We’ve all heard the saying that ‘fresh air is good for you’ – and it’s true, especially for babies! Exposure to sunlight plays an important role in how we secrete melatonin (the ‘sleep’ hormone) which can help regulate sleep-wake cycles and establish your baby’s circadian rhythms more quickly. Here at WeeSleep, we’re huge advocates of getting outside, moving your body, and making sure your baby has enough stimulation and activity to build necessary sleep pressure.
Below is our ultimate summer must-have list which includes everything you need to get your baby outside easily and safely – and keep them entertained! You can find our favourite products on our Amazon store, here if you’re in Canada and here if you’re in the USA.
Before getting outside, it’s important to ensure your baby is dressed appropriately and their skin is protected. Babies can’t cool off the way we do because their sweat glands take some time to develop so if it’s hot outside, we suggest you avoid direct sun exposure.
A few items you’ll want to have on-hand are:
- A good sun hat – be sure to look for one that covers their face, ears, neck, and bonus points if it actually stays on!
- Sunscreen – the FDA doesn’t suggest sunscreen for babies 6 months and under so if that’s your baby, be sure to keep them in the shade and have them wear light layers. If your baby is older than 6 months old, we always opt for reef-friendly products.
- Sunglasses – we know, we know. Most babies don’t love wearing sunglasses, but kids’ eyes need protecting – even more so than adults – because their eyes don’t cope with UV radiation as well as ours do. To get your baby used to wearing sunglasses, we suggest choosing a pair with a strap.
- Swim diapers – if you’re going to be swimming with your baby, you’ll want to grab some swim diapers. They are designed to contain solids while allowing liquids to pass freely through – meaning they don’t puff up and get super heavy like a regular diaper would when soaking wet.
- Protective footwear – is there anything cuter than chubby baby feet in a pair of sandals? While we’re all for stylish footwear, it’s more important that your baby’s feet are protected. Keep an eye out for sandals that protect their toes, keep their feet cool, can be easily washed and dry quickly when wet.
- A durable, insulated water bottle – Look for an outdoor water bottle that can stand the test of time and being thrown from a stroller or pushed down the slide at a park. You’ll also want to look for one that’s easy to clean and keeps water cold for a long period of time.
- Snack cups – if your little one isn’t crawling or walking yet, we love taking a blanket, some toys and snacks to the park and finding a shady tree to sit under. Having a snack and playing with their toys outside, in a new environment, provides great stimulation for babies.
- Popsicle molds – popsicles are such a fun summer treat. They’re sticky, which makes them perfect to enjoy outside, while in a kiddie pool. We love making our own popsicles out of puree using a silicone mould. These are also great for teething babies who want something cold to rub on their gums.
Summer outdoor supplies
Depending on the age of your baby, you’ll want to grab a few items to make outdoor play easy, safe, and comfy.
Some of our favourites include:
- A lined blanket – a lined blanket is great for damp grass and folds up easily to bring to a park, an older sibling’s soccer game or the beach. They can also be easily washed and fold up small enough to store under your stroller. We suggest keeping one of these in the trunk of your car during the summer months for impromptu adventures.
- A pop-up tent – UV tents are great for little ones who can’t wear sunscreen yet and are also great for older babies who need a shady spot for a break from the sun. Some even double as a little kiddie pool or play yard.
- Stroller fan – if you’re headed out for a walk on a warm day, we suggest picking up a clip-on, chargeable stroller fan. It can also be clipped onto a car seat or wagon if needed.
Fun in the sun
So, you’ve gotten your little one out the door, but how do you keep them engaged? Below is our list of must-have summer fun items sure to keep your baby happy, outside.
- Water table
Water tables stand the test of time. If you purchase a good quality water table when your baby is small, we promise they’ll still love it as a toddler. The water table is great because it really does grow with your child. As a baby, it’ll encourage them to stand and cruise. As a toddler, it’s great for pretend play and is a ton of fun to splash around with.
- Bubble machine
We’ve all seen the memes about babies and toddlers and bubbles- they’re out there because they’re true. Babies and toddlers love them, but they can be sticky and messy… enter the bubble machine. We love putting on some music, turning on this bubble machine and watching our little ones wander around the yard, trying to pop and grab the bubbles. They’re also great to bring for play dates, to the cottage, or to the park – just be sure to always have extra bubble solution on hand.
- Push car or trike
If your baby is a little bit older, we suggest a push car or trike. It’ll make your walks around the neighbourhood more exciting. If you choose to invest in a push trike, make sure it’s convertible – meaning, it can start out as a push trike (where you control the steering and speed) but can change into a trike as they get older and know how to pedal and steer.
Balls are a hit for children of all ages. When they’re young, you can practise rolling the ball back and forth and when they get older, you can move over to kicking and throwing the ball. For babies, be sure to choose balls that are easy to hold and have different textures on them, to hold their interest.
- Baby swing
If you’ve got somewhere to install it, a swing is a great addition to your yard. Babies love the soothing back and forth motion and it gives them a chance to take in their surroundings from a different angle. When choosing one, be sure to double check the weight limit.
- Baby splash mat
A splash mat is a fun way to keep your baby cool and allow them to play with water, without having to be submerged in it. When choosing one, be sure to look at the water pressure and where the water comes out of the mat to ensure it’s gentle enough for your little one.
A slide is a simple toy, but it offers so much. Besides giving your little one a fun ride, it also helps develop balance and coordination. Be sure to choose a slide that’s low to the ground and safe for your little one. Bonus points if it’s also a little climber.
If you’re interested in purchasing some of these items, but are overwhelmed with the options available, you can find our favourite products on our Amazon store, here if you’re in Canada and here if you’re in the USA.