One of the awesome benefits of using a baby carrier or wrap is doing more together as a family. For a lot of us, getting outside during the summer months is a big part of family life. Here are five ways that my husband and I get outside with our sixteen-month-old son.
1. Hiking: We fill up our water bottles, pack our sun protection, lace up our shoes and then we head out to our chosen trails. In Colorado where I live with my family, we have an amazing array of trails to choose from. Hiking together as a family is great way to take your little one into varied terrain and wild places that are protected from cars and buildings. Look for destination trails that have natural features that appeal to you. I choose trails that have lakes and streams. My husband looks for trails with elevation gain. Wherever you live or are traveling to, pick a trail to hike or walk around a park that fits your abilities so that you enjoy yourselves. Remember to wear good fitting shoes and to bring water and snacks as needed. If you have a toddler like we do, this is the time to see if using the removable foot straps with your child will make him or her more comfortable. Each Boba carrier included two coordinating foot straps that are fully adjustable, and that snap on and off with ease. I have shared a video below that will walk you through using and removing the straps depending on your needs.
2. Yard Work and Gardening: We are moving soon and the backyard projects are already underway. Our son loves to be right in the mix of it, so he has his own pail, trowel and rake, but he also tires and needs closeness while we work on our landscape projects. When he tuckers out, we just pop him in the carrier and do the jobs that let us both be comfortable. This is the time when we prune the berry bushes, plant veggie seedlings while standing at the table, and water the trees. Our son likes to direct us in our work, pointing to this or that while chirping away; but when he tires, he settles in and rests, letting us be together while we work.
3. Watching the Game: Catching a baseball game at our neighborhood diamond, or watching our friend’s team in the peewee soccer league are ways that we enjoy our community and the warm evenings. We keep our carrier with us so that if our son needs to nurse or tuck in for quiet or sleep, we have his familiar spot ready for him. This way he is snuggled up close and we don’t miss out when our team hits a grand slam.
4. Farmers’ Markets: Where I live in Colorado, it feels like we might be skipping over spring all together and right into summer. We are still a month out from our typical year’s last frost, but the spring vegetables are being harvested and the tulips are lighting up the gardens. Your local farmers’ market is a family outing that helps you all shake off winter and will help you stock your kitchen with locally grown food items that taste like vegetables should taste, as well as giving you a chance to meet the growers themselves. Buying locally means that the money goes back into the farmer’s family and business, which helps to keep your investment circulating in your community where it can do so much good. Wearing your little means you can move through the crowds with ease while taking in all the sights and sounds (and delicious samples!) together.
5. Outdoor Arts Events: Most towns and cities host warm-weather events that are family-friendly. We try to take advantage of outdoor events in our area, from Shakespeare in the park, to talented bruskers on our city’s pedestrian mall. Last summer, when our son was less than a year old, he stayed on us while we took in the outdoor music and art that our city hosts, but now that he is running his sweet little self around, he is down in front, stomping and clapping along with every beat. And like so many other children his age, he loves to be part of the fun, but he still loves to be held close too. Our Boba carrier is perfect for using with our toddler who is exploring his independence, but who still naturally needs closeness.
Being prepared and looking for the opportunities inherent to our daily lives helps all of our families to enjoy what we have right in front of us. Our hikes may not be as long or rugged as they once were when it was just the two of us, but slowing down and sharing them with our son has made them just as sweet. And sure, we are not hitting late night concerts again quite yet, but watching our boy shake his cute little booty once he catches the beat is better than any act that I have ever seen on stage. Our lives change once we have children, as they should and as is natural, but we can still carry forward much of what we enjoyed before our babes came to us and make these outings into awesome family memories.