On all of our trips, one of my favorite things to do is to walk around the city, while people watching, absorbing sights, and getting my steps in. After pounding the streets of Paris, I felt so proud of myself for hitting my steps goals. And then it dawned on me, how long I had kept my babies confined in their stroller! I immediately looked up a nearby park/green area, and let them sit on the grass to move around a bit. They were SO happy. It reminded me how essential it is for me incorporate time for free roaming for them on my trip itineraries, even if it is simply rolling around the grass.
Benefits of Baby and Toddler Movement:
Movement for young kids is vital for brain and motor development. Did you know that promoting movement and activity in young children can help increase memory, perception, muscle development, flexibility, language, attention, emotion and even decision making? It helps the toddler feel accomplished, independent, and develop lifelong healthy habits.
Kids between the ages of one to three-years-old should have approximately 2 to 3 hours of play. Research shows that kids under 1 year should have lots of floor play and approximately 30 minutes of tummy time. Infants should be touched, wiggled, and encouraged to move their body parts. Once moving, it is great to let an infant to move freely.Movement has also been shown to help calm and promote alertness in infants.
Source: The Australian Parenting Website. https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/nutrition-fitness/physical-activity/physical-activity-how-much
Source: Kids Health. kidshealth.org/en/parents/move12yr.html
Source: Alabama Public Health. https://alabamapublichealth.gov/healthystart/assets/PhysicalActivityPresentation.pdf
Incorporating ‘Movement’ Time on Travel Itineraries
Often times on big trips, such as one to Paris, it is natural that much of the trip involves keeping small kids in the stroller or baby carrier, whether sightseeing or keeping them safely confined in a non-baby proof hotel room. This means, us parents have to make a conscious effort to add ‘play time’ into our travel itineraries. The good thing is you can find a free and open place, that might even be on your bucket list of places to visit! Paris fortunately has a few options that work great.
Public Outdoor Places for Babies and Toddlers in Paris:
- Louvre: If you are visiting Paris, you likely plan to visit the Louvre. Because of COVID, I generally prefer to limit our time in indoor venues, but fortunately for us, the outside area of the Louvre is spectacular in itself! There is a beautiful fountain, structures, and views of the Eiffel Tower. I let my toddler run around this area and take in the pretty views. Birds were flying around, which was lovely! The downside was that it is cement, so I couldn’t let the baby crawl around. This worked for my toddler while my baby napped.
- Tuileries Garden: The Tuileries Gardens are absolutely gorgeous, and walking distance from the Louvre! This was our favorite outing in Paris. We picked up McDonalds, surprised our toddler with a Happy Meal, and sat on the gardens while the kids rolled around played. There are several spots at the gardens and benches closer to the fountains as well. You can catch glimpses of the Eiffel Tower from here as well.
- Luxembourg Gardens: I was not able to visit these Gardens, but they are absolutely on my list for the next trip!
Any places you recommend to visit in Paris to let your little ones roam around?