Megan @oatcakeadventures & @birth-ed
🤰Hypnobirthing & Positive Birth Expert
💪🏽Business Owner, writer & podcaster
👶🏽Talking all things to make your birth better
Mama to Otis
Lover of Getting Muddy in The Great Outdoors
10 ways to get outdoors with your baby and kids (and it doesn’t have to cost a penny!)
I don’t know about you, but I find parenting in the great outdoors, much easier than in my own living room! You’d struggle not to find us out in the great outdoors even in winter, but there’s something about seeing those daffodils popping up and the evenings getting lighter that makes getting outside a little bit more tempting and little bit easier.
But getting outside doesn’t just mean visiting the swing park for the 10th time that week.. so here are some more ideas for getting out and about!
It’s amazing to see what kind of treasures you can find, even just in your own back garden or your own street. Old egg boxes are perfect for finding tiny treasures: stones, grass, snail shells, twigs, flowers, feathers, fruit, pine cones- all make for exciting treasure for babies, pre-schoolers (and parents!).
There’s no such thing as bad weather. Just bad clothes. We’ve got to be realistic, a totally sunny spring isn’t likely here in the UK, so get your kids (and yourself) a set of waterproofs and wellies! Being out in the rain, but feeling dry is so good for the soul, and kids love nothing more than jumping (or rolling around in our case) in a muddle puddle. If you’re not stressed about them being cold or dirty, it opens up a world of exploring.
We do so much more art and craft in the spring and summer than during the winter, there’s something so unappealing about cleaning up paint from your table before dinner. So get a roll of brown paper or old wall paper, lay it on the grass with some paint and brushes and hey presto! Strip your kids or babies down to their nappy or vest and pop them straight in the bath afterwards, so much fun and minimal tidying! (For the truly mess adverse, water and brushes on a wall or patio works a treat!)
This one is great if you’ve got adult company and fancy a chat or to reconnect with your partner. An off road buggy or decent back sling means you can go for miles, get your steps in, catch up with a friend AND keep your kids or baby occupied on the way (either with a nap if you’re lucky, or by playing I spy or pointing out things you see on your walk!). Get a good reusable coffee cup and some Piccolo snacks for a little resfreshment stop on the way!
Spring is perfect picnic weather! And kids LOVE a picnic. When Otis was a baby, I would picnic with him most sunny days, either in the park or just the garden. Use a huge rug, bring a few small toys or books, and once weaning snacks can be including in the picnic too! Picnics are a great way to introduce Piccolo finger foods and pouches of baby food are great for picnics, even up to toddlerhood where the fruit ones make for a lovely pudding without a spoon! Picnicking is great post nursery or school or on the day when you just don’t fancy clearing up dinner!
Feed the ducks
A great one for after the picnic, we keep a bag of duck food in the nappy bag, but sandwich crusts will do! Watch out for pesky geese and little fingers though!
May and June sees the reopening of many local ‘pick your own’ farms. This is a great way to show children where the food they eat comes from. Our toddler was amazed to discover carrots ‘live under the ground’. It’s also a surprisingly brilliant way to get them tasting foods they might otherwise turn their nose up at! Touching, playing with, feeling and exploring food before eating familiarises them with new foods. If you know what you’re picking you can even get blackberries, raspberries and other food out in the wild!
Are you even a baby if you haven’t eaten and pooed sand!? There’s not much to dislike about the beach. Depending where you are, this might be a day trip, it might take a holiday or it might be your local ‘playground’! The sounds, smells, textures, (and tastes!) of the beach are such an adventure for babies, and once kids are a bit bigger, imaginary play on a beach through sandcastle building, digging holes, jumping from waves, hiding in caves keeps them occupied for hours.
Set the kids to work! Gardening is a great learning opportunity for children and babies, whether you’re talking about the colours or showing them how things grow, planting seeds or using the watering can. We don’t actually have a garden of our own, but out street has some communal beds which we always offer to water!
This is about as fun as being outside gets when you’re a kid! The paddling pool or the sprinkler! Or when they’re under 1, even a bucket to sit in or splash in works brilliantly! Cups, sponges, slippery tarpaulin, bath toys etc are all great fun, we even get Otis to wash his own outdoor toys with a bucket and a sponge, keeps him occupied for hours and you get a clean slide by the end. So do a rain dance, cross your fingers for sun and get the hose out!