When you take your baby outside and describe what is happening around them, you are helping them orient to the world. You are also building vocabulary by teaching words for the things they see (e.g. blue sky, yellow flowers, green grass).
Here are some ways to build language outside:
- This is a great time to introduce weather and time concepts (e.g. “it’s sunny out, it’s daytime!” or “look it’s cloudy today!”).
- If it’s too hot, rainy, or snowy to go outside, bring baby to a window and describe what she is seeing outside. As she gets older, let her point out things that interest her and ask questions about what she sees. My kids love to run to the window to when they hear the garbage truck pull up to our house. We talk about what the truck looks like, what it is doing, and where it is bringing the garbage.
Play on the Grass
- Place a soft blanket on the grass and watch he experiences his surroundings outdoors.
- Let baby explore through his senses and tell him the names of things that seem interesting to him.
- Alternate between talking to baby about his surroundings and watching baby as he explores his environment.
- Being outside is often calming for babies and when babies are calm, they can truly enjoy their surroundings.
Go for a “Talk Walk”
•When you take baby on a walk, make it a “talk walk.” Going for a walk brings new opportunities for learning that continually change. New sights and sounds lead to lots of learning moments. Narrate about what baby is experiencing and describe the things in her environment. Narrating to baby about the world helps her brain make connections about what she is experiencing when she is outside.
Expand Background Knowledge About Nature
• At home, you can expand on the topic of nature and the outdoors by talking about, singing songs about, or reading books that relate to what you saw outside.
• Providing babies with multiple exposures to a topic across different contexts helps them to understand the concept on a deeper level.
• Nature related concepts to expand upon: trees, flowers, plants, birds, butterflies, sky, clouds, bug, bee, animals (and other cool things you encounter like cars, garbage truck, airplanes, people).