Messy Outdoor Fun

Messy outdoor funWarm weather is here and there is nothing more fun than spending time playing outdoors with your baby. Outdoor activities are a fun excuse to strip your baby down to his diaper, soak up the vitamin D and get messy!

Sensory activities provide extra stimulation for your baby, allowing them to use their senses connecting smell, touch, hearing, sight and so much more while building neurological pathways and having fun. Plus, studies show that baby can build her immune system just by getting a little dirty now and then.

First of all, you don’t need a fancy sand or water table to create a sensory table. All you need are a few shallow, large plastic bins. I like using the ones sold for under-the-bed storage. They’re large enough for more than one child to play and shallow enough for your child to get in there and get messy while playing on the floor.

Here are some of my favorite ideas for hours of outdoor fun using things other than sand and water, which kids also love!

Slimy worms box. All you need is a few boxes of the cheapest pasta you can find, cook it up so it’s not too mushy and dump it into a bin once it’s cooled down. Use lots of different shapes of pasta and mix in some long spaghetti to make it more fun. If baby is still gumming everything you can add some vegetable-based food coloring to it to make it more fun. If they’re past that stage and you’re OK with a little bit of a mess, you can add some non-toxic finger paint to it, or let your child do it.

Dumping and Pouring. You can use a variety of things for this one: beans, raw pasta, rice, corn, oats–whatever you can find. Get together a variety of different-sized containers and let them explore pouring and dumping and learning about volume.

Ice castles. With a few disposable tin foil baking molds (think loaf pans, cake pans, casseroles) you can make great blocks for building castles. Pour some water mixed with food coloring into the molds, freeze overnight and you’ve got yourself some great melting blocks to build an ice castle.

Body Painting. Tape a large piece of paper to the floor and get out the finger paints. Look around for some different things you can use for painting (leaves, grass, rocks, marbles, anything really), pour some paint onto a tray and encourage your baby to use all the different supplies as well as their hands, feet or elbows.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.





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