Outdoor Spaces for Babies and Toddlers

This blog post has been written by Jeanette Morris our in-house Early Years Specialist who has over 33 years of teaching experience and a real passion for Early Years Education.

During the first few years of life, babies and toddlers are trying to make sense of their world. They soak up every noise, sound and experience. The outdoors is a place of unlimited possibilities to experiment with nature’s bounty. From the minute you open the door, the potential for adventure is in the air. The sky is never ending and provides a place where dimensions, height and depth can be experienced to their fullest and sensory stimulation is abundant.

Activities for babies don’t need to be complex or overly planned. After all, everything is a first experience for a baby. Something as simple as placing a baby under trees will stimulate the senses. Light will create beautiful patterns through the leaves and branches, whilst even a slight breeze will make sounds and cause movement.

Once babies are toddling, a varied landscape is a must. Small hillocks, tunnels and trails will encourage crawling, rolling, stretching and running, whilst tyres, ladders and planks provide opportunities for climbing. Low walls and rails at various heights are great for babies to pull themselves up to standing and textured pathways (bark, wood chip, gravel, pebbles) not only add visual interest, but also help to develop the mobility skills required for managing uneven ground.

Natural materials such as sand, soil and water provide fantastic opportunities for exploration, investigation and manipulation. Smaller sandpits are great for digging and tactile discovery, while larger areas of sand or earth allow toddlers to develop gross motor skills.

Nooks and dens will fascinate crawlers and cruisers. Create natural dens under low hanging branches, or provide large cardboard boxes or lengths of fabric attached to fences. Add cushions and blankets to create cosy corners for snuggling into, perfect for stories, songs and games or just to watch the world go by.

Spending time outdoors should be an integral part of the day for all babies and toddlers. Regardless of location, urban, suburban or rural, the great outdoors provides fantastic opportunities to observe, discover, learn and develop for our youngest children.

Below are just a few of our resources we have that are ideal for babies and toddlers in the outdoors:

Outdoor Mini Undercover Grass Tunnel EYR Natural Cushion and Rug Pack
Small Garden Planters Digging Bed
outdoor play resources

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