Finding activities for toddlers can be tough, and that’s before you even begin to consider any potential risks or threats to their safety. For this reason, playing outside can be a daunting prospect for many parents – but that doesn’t mean you should avoid outdoor activities for toddlers altogether. Children love to explore and this curiosity is important to their development and relationship with the world around them. Here we help you to childproof your garden and ensure your child is safe and happy in the great outdoors.
Create a safe environment
As with one most things in life, preparation is key. Be sure all outdoor play areas and electrical appliances are properly contained, installing childproof latches and checking any fences, gates and outside doors to ensure they are properly secure. Cover up any pools or ponds and remove any sharp tools or chemicals, such as plant fertiliser, which may be lying around the garden. When camping or spending prolonged time outdoors, remember that young children will be the most sensitive to cold and harsh conditions. Always carry extra blankets and snacks to keep them warm and well-fed, choosing a high quality tent and covered stroller to ensure they are comfortable and well-cared for at all times.
Dress for the weather
After you’ve child-proofed your garden or outdoor space, you’ll now need to weather-proof your child. Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin 30 minutes before you head out, choosing a water-resistant spray with an SPF of at least 15. Add sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to further shield their face and neck from the sun, dressing your toddler in long-sleeved, unbleached cotton clothing to keep them cool, comfortable, and protected. Raining outside? Give your kids the freedom to splash around in a waterproof raincoat, rain pants, and wellies. A tot-size umbrella is also a fun way to keep your child sheltered from the rain, just be sure to choose one with an easy-grip handle and covered spikes.
Children develop at staggering – and very different – rates. When organising group games or activities it’s important to always consider the weakest member of the group – whether that be the oldest, youngest or both – to ensure that it is appropriate to their age and ability level. Playing games such as hide-and-seek and tag are toddler-friendly and fun to play, while obstacle courses are a great activity for involving children of all ages.
Last (but by no means least!) – supervise. Children can injure themselves in the blink of an eye so knowing where your toddler is at all times is important, not only to protect them from any potential hazards but so that you are ready to intervene if they make an unsafe choice while playing. Lead by example, making responsible decisions about where you go and what are appropriate activities for toddlers to be exposed to. This is particularly important near water. Never allow your child near or in the water without you or another adult accompanying him or her, and always hold their hand tightly when out and about in public.