Thigpen offers these inexpensive ideas for caregivers and parents who want to create a more "outdoor friendly" environment for young children:
- Create outdoor areas for diaper-changing, feeding and relaxing so play is minimally affected by these interruptions.
- Kids can’t get enough of sand and water activities!
- Provide a natural habitat with butterfly-attracting plants and bird feeders to give children a firsthand experience with the natural world.
- Hang wind chimes or mobiles to provide visual and auditory interest.
- Provide safe spots for crawling, such as grass or a vinyl or wood composite surface.
- Rocking, pushing and riding wheel toys are a great way for kids to use their large motor skills.
- Consider play areas that include gently-sloping non-metal slides, short tunnels, peek-a-boo places and sturdy ledges or railings about 14-16 inches high for babies to pull themselves up.
For a list of outdoor and kids’ games and more information about outdoor play, visit http://www.wcif.org/ and click on "Kids’ Play."