This post is sponsored by ZonePerfect. As always, all opinions are my own!
If you love being outside and exploring, you may be hesitant to bring your young infants or toddlers along for the adventure. Here?are some tips to help hiking with a toddler or little one be a stress free experience.?
When we moved to Arizona, we knew we wanted to incorporate more of an outdoor lifestyle into our lives. With 8-9 months of beautiful weather during the year, it’s hard not to want to get outside and be active. Neither Steven or I have ever been big into running or anything like that, but we both have started to enjoy hiking and exploring outside more now that we have the beautiful landscape of the southwest at our finger tips.
Some people are hesitant to bring young kids (especially infants) outside or on hikes or big day trips. I totally get that. But what I’ve learned with Greyson is that he absolutely loves being outside. They say that?being outside is one of the best playgrounds and watching Greyson’s face light up every time we go outside (even if it’s just the backyard) is enough proof for me. The first time we took Greyson on a hike was when he was barely four weeks old over Thanksgiving break. Truthfully, I think we would have taken him out sooner had my postpartum body been ready for an adventure sooner. Obviously he didn’t quite get the excitement during his first hike, but he has loved our outdoor adventures ever since.
Pretty much every day he points outside and “tells us” that he wants to go outside. It’s gotten to the point now that if we don’t, a little toddler tantrum occurs. So clearly, he loves being outside!
These outdoor adventures are the perfect way to let Greyson learn and explore and it’s also the perfect excuse to break up our everyday monotony and do something a little different.
There are a few things I’ve learned over the past 14 months about taking little ones on outdoor adventures- some due to our mistakes along the way! Here are some tips for having stress-less outdoor adventures with your infant or toddler.
Be Prepared & Do Your Research
This really is the key to having stress free adventures. Knowing what to expect before you go to a place is really so important. This will help you know whether the outdoor location you’re going to is stroller friendly or you’ll need a baby carrier, how close restrooms are to be able to change a diaper, whether there is any place to sit in shade to nurse a baby, etc. You can always search for the location online to find tips but one of my other favorite things to do is to search the location on Instagram. This will let you see pretty accurately what the conditions are currently based on recent photos people have shared of the location.
Pack the Essentials
By doing your research ahead of time, you’ll know exactly what to bring. You can also bring a few extras, but especially if you are carrying a backpack with you, don’t pack?too much. You can always pack a few extra for the car, but only bring with you what you know you’ll need.
Always Bring Snacks
Too often I’ve run into situations where I’m starving or Greyson needs a snack and we are without one. Before Greyson was eating solids, it was super easy to go out and about because I knew I could just breastfeed him anytime he got hungry. I certainly can still do the same thing now even though he’s older, but because he can feed himself independently, it’s nice to keep snacks like rice cakes or fruit on hand for him.
It’s also important to remember to bring something for the adults, too! Even if there is no where to sit and eat a lunch, packing a protein bar is the perfect way to make sure you have a nutrient dense snack for any adults on your adventure. My favorite lately have been?Fudge Graham ZonePerfect Nutrition bars! They’re great to keep in the diaper bag for when you’re out running errands or headed outside for an adventure. They have 17 to 19 vitamins and minerals with 170 to 210 calories and 10 to 15 grams of protein per serving, which makes them the perfect snack to keep you satisfied.
Even if you don’t live in Arizona, staying hydrated while you’re outside is so important. Even if it’s cold outside, you need to be drinking plenty of water. Something we have learned is to always bring enough water to carry with you on your hike or outing, but to also leave some in the car for when you get back. If it’s summertime, pack a cooler with ice to keep your drinks cool.
Be sure to bring water for your little ones too and in a cup they can use themselves, if possible.
Let Them Be Little
Regardless of if your kiddo is in a stroller, baby carrier, walking or being held, take some time to let them explore with their hands. They will easily be entertained just looking around, but it’s so fun to watch them learn by experiencing nature. Greyson loves to feel tree branches brushing their leaves over his head, or the rocks under his feet, or the feeling of tree bark.
Don’t be afraid to let them get a?little dirty by exploring. It’s good for their immune systems and it’s good for their learning and development! Plus, it’s one of the world’s cheapest forms of education 😉