Have you been home too long and are looking for fun outings with your baby or toddler?
Sometimes you just need to get out and have a mommy-baby date am I right?!
For new moms, going out can feel a bit stressful, even for not-so-new moms. Your baby changes at every stage which means you have to adjust the things you pack for outings and the things you do with your baby. Living abroad we don’t own a car so going on outings with our baby has to be planned around public transportation which means I have to prepare more. No car to leave things in. No car to feed our baby in.
Still, it’s worth it because as much as our baby feels happy and peaceful at home, she loves to go out too. Outings are great for babies: fresh air, new things to look at, and lots of stimulation.
In this post, I will share some baby outing ideas and a few tips along the way to make things easier. Of course, what you need will vary by age. As you get used to taking your baby out more you will know how to pack for it.
Best Outings For Babies That Are Easy. Toddlers too!
1. Cafe or Restaurant
This can be a great option when you want to get out for a meal or a warm drink. Look for a location that is family-friendly. Family-friendly does not mean it has to be somewhere with a play center. Cafes that have a nice outdoor space to sit are great. You can pull your stroller up next to the table. If your baby is younger, be sure to feed before you go so your baby is comfortable and relaxed. If your baby is eating solids, pack something or go to a restaurant that has something you can order for your baby.
I like to get plates with vegetables and share those with our baby girl. Also, be sure you change to a dry diaper before you head out.
You will need your normal diaper bag items plus possibly a few more food-related items.
What You Need for a Baby And Me Cafe Date
Here are some extra things to consider packing for a baby and me cafe date:
- Portable high chair
- Silicone mat
- Food if needed
- Baby friendly utensils
- Bibs, long sleeve
- Extra toys- something new or not used in a while
Some cafes have highchairs available but others don’t so if you can carry a portable one it’s a good idea. Living abroad, I need to travel lighter so I don’t carry one. I use a highchair when available or hold our daughter in my lap. I have found that many of the highchairs at the restaurants where I live do not have a belt or good protection. That is something to think about too. I pack a scarf in her diaper bag that I use to safely tie her into chairs with no belt. You could also try a travel harness seat.
If your baby is eating solids, a silicone mat can make cleaning up after your baby easier and can make you feel more at ease that you are not leaving an excessive mess.
A small fan is great if the weather is warm. Hats and a coat if the weather is chill. But don’t be afraid to enjoy the outdoors even when the weather is not perfect.
Be prepared for Mood Changes
A baby’s mood can change quickly and they do get bored if things go on too long so a good tip is to look at the menu online ahead of time so you are ready to order. You can get your food quickly and eat while the baby still feels relaxed. If your baby does get a little fussy sometimes just a quick walk around the cafe or restaurant can work to calm them down. Look at the art, a fountain if they have one, etc. If you have toys that hook to the chair that helps too.
If it feels too overwhelming to go by yourself, take someone with you the first few times. Your spouse, a baby-loving friend, or one of your baby’s grandparents. You can take turns holding the baby while you eat and have quality family time.
2. Zoo or Aquarium
Your local zoo or aquarium can be another great outing option with your baby. Remember while new experiences like this are great for you and your baby to enjoy together, they can also be tiring and overstimulating. Be prepared to take breaks. Make sure you have plenty of time.
Plan your route to see the animals you think the baby will love the most first if you can, in case your baby falls asleep mid-trip.
You are going to want to take photos so make sure your baby is dressed cute but comfortably. A good idea is to visit during the off-season when it’s not so crowded. It will be less stressful and the baby will be able to see the animals better. Going on outings with your baby earlier in the day when the baby is more alert is also helpful.
Take your stroller. I’ve found that a baby carrier is great for this kind of trip because my baby is attached to me and safe and up high where they can see better. But if the place is big, your baby can start to feel heavier and heavier. Having the stroller available is nice if you do get tired of carrying them. And it also provides a place for drinks and your diaper bag that you can just push along. Many zoos and aquariums have carts and strollers that you can rent if that is a better option for you.
You can go online to see what is available and also review the route so you are prepared when you arrive. If you have a toddler that would enjoy petting animals, a petting zoo is another great option.
3. Pet or Fish Store
I still have fond memories of going to pet and fish stores with my Dad when I was a child. Looking at all the different colors of fish swimming around was calming and fun. A pet or fish store can be a great outing to have with your baby and you don’t have to buy anything. Though you may just come home with a new friend if you’re not careful.
Staff are usually willing to share fun facts about the animals and often enjoy having children in. This can be a great place for children to start learning respect for animals. Some stores have donation boxes so you can help your baby put in some change to help save animals.
4. Thrift or Consignment Store
Our baby girl loves to go with me to the consignment store. She likes to look at books and clothes. If you have a good thrift store that has toys it can also be fun to see what your baby gravitates towards.
A thrift store can offer new things to look at and there are often other families there that your baby can interact with. You can also find some great deals on baby clothes and items for you as your style changes over the course of motherhood.
Put your baby in a shopping cart and let them look at all the different colors and textures around. Or if you have a toddler walking you can let them explore a bit. Of course, we want to stay beside them and not allow them to destroy the store. But it’s a bit less stressful at a thrift store to allow them to walk around since the items are used and less expensive than in a new store with expensive breakable items.
5. Local Swimming pool
If you have a local swimming pool and the weather is right, this can be one of the fun outings with your baby. Prepare to be in the water too and follow all the safety precautions. If you do not have a local community pool, sometimes hotels will allow families to come and swim at a low cost per hour. Indoor heated pools can be fun even if the weather is on the chiller side.
Take water toys and floats and enjoy. You could also look into baby swimming classes. Check with your local YMCA or recreation center if you have one.
6. The Park
An easy and free way to spend time with your baby outside is at a local park. Explore different parks in your area to find the ones that have the best play areas and activity options for babies your child’s age. Parks are also a great place to do baby and me meet-ups with other families.
We’ve gone to the park with other families a few times. We, moms, walk our babies around to look at the ducks and play while the husbands play volleyball together. It is a nice way to meet and engage with other families.
Some good things to bring:
- A blanket and boppy pillow or support
- Sun protection- sunscreen, hats, glasses
- Stroller or carrier so you can take a walk
- Tummy time toys
- Snacks to share
Open spaces offer great crawling and walking opportunities.
If there is a workplace with a relaxed environment where a visit would be welcome this is a nice option for outings with your baby. You can visit a working spouse with your baby, an old workplace of your own, or a friend or family member.
Perhaps an Auntie.
Don’t forget to call ahead and make sure it’s a good time if needed and go at a time when visiting hours would be welcome, not the busiest time of day. Maybe right before or after lunch breaks. Babies can look at the art on the walls and greet all the employees while they ohh and aww over the baby.
It Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated
I hope you liked this list of things to do with baby outside the house. There are so many fun places to go with babies and toddlers. Planned outings and more elaborate trips are great but even everyday errands can be fun with the right mindset. Our grocery store has car carts so our baby girl can pretend to drive while I shop. Farmers’ markets are also fun. Prepare the best you can but don’t be afraid to go out with your baby. Enjoy the special time and create memories together.
Do you have a list of favorite, easy outings with your baby? Share in the comments!
Are you working from home with your baby? Read this next: How To Work From Home With Baby In Real Life