Summer is a great time to let little ones get a little bit messier – both at meal and playtimes. When the sun is shining, much of the mess making can take place outside, making clearing up easier and saving your home from the mess making! This week we’re covering Mealtimes:
Move the highchair out into the garden or have a picnic on the grass or in the park – little ones will love the change of scenery. Eating outside allows them to get so much more messy with little impact on your home. Just make sure they’re not wearing anything too special for these occasions! They can make lots of mess which can be easily swept off a wipe clean mat for the birds to enjoy afterwards.
Let them eat in just their nappy or a vest
When the weather’s warmer, stripping babies down to their nappies for mealtimes means fewer clothes to wash afterwards. Regardless of the style of bib, at messy mealtimes, there will usually be some food bits which find their way onto clothes. Feeding little ones when they are just in their nappies cuts down on washing afterwards, meaning parents often feel more relaxed about letting their little ones squash, squish and mush their food to their heart’s content. How much fun is this little one having?!
Picnics are a great way to introduce more finger foods into your baby’s diet. There are so many delicious recipe ideas for baby led weaning finger foods – from savoury muffins and fritters to dips to mini quiches / tortillas or pasta salads. They are not only delicious, easy to transport but can also a great way to sneak some extra vegetables into your child’s diet. I also found the incentive of being allowed to play / run around with friends afterwards, was a great way to encourage my little ones to eat some nutritious food whilst we were out and about. Our splash mats double up as picnic mats. They fold to be pretty compact so easily fit under a buggy and a quick wipe afterwards is all that’s needed.
As little ones get older, they can help prepare and pack for the picnic. Excitement levels used to be pretty high in our house when the word picnic was mentioned and the children loved helping get things ready – whether it was chopping up vegetables when they were a bit older or just getting things out of the fridge and packing them in the cool bag when they were little.
If you’ve got children of different ages, it’s worth making sure you have things to keep all ages happy. I often used to pack some bubbles to keep my littlest, Florence, entertained whilst her big brother and sister were charging around with their friends. A few small toys or a couple of books won’t take up much space in your bag and can help extend the length of time you can spend on your picnic.
It’s always worth making sure you’ve got lots of water – running around is thirsty work and suncream / sun hats on hand for when the sun decides to shine
Hopefully the rain of the last few weeks is now over and we’ll have some beautiful sunny days to enjoy over the next few months.
Thank you to amielizabeth.com, theladybirdsadventures.co.uk and @xbabiekatalinax for the photographs.