Babes in the wild

Babes in the wild

Bet that title got your attention 😉 now what I really mean is babies, bambinos, babas, petite humans, whatever you might call them they’re cute (hard work) but cute! 

Getting outside with young children is something I care very deeply about, immersing them in nature and all it has to offer from a young age, there is so much to see and do. However when it comes to younger babies (I’m talking under 1 years) often we feel that it might be too cold, too windy or unsafe for them to explore the great outdoors. Over my years as a nursery practitioner, nanny and family support practitioner I have experimented with many ways to do just this and want to share my passion with you. So here are 5 easy ways we can rewild out babes 👶🏼  

1. Nature mobiles, babies from birth are fascinated by moving objects, shapes and pattern. Nature is full of so many of these. I love to take our play gym into the garden and find seasonal items to hang from it. Pine cones, leaves, flowers or even feathers have adorned our gym! We love to lay outside and watch as the breeze moves them. If you don’t have a play gym then an old branch and some string is a perfect alternative! Just like here I added DrawMe wooden shapes to our feather mobile 
 

2. Bring nature inside - if it’s super unsettled outside or pouring with rain it might not be the most fun experience so I where possible try to bring nature inside to our activities. Dried petals, pine cones, seeds or twigs make beautiful sensory bottles and are safe for even teeny ones to explore. 

 

3. Nature walks, for this you need nothing at all! Just you your babe and pushchair, sling or our arms. Mother Nature provides us with such an enriching sensory experience sometimes keeping it simple is all the resources you need. Your baby will love being close to you, watching the contrasting colours and shapes of trees, branches and birds against the sky. If you’re feeling adventurous why not pull out a blanket and lay for a while. Feel the grass on your toes drink in the fresh air - amazing how good this is for the soul! 
4. As baby starts to get older and explores the world independently you can really start to experiment with textures and sensory play. You’re usual play time can be given a whole new lease of life by taking it outside. Something as simple as taking puppets, books or instruments might change the way your child interacts and experiences them. Water play is the easiest and most versatile of sensory play. I love making saltless playdough using natural dyes such as mud, dandelions, blackberries or whatever I can find that ties in with the season. Using twig rolling pins and leaves to print into the dough. 

My saltless recipe is not only taste safe (although probably quite yummy) it’s also safe for wildlife should any land on the floor 

1 cup of plain flour 

1 tablespoon of veg oil 

1/2 cup of hot water 

Mix together slowly to form a dough, you may not need all of the water. Then knead well. As there is no salt in this dough to preserve it, it may only last a week max in the fridge 

Here is my honey and oat saltless dough with drawme bee board and colourme bug crayons 

5. Last but not least - sleep! Nordic naps are a regular and quite normal occurrence in Scandinavian countries. Babies and toddlers are often bundled up to have their naps outside in the elements. This is something we can replicate easily here too! Dress for the weather (stay cosy) and maybe take your little one for a walk for their nap time. Or with supervision of course why not pop their moses basket or crib outside whilst you enjoy a hot cuppa and make a page or two of a book or scroll of the gram. Fresh air can help with deeper and more restful sleep. So take those well deserved 5 mins and drink in some nature mama/dada you earned it!

Something I’m always asked about is or a response I’m always faced with is “its too cold/too wet/too hot” 

Most of the time my mantra of “no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing” comes into play with our delicate babies we need to take a safer approach. I always recommend layers, baby should usually wear one more layer than you. Don’t forget a hat in cold weather and if you’re uncomfortable then chances are your babe is too, same goes for hot weather, stay hydrated and always wear sun protection. Follow your instinct and go with the flow! 

Always remember you know your babies best, stay safe, explore and be wild 💚 

By Katie Hilton @the_play_adventures_