• Heather Pawelkiewicz

Fun Activities to Kick off the Summer Season with Your Infant and Toddler

baby and toddler
These two girls are ready for summer!

Technically, it's still spring, but the signs of summer are all around us; graduation Facebook and Instagram posts, water parks opening, watermelons at the farmer's markets, iced tea brewing on the front porch, and the sweltering heat (in the southeast anyway). Yes, summer sure is right around the corner and it is the perfect time to engage in some outdoor play with your little one.

With the rainy days of spring behind us, we can look forward to clear skies and lots and lots of sun! Babies and toddlers typically love being outside and nature automatically lends itself to sensory play. When outside, be sure to point out the various sounds your child hears; the birds chirping, dogs barking, children laughing, and determined squirrels rummaging for nuts they've stored away during the winter. There are so many different sights for children to see; shapes in the clouds, shadows in the driveway, the green trees, and colorful birds. And let's not forget about the smells of summer; the freshly cut grass, a sliced watermelon, a neighborhood BBQ, and the salty air at the beach. So many different tastes of summer too; a popsicle from the ice cream truck, the spicy mustard on a hot dog, and that first sip of freshly squeezed lemonade. When outside, allow your child to feel summer; the sun beating on their face (if only for a little while), their toes in the wet sand, and the pinchy blades of grass between their fingers when they venture off of the blanket. This is what summer's all about!

summer water baby
This baby loves to play in the water

The OFY team is here to provide you with some summer ideas for your baby and toddler. Remember, babies and toddlers just love repetition and this is how they learn best, so do not be afraid to do many of the same activities with them day after day.

-Bubbles are a great way to increase your child's language, fine, and gross motor skills. Blow bubbles with your child and have them pop them, count them, and catch them. Warning, toddlers tend to want to blow their own bubbles. If this is the case, many stores offer a special no-spill bubble container that will allow for hours of fun and independence, as toddlers love to do things for themselves.

-Other fun activities are anything that involves water. A small plastic container filled with water and the nesting cups makes for lots of fun for baby. Your child can work on pouring, dumping, and scooping up the water (*Please monitor your child at all times around water; even a very small amount of water can pose a drowning risk for a small child).

-A small inflatable ball is always fun. Your baby or toddler will enjoy throwing (joint attention), kicking, giving, and hitting the ball. You can even work on some directions (e.g. put the ball in the box).

-Reading a book outside with your child can be lots of fun; particularly if this book talks about objects outside. You can label the picture in the book and then the child can see the real object.

-If your child is older, you can bring some crafts outside. Have them draw what they see in the clouds or perhaps paint a still life of that unique tree in your front yard. Encourage your child to use their imagination and turn the large appliance box into a truck, castle, or time machine.

Encourage imaginative and outdoor play in your child as they grow. There will always be time for screens and technology later. Remember, children learn best through play.

For more ideas on engagement in play, check out the OFY infant backpack and toddler's all in the bag!

#summer #outdoors #ourfirstyear #babies #toddlers

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