on vacation for this idea.
The old favorites of blowing bubbles and water guns are great outdoor fun too.
If you have some ideas of things you and your children enjoy doing out doors, please write in and I’ll post them on the web site with this article.