Have you been outside with your Teeny Tiny today?
Sensory Stimulation – the feel of tickly grass, smooth leaves, crunchy sand, rough sticks, cool water – so many new sensory experiences to explore and discover – so why don’t I just bring some pieces of nature indoors? – well you can but …
Sounds reverberate differently in the outdoors – the way sound travels outdoors is different; the air pressure changes and there is so much more movement. The movement opportunities in an outdoor environment are great for eye fitness too.
An indoor environment is mostly static, apart from us and if you have a pet cat or dog roaming around. In an outdoor environment, however, trees are swinging, birds are flying, a dog is being walked, a car races past – all of these are great for eye-tracking – supporting the development of the eye muscles to look near, far and use peripheral vision too.
Natural light lifts the mood as it supports the release of serotonin, the happy hormone. Greenery calms, soothes and lowers cortisol, the stress hormone. A simple stroll outside may help to calm an unsettled Teeny Tiny. They can sense your stress levels too so if the stroll doesn’t work for your Teeny Tiny it might work for you.
But what about the sun? The Skin Cancer Foundation and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend to use sunscreen from 6m onwards. My Sunshine Sunscreen recommends test patching first on the inside of an arm or leg before lathering up. Avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm or when the UV is at its highest. This doesn’t mean staying indoors it means being sun smart - find shady spots to intake some vitamin D. You can get baby sunglasses too – good luck keeping them on!
What if my baby wants to eat grass? In nature, exposure to germs for your child’s developing immune system is of great advantage. However run your hand over an item first to check for any loose parts, and access the swallowability (if you can remember film canisters – before we went digital – (showing my age) if the item your Teeny Tiny wants to mouth can fit inside best to remove it. My son had a palette for snails and sand – mouthfuls of sand – he ended up several heavy nappies.
Connection with Nature - Interactive exploration and discovery in local, familiar environments are often described as one of the best ways to engage and inspire Teeny TInies to cultivate a sense of wonder. Offer these frequently – every day if you can, experiences in nature are the most common influence on the development of lifelong love of the outdoors.
Outdoor Play Every Day- is great for our children’s overall health and well-being. It helps them develop into capable, confident humans and gives them a variety of skills to help them navigate on their journey through life. Early access to the outdoors is essential for creating the biggest possible learning environment, increased movement opportunities, as babies bodies are challenged in different ways
No two outdoor experiences will be identical.
- Start by taking a simple walk to your letterbox and back.
- What about rainy days? – coat up and head out – walk to the curb and place a leaf in the gutter watch as it floats away. It is often us the adults who don’t want to get wet, Tinies don’t mind and we can always get dry again quickly.
- Post a leaf in your neighbours letterbox ( if they have children you might get some posted in yours too)
- Read a book under a tree
- Enjoy a snack in the high chair in a shady spot outside
- Met a coffee group friend at the park – enjoy a swing and morning tea under a tree.
- Offer bubbles for eye tracking (on a calm day)
- Have you thought about offering your Teeny Tiny the opportunity to have a sleep outdoors?
Celia Hogan - Little Kiwis Nature Play
My Sunshine Sunscreen
Janet Lansbury – Elevating Childcare
A Moving Child is a Learning Child – Connell and McCarthy