It seems like every conversation I have these days is about how ready everyone is for summer. After a long winter followed by spring showers, it's time for some open-air fun — from a safe distance, of course. But at the same time, I know summer will be different this year not only because I have an 11-month-old, but because I’m thinking about their safety even more than I usually do.
But being safe doesn’t automatically mean avoiding fun or staying indoors; it means being aware of recommended safety guidelines and staying mindful when planning outings (aka never leaving the house without face masks, hand sanitizer, and a keen eye for spaces that allow you to socially distance). Luckily, babies won’t know the difference between your creative workarounds and summers past. At this age, everything is new and exciting to them, which means just about everything you plan has a fair shot at delighting your little one.
To give you a dose of inspiration, check out the list below for some ideas for safe, fun activities to enjoy with your baby this summer. Hopefully they'll also give you that excited, summery feeling as well.
1. A Baby & Me Picnic
There’s nothing like a meal spent outdoors (with plenty of sunscreen, of course). After we've ensured it's not too crowded, my family likes to pack up our masks and hand sanitizer, then head to our local park or lake. But the great thing about a picnic is that you don’t need much room to enjoy one. In fact, the experience is just as fun when reimagined from your backyard, balcony, sidewalk, or whatever outdoor space you have access to.
Try bringing a fitted sheet to the park or beach, weighing down the corners with heavy items like a diaper bag or coolers, and creating your own little spot to keep the sand or dirt at bay. This crib sheet is compact enough to go everywhere you do.
2. An Outdoor Bath
Who says bath time has to happen indoors? The great thing about baby bathtubs is that they're portable and easily able to be moved outside.
Gather up the bath toys and transport water from inside the house to make sure it’s the right temp. I always make sure to have plenty of towels and dry clothes at the ready so my daughter doesn’t get cold. Pro tip: As she’s gotten older, I’ve also realized her tub can double as an impromptu water table. Invest in one of these newborn tubs while they're little, and I promise you'll get use out of it for years to come.
3. A Socially Distant Walk
I don’t know about you, but I’ve really been trying to find ways to have some social interaction while staying safe. One thing that seems to be working? Socially distant walks with a friend. (Yes, just one friend. You'll thank me when you don't have to worry about holding a conversation with multiple adults standing 6 feet apart!)
The strollers help the adults ensure you're keeping the kids a safe distance apart, plus you get some connection with a friend and a little exercise at the same time. I recommend looking for a set like this Graco travel system that also comes with a car seat that clicks into the stroller.
4. In-Town Tourism
Maybe it’s been a while since you checked out some of the attractions that out-of-towners might find interesting about where you live. While it's still not the right time to visit our museum or aquarium just yet, I’m planning to show my daughter our downtown waterfall and explore the different parks we have in our area.
I’ve learned the hard way that no trip is too short for a diaper bag. Plus, it’s a great place to stash extra masks and hand sanitizer.
5. A Simple Nature Walk
Whenever I thought about doing this with my baby, it seemed silly. She’s not even walking yet! But then I realized it’s never too early to introduce her to textures of leaves, show her the bark on the trees and the varieties of flowers, or let her take a break to touch a smooth rock while we give other nature-lovers their safe space on the trails.
Though you could certainly do this with a stroller, I find it easier to explore with a carrier so I can get close to things and let my daughter experience them along with me. And if I’m in the mood to take the adventure a little further, it doesn’t take much more effort to turn our walk into a hike.
6. Backyard (Or Living Room) Camping
It’s never too early to turn your baby into a happy camper. Depending on your bravery, you can try a couple of hours outside in a tent (isn't that what travel cribs are for?) or start with an indoor nap with a patterned swaddle blanket or two helping to set the outdoors-y mood. When baby wakes up, just grab the tent and you're all set for a game of peek-a-boo.
This summer is full of adjustments for all of us, whether your family's summer plans usually involve a fun trip or a gathering at the neighborhood pool. But with the right supplies and a little bit of imagination, summer 2020 is sure to be just as magical as any other.
This post is sponsored by Target.