Outdoor Playdate Ideas Made Easy
Outdoor playdate ideas… how do we find the perfect balance between social distancing and letting your little one socialise with their friends? We know the importance of staying safe, and stopping the spread of the virus, but we also recognise that these early years are so importance for our little ones to grow and develop. And that includes developing their social skills. So for now, outdoor playdates are the order du jour!
If, like us, you’re on the lookout for ways to keep the little ones entertained whilst you enjoy a coffee in the backyard, here are a few activities that babies and toddlers can enjoy safely outside with friends. We’ve also got a few handy accessories that will help you make the most of your DockATot docks outside.
Where better to get stuck into some sensory play than in your backyard? Keep the mess out of the house! A tray of rice and some metal utensils will keep older babies fascinated for ages. Help toddlers thread pasta onto string to practice their fine motor skills. If you have the time, dyed rice and pasta are incredibly easy to make - all you need is food colouring and a bit of white vinegar.
For smaller babies, put together a simple treasure basket and let them lie comfortably in their dock outside as they explore the different colours and textures. You don’t need to make anything fancy. Pine cones, wooden spoons, colourful paper, bangles - anything like this offers them new shapes and textures to discover. Just be mindful of choking hazards.
On sunny days, little babies can join the fun outdoors whilst keeping sheltered from the elements with a cabana kit. Protect their delicate eyes and skin with the kit’s 50+ SPF shade and keep your Deluxe+ dock clean with the waterproof base protector.
It just takes five minutes to set-up a little scavenger hunt before your playdate starts and it’s one of those outdoor playdate ideas that preschoolers just love! Draw some pictures of objects and creatures they might find outside - a leaf, a stone, a flower, a butterfly etc. - and little boxes for them to tick them off once they find them. If art isn’t your forte, you can find plenty of free scavenger hunt printables online to use.
In a similar vein to a scavenger hunt, little ones love a backyard safari - from the youngest toddlers, up to elementary school-age. Hide a few stuffed animals around the garden (make it obvious if they’re really young) and hand them a pair of toy binoculars to see what they can find on safari. If they’re of an age where they’re interested in mark making you could encourage them to tick off animals they find on a chart - a good test of your drawing skills too!
Teddy Bear’s Picnic
Before your playdate arrives, set up a few dolls and teddies on a blanket in the garden with some toy food and plates. It’s so magical for little ones to discover all their teddies have ventured outside for a picnic! Move play tents and cushions outside to extend the play and really spark your child’s imagination.
Bubbles - the simplest of outdoor playdate ideas.
Always a crowd-pleaser, bubbles provide hours of fun for babies and toddlers. They’re also great for helping babies develop visual tracking skills, gross motor movement (as they move their head to follow the bubbles or crawl after them) and fine motor skills (as they try to grasp the wand for themselves). Blowing bubbles onto a shallow tray of water in front of your baby can also add a whole new dimension of fun to tummy time.
Give yourself a pat on the back - you’re keeping them entertained and encouraging their development!
Playdates On The Go
We find it so useful to take a dock out and about with you to give baby a place to settle whilst you attend to older children or drink a warm cup of coffee. And as we spend more time outside, we’re always looking for ways to make your life simpler.
Our On The Go collection offers practical solutions and accessories that make life out and about with a baby that bit easier. Keep your dock clean and dry with a water resistant base protector; use the Getaway Tote to transport your dock around with ease; and keep all your nappy-changing essentials close to hand with DockATot’s all-in-one portable clutch changer.