Outdoor relaxation activities
Activities for toddlers and babies
Outdoor play doesn't always have to rhyme with gross motor skills. Create relaxing moments by offering calm activities that can be enjoyed outside with babies and toddlers.
Prepare exploration bins that encourage relaxation and can easily be carried outside. These bins can be used during transition periods, after physical activities to help children unwind, as children arrive in the morning, or at the end of the day, right before parents arrive.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Take advantage of snack time or lunch time to relax with your group. You can enjoy picnics under a tree, use cardboard boxes to represent tables, set beach towels on the ground to create an individual space for each child, sit on your parachute (tablecloth), or go to the playground.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
My decorated tree
Hang a variety of items from the branches of a tree in your yard. Set blankets under the tree along with oversized cushions. Invite babies and toddlers to lie down under the tree to admire the hanging items. Be sure to change the items often. Here are a few suggestions:
- Multicoloured balloons (or balloons of a single color at a time).
- Party streamers.
- Light scarves.
- Pieces of pretty ribbon.
- Paper plates that children drew on.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (listen)
The delicate sound of wind chimes
Purchase several different wind chimes that produce a variety of high and low-pitched sounds. Hang the wind chimes in different areas (supervision required): from tree branches, under an umbrella, on a swing, etc. Place young babies on their back, under the wind chimes. If you wish, you can also hold one wind chime at a time in your hands, placing it over each child's head. Encourage little ones to look up at it and help them associate the sound with the wind chime.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Music and crafts
Have fun drawing or painting outdoors with babies and toddlers. Play soft music and let children express themselves through their artwork. Encourage them to pay attention to the music's rhythm.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
An outdoor massage
Massages are often associated with calm feelings. Set several comfortable blankets on the grass in your yard and sit on them with your group. Offer to massage children one by one. You can use lavender oil to massage their tiny feet or, if you prefer, scented lotion (beware of allergies).
Exploring scents that are present outdoors can help children relax. Deposit freshly cut grass or fragrant flowers (such as lilacs) in a small opaque box or container. Punch a hole in the lid and encourage children to smell the contents of the box and try to guess what is inside. You can let very young children peak through the hole. Open the box to let them discover the item and name it. Repeat the activity, adding a second box containing another scented item.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
It's drizzling (water game)
In big-box stores, you can easily find water toys that can be connected to your hose to produce a soft sprinkle of water. Children will enjoy the gentle sensation of water touching their skin. Hang the water toy on your fence, a wall, or your clothesline. Let babies and toddlers run or crawl under the water.
My outdoor library
Transform your yard to create an extra special reading corner by depositing books here and there. Set a small tent in one corner. In another corner, deposit several cushions. Hang your parachute or blankets in another corner to create shade. Add books that you have borrowed from the library, books you already have, and a few recently purchased books in each area.
Happy outdoor exploration and relaxation!
Early childhood educator
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