Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ways to Have Outdoor Fun with a Pre-Walker

Welcome to the June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their stories and tips for playing outside with kids. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Baby and I both love being outside. But since he can't walk yet* it's easy to feel like there's nothing to do outside. And it's true that he can't ride a bike or fly a kite or play tag or kick the can yet. But here are some things we've come up with to allow our crawling baby to enjoy the great outdoors!

Feed the animals
Scatter birdseed in your yard or a park and point out the animals and birds that come for a nibble. We've had cardinals, robins, pigeons, thrushes, grackles, chipmunks, and squirrels! Baby gets really excited and waves to them, which is adorable and makes me giggle.

Go sight-seeing
Many landmarks, state and national parks, etc have wheelchair accessible trails, which means they are also stroller accessible, plus you can bring a baby carrier pretty much anywhere!

Go on a nature walk in your own neighborhood
To a baby, even manicured lawns, landcaping rocks, and backyard flower and veggie gardens are exciting new examples of nature. Act as baby's tour guide, pointing out the names of natural things in your everyday world. Look for things baby can touch and smell, like rocks, pinecones, and flowers, and supervise closely to make sure your baby doesn't eat anything dangerous.

Use the playground equipment
Baby loves swinging. He's a chewer though so I always bring baby wipes and wipe down the black rubber park swing before I put him in it. They also have cloth covers for baby swings you can buy if you're worried about germs and to add padding if your baby is still pretty little for the swing.
We feel comfortable now letting him "ride" a little dinosaur on what looks like a giant spring (it's only about a foot off the ground). We hold him the whole time even though he hangs on too most of the time.
We have also started using the baby slide, again holding him the whole time. You have to gauge your baby's abilities and the limitations of the playground equipment available to you, but you might be surprised how much you can play at the playground if you're willing to get involved in the playing yourself.

Make a Splash
While you have to be extremely careful, swimming can be a great option for pre-walkers. And there's tons of great gear available to keep baby safe and comfy, from swim diapers to UV protective shirts to floaties. If your baby thinks he's a fish like mine does and never wants bath time to end, swimming is an awesome way to let them enjoy the water more!

These are just a few things we've thought of to do with Baby, but it's by no means an exaustive list of the possibilities for outdoors fun with a pre-walking baby. Be creative and have fun with your little one and the wonders of nature!

*No longer true as of this weekend...I now have a walking baby! Hurray!(I'm very proud)


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


  1. It sounds like you guys will have a lot of fun this summer! It is often hard to figure out things to do with pre-walkers. We live in "the city of fountains," and Kieran loved to watch (and occasionally splash in) those. We also did nature walks in parks, went to free summer concerts, did the zoo, and splashed in our own wading pool.

  2. Those are some great ideas! We loved the swings at the park when Dylan was a pre-walker, and we also loved going for walks, either in the stroller or carrier, and just observing nature - the trees, birds, clouds and squirrels could keep us both occupied for a long time!

  3. As this carnival was approaching, I was thinking - there's nothing for me here. Blanka is just an infant. And look at that...our babies are about the same age:-) I was just thinking to take Blanka out to the grass and let her root around. Thanks for the ideas

  4. As the mom of a pre-walker this post is very encouraging for me. Off to the park we go this week! Also, hooray for your pre-walker becoming a walker!

  5. Another fun outdoor activity for pre/early walkers is putting them on your back in a wrap or ergo and going for a hike. (Did I mention I love hiking?? :) Once they are able to walk well then they usually want to walk *everywhere* and your ability to go on adult-pace walks decreases considerably. Pre-walkers often like to be carried around on brisk walks & hikes, and they enjoy watching the natural world go by.

  6. I totally used to go everywhere with our carrier — it's so perfect to have your baby on your back when you want to hike into a forest or along a beach where a stroller can't go! Love the recommendation of wheelchair-accessible trails, though; that's genius.

    We started taking our baby swimming at 4 months old, and he still loves it. We never used anything special, just held him in our arms so he could get used to the feel of his body in the water.

    Congrats on the beginning of your toddling days! How exciting.

  7. Congrats on his walking! That's such a major milestone. I just posted a photo of my oldest helping my youngest take her first steps back in the day. Finding it got me a little teary. Love your birdseed idea!

  8. Melissa (@adventuroo)June 9, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Such great ideas! My youngest is 3 months and he went on his first hike at just 7 weeks. Strapped him into the Baby Bjorn and he gazed up at the trees for an hour long hike!

    Congrats on baby taking his first steps!

  9. Some wonderful ways of enjoying time outside! Before mine could walk I used to love going on really long walks with her in the baby carrier. Sometimes she would even forget I was there and all of a sudden she'd look up and have the most excited look on her face.

  10. My youngest has just started walking and we love just lounging outside in the yard. I let her crawl around in the grass and she likes following her big sister (5 years old) around, as well as getting on her old tricycle and pretending to petal.

    And congrats on the newly walking child! YAY! Those first steps are fun, aren't they?

  11. How wonderful he has started to walk! Also scary and somewhat bittersweet (at least with my first it was, I can't wait for Dolores to start walking, I think it'll be great!). I love your ideas too. Paul would still love to do most of them. I think next time we go to town we'll have to go feed the geese at Lion's Lake.

  12. Yay! Congrats on your now-walking baby!


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