Chances are, you’ve never truly experienced cabin fever until you’ve spent a winter indoors with a newborn. But now that fewer layers are in order, it’s easier to get outside on a regular basis.
Getting outdoors benefits both babies and moms; fresh air and exercise can do wonders for post-partum mental and physical health, as well as provide much-needed Vitamin D (for you!) and sensory input for your little one. But before you head out make sure you brush up on sun safety for baby and you.
Okay, grab your hat and sunscreen, here are some ideas to get you started:
Stroll and fit boot camps. Most urban centres have countless different fitness groups for moms. Classes usually involve strolling at a fast pace with your child, or parking your stroller in a safe location while you work on weight resistance and strength training nearby. Many of these camps also incorporate the babies into their routines, which can be fun bonding time.
Exploring city parks. You’ve never truly seen your city until you’ve seen it through the eyes of a child. City parks offer unexpected surprises for both parents and children; in Toronto, for example, High Park is home to a small zoo, while Toronto Island features a Franklin-themed children’s garden.
Visiting provincial parks and conservation areas. Summer is the perfect excuse to make that day trip out of town. Point out the sights and sounds to your little one as you walk the trails, including birds singing, squirrels chirping and wind rustling through the trees. Just check out the wagon and stroller friendly Bow Valley Provincial Park in Alberta.
Have a picnic. You’ve gotta eat, right? So why not do it outdoors? Find a shady spot, spread out a picnic blanket, and set up your baby for tummy time. Don’t forget to pack your baby’s favourite stuffie, toys and a few books.
Swing time. While much of the playground equipment might be out of reach, the swings are fair play. As your baby gets old enough to support his or her own head, head to your local park for a gentle push on the bucket swings.
Head to the local splash park or wading pool. Get ready to get wet! Even if your child isn’t old enough to participate in the fun yet (the water at splash parks tends to be on the chilly side), it’s a great sensory experience and may allow you to connect with other moms who live in your neighbourhood.
Infant swimming lessons. You can start teaching your child to swim well before they learn how to walk, which gives them a sense of empowerment and freedom. Many outdoor public swimming pools offer lessons for moms and tots, which is the perfect opportunity to cool off just as it starts to get hot.
Coordinate an outdoor playdate. Sure, you could meet for coffee—or you could schedule a playdate in the park, your backyard or anywhere outdoors. (Don’t forget to pack the baby-friendly sunscreen!)
Check out an outdoor music festival. The good news is that becoming a parent doesn’t mean restricting your concerts to the Wiggles. Many music festivals are becoming increasingly family-friendly and baby headphones are easy to buy. At Toronto’s Annual Field Trip Festival, for examples, there’s a special kid zone (the “day camp) with activities and performers like Sharon & Bram. Calgary Music Folk Festival also has a family area with plenty of room for naps under trees. The Montreal International Jazz Festival just added a “Kids Zone” new this year!