While using a play yard is always a fantastic tool, giving your little one a bit more free-range outside is a nice change of pace. Here are some suggestions to stay cool, have fun, and most importantly the tips to contain a mobile baby outside.
1. Use a Creative Activity to Maintain Focus
It’s hard to spend time outside when you’re constantly chasing after tiny people. Especially tiny people who like to bolt in the opposite direction at a moment’s notice. One tip to contain a mobile baby to one spot outside is to earn and keep their undivided attention.
For my toddler, rotating outdoor “activity stations” really helps. By bringing out activities, like our slide, water table, and bubble machine, one toy at a time, she stays at each station far longer than I expect her to. While your little one is focused on the task at hand, they’re less likely to spontaneously venture out due to boredom.
2. Set Up a Portable Baby Pool
As soon as the temperature starts to rise above 85 degrees, it’s time to find some relief from the heat. While we have an in-ground swimming pool in our backyard, the water is usually still too cold for swimming when we’re ready to jump in by April (we live in Texas so it gets hot early in the year). Enter baby pool!
Part play yard, part pool, Target’s Minnidip Pool is an adorable alternative to the real thing. When you put a small amount of water in this Instagram-worthy pool, it warms up quickly and it’s easy to put toys inside without worrying about them sinking four feet below.
I also love the portability, so I can move it around our yard or take it to her grandparents’ house over the weekend. Also, while the baby is thrilled to splash around in the water, Mom and Dad aren’t always keen to jump in during the middle of a busy day. Baby pools allow babies to splash while parents can actively supervise from the dry ground.
Tip: after applying SPF, set up the pool in a covered or shaded area to protect the baby’s skin from harmful sun rays. If coverage is hard to find in your yard, strategically prop a large, open umbrella to create a shaded, cool spot while he or she splashes around. Lastly, remember to use bug spray as standing water attracts dreaded mosquitoes.
3. Sign Up for a Group Activity or Class
My daughter is almost 18 months old. Despite her young age, I’m blown away by her ability to follow directions and participate in a lengthy activity when we’re in a group setting (if we’re at home, forget about it).
This summer we’re going to try Tinkergarten! It is a nationwide program consisting of community classes where kids learn through play. Each class is a tight-knit group of children and adults who learn together through well-designed, outdoor play-based activities. I look forward to seeing the world through her eyes.
I hope these tips to contain a mobile baby are helpful as you and your family spend time outside. If you have any tips of your own, please feel free to share!
Katie McCall is a lifestyle portrait photographer, content strategist, and producer based in San Antonio, Texas. When she isn’t behind a camera or laptop, she's exploring the world with her husband, darling one-year-old daughter and tiny pup. If you’d like, please follow their adventures on Instagram (@hersideproject)!