Summer can be both hard and enjoyable with a baby. You want to play and introduce them to new things, but you also have to be careful about the heat, sunburns, and water safety. Some days all you may feel like doing is staying inside in the air conditioning. But it’s good for you and your baby to get out and experience the outdoors this summer.
From your backyard to the state fair, here are 12 ideas to add to your baby’s summer bucket list. Some of these summer activities for babies may or may not work right now, depending on your baby’s age, but there should be at least a handful you can do.
Summer Activities for Babies at Home
Splash around in an inflatable baby pool.
If you’re not ready to enroll your baby in a swim class or take on the crowds of a public pool, get an inflatable kiddie pool for your backyard. They’ve got all kinds to choose from, like inflatable ring pools, shaded baby pools, and pool play centers with a slide. Whether you spend $5 or $40, it’ll be money well spent for your baby boy to keep cool all summer long.
Convert a baby pool into a baby water ball pit.
Use your baby pool and fill it with water and balls. It’s a great way to keep your baby cool, whether she’s sitting inside the water or getting herself wet as she plays with the balls and water outside of it. It’s also a good infant summer activity if your baby is able to sit up by herself because it strengthens her muscles and lets her work on her hand-eye coordination. Plus it’s fun and free entertainment.
Play in a water table.
A water table is a must-have summer item for parents. Kids splash around and play in the water while working on their fine motor skills and imagination. While little ones are known to have very short attention spans, one thing I’ve learned as a mom of two little ones is that a water table can keep kids entertained outside for at least 15-30 minutes (usually longer). To new parents that may not seem like a long time, but you’ll learn it is. It’s enough time to check a few emails or whip up something for lunch. Just remember to keep an eye on your child while he plays with his water table.
Another fun thing to do with a baby in the summer is blowing bubbles. Get store-bought bubbles that come with different-sized wands, or buy a big container of bubbles, pour the bubbles into a wide-mouthed container, and use different kitchen utensils, like a slotted spoon and spatula, as your wands to make bubbles from. Easy and cheap, it’s sure to mesmerize your little girl for hours.
Paint with edible finger paint.
Let your son safely explore his artistic ability with edible finger paint. You can look up edible finger paint recipes online or just mix food coloring with yogurt. Lay out some towels on your driveway or back patio, set your baby down with some paper and paint, and watch his inner Picasso come out. This messy sensory play will give you his first piece of art.
Summer Activities for Babies Away From Home
Take a field trip to the zoo or aquarium.
Does your baby love to read Giraffes Can’t Dance or The Pout-Pout Fish? Bring her favorite animals to life by taking her to the zoo or aquarium. Spend an hour or the whole afternoon there. Either way, your child will love seeing the different animals in person. Not to mention it gives you a chance to get out of the house—without being in the heat—and lets someone else entertain your kid for a while.
Take a morning walk and have a picnic.
Grab a blanket and some snacks and put your baby in his stroller. Walk around your neighborhood or to a nearby park. Find a flat area under a shade tree, lay your blanket down, and have a picnic with your favorite boy. Eat, have tummy time, read a book, people watch, and just enjoy being outside before the afternoon heat hits.
Sign up for infant swim lessons.
Some parents choose to start infant swim lessons around 6 months old. Your baby isn’t going to learn the breaststroke anytime soon, but it will give her a chance to get comfortable in the water and maybe learn to kick and paddle. It will also build her motor skills and set a foundation for water safety. Infant swim lessons should be short and fun for your baby. Make sure to find a place and program that is clean and safe, that promotes fun and learning, and that you feel comfortable using.
Go to a pool or splash pad.
Pools and splash pads scream summer—that’s why they’re almost always busy. It shouldn’t be hard to find one near you that’s baby-friendly. Some parents prefer splash pads or splash parks because they’re an easy and sometimes safer alternative to pools. But either place you go, it’s your responsibility as the parent to ensure your child’s safety.
As far as when you should take your baby to the pool, it’s ultimately up to you when you feel he is ready. Some experts recommend waiting until your baby has good head and neck control, like around 6 months old. Before this age, babies can also have trouble regulating their own temperature. So keep that in mind.
Stop by a local farmer’s market.
Fresh produce for you and a chance to touch new textures and learn colors—it’s a win-win stop for you and your baby. As you stock up on yummy foods, show your child the fruits and veggies and let her feel each one. She’ll love exploring the farmer’s market just as much as you.
Hike with mom and dad.
Going on a hike with mom and dad can be a great summer bonding experience for your little family and for your little one with nature. But babywearing in summer, it’s too hot for that, right? It’s not if you take the right precautions while hiking and babywearing in the heat, like dressing in lightweight clothes, staying in the shade or making baby her own shade, and fanning or spritzing water on yourselves. You should also get a reliable baby carrier and not hike during the hottest part of the day.
Visit the state fair.
Barnyard animals. Games. Food. Concerts and other shows. There is so much to see and do at a state fair. You might not even have to spend any money once you’re inside. Your baby may be completely content riding around in his stroller or inside his baby carrier checking out all the new sights, sounds, and smells that state fairs can offer.