Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Fun Outdoor Activities for You and Baby

My family and I live in northern Wisconsin, and no matter what the season is, there are always many fun outdoor activities for me and my young son to participate in. I believe that children and adults need a lot of fresh air and sunlight to grow up strong and stay healthy. Some outdoor activities can be dangerous and not suited for toddlers and young children, but there are many that are fun and exciting.

My two year old son loves to go to my parent's house in the summer and jump on their huge trampoline. Although this could be a dangerous sport, my parents bought a cage that completely wraps around the trampoline and makes it virtually impossible for any child to fall out or off of it. My son has been playing on the trampoline since he was about six months old, and he loves it. Remember, if you buy a trampoline or allow your young toddler or baby to play on one, only do so if it has a cage around it. A large trampoline is very high off of the ground, and if your child fell off of it, it could result in a broken or fractured bone, or much worse even. Another thing to watch out for on a trampoline is the springs that hold the bouncing mat to the frame. A child can get his fingers or skin caught in the springs and it may result in broken bones or cuts.

Another activity my son loves in the summer is swimming. Around Wisconsin, we have many lakes, rivers and streams that are great for swimming. If you decide to take your child swimming, make sure he knows the rules and always keeps on a life jacket or other floatation device. It is a good idea to swim with your child until you are sure that he is a strong enough swimmer on his own. If you take your child in a river, never let him go if there is a current or an undertow. Only take your child in spots on rivers that are marked safe to swim in. The bathtub is a great place to practice swimming techniques with your child such as holding his breath, kicking his arms and legs, and floating on his back. Swimming is great exercise and great fun for the whole family. If your child does not like the water at first, sit with him on the beach and let him play in the sand and get used to the water by walking in the shallow water. Soon enough, your child will think that he or she is a fish!

My favorite outdoor activity is taking my son to the park. My husband and I love to pack a picnic and go to the park for the afternoon. If you take your child to the park, let him know ahead of time that he may have to take turns on the equipment. Do not be scared to join your child in the fun! Even if it has been a few years since you went down a slide, you will remember how much fun it really is! If the park is divided into two different sections, such as one for toddlers and younger children, and a section for older children, make sure that your toddler or young baby stays in the toddler section. Older children can be rambunctious and a little wild at times, and even if they do not mean to, they can end up running over small children or stepping on them. It is best if you keep your young child on the smaller equipment.

My husband loves to take my son for walks by the rivers and waterfalls that are near our house. It gives them a chance to spend some time together, and to get some fresh air and exercise. If you decide to take your toddler for a walk, make sure that you keep him a safe distance from large rocks and water that can be dangerous. You might want to think about putting your child in a pack on your back that is made for hiking with young children. This will ensure your child's safety.

The most important thing about safe outdoor activities is having fun with your children. Always make sure that you have enough sunscreen to keep your child from getting sunburned. Also, dress your child for the weather. This will ensure that you have a happy child, and a great time!

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