Having a toddler in the summer is kind of awkward. They aren’t big enough to do some of the fun summer activities, especially by themselves, like swimming. However, you still want to keep them entertained, right?
Here are some ideas to keep your toddler busy, without breaking the bank – or your sanity.
Splash pads are kind of like big sprinklers that you can run through. See left for example.
Price? Usually Free within your neighborhood
Toddler Friendly? Check
You, of course, still have to keep an eye on your little one. But it’s not as taxing, or as stressful, as swimming.
This is kind of a no-brainer, but the park is a great place to take your toddler. They get to run and play, and hang out with other kids (especially if they are an only child like my daughter).
Parks are free and can be found all over. A quick google search for parks in your area will help you find the best ones in your area.
Toddler Tip: Look for parks that have play areas specifically for smaller children. These will have pretend play areas, “baby” swings, and a little less stress for parents. Typically, these types of parks will have less things to climb on and less ways to get hurt.
Safe Toddler=Happy Momma.
The zoo is the first thing on this list that costs money. However, if you play your cards right, this can end up costing a lot less.
We have a zoo membership, that is right around $130 per year. This provides a membership for two adults and children, as well as two unnamed guests. We also get free parking (saves $10 each time), zoo discounts, and more.
Usually, it’s around $50 to walk in the zoo by the time you pay for parking and all admission. I usually can get in two of my friends/family, plus children for free each time. This thing has paid for itself over and over again.
Therefore, a zoo membership is a great investment if you plan on going a lot. You can take a cooler with snacks and drinks, so you don’t have to pay those outrageous prices at the zoo.
Another plus side is that if you have a membership, you do not feel pressure to stay all day. You can go for 30 minutes, or even 6 hours. It really doesn’t matter. This is a great thing when you have toddlers.
Another simple idea, but my daughter loves to walk her baby.
We just walk around our neighborhood, go check the mail, and check out the geese and ducks (we have a pond close to home).
This is a simple, yet fun, activity for my daughter and I. This gets me some extra steps on my Fitbit (because hello, workweek hustle challenge), and both of us some exercise. (Just don’t tell her that…)
Scavenger/Easter Egg Hunt
Who says Easter egg hunts are only for Easter? You can totally do this year round!
You can save leftover Easter eggs, or purchase jumbo ones like the set we have. I like the jumbo ones for toddlers – plus I think it makes her feel like the Youtube videos are coming alive.
Simply put a couple of small toys (like kids meal toys or blind bag toys) inside and hide them. You can even put play doh, coins, slime, a snack, or really anything you can think of inside.
You can do this in your yard or even at the park.
This is a great way to incorporate those Youtube videos your children like to watch, and learn and play at the same time.
My daughter loves to do this – and it really only cost me the initial $10. We play with these both indoors and outside. We always say the color when opening them, and then we can hide again for as long as we want to play with them.
We don’t always want to be outside all the time – Especially when it’s super hot and humid. Here are some fun ideas for toddlers indoors.
Easter Egg Letters
You must think I love easter eggs, but honestly, they are great for a lot of things. Regular size easter eggs are the perfect size to fit small letters in. (I am talking the fridge magnet kind like the set here: Magnetic Letters and Numbers for Educating Kids in Fun -Educational Alphabet Refrigerator Magnets -82 Pieces)
We use regular size easter eggs, and put the letters inside. We open up the eggs, I say the letters, and Olivia says the color. Then, we work to spell a word. Easy and simple.
I have a love-hate relationship with play doh. Of course, my daughter loves it, and I like it sometimes, too. Until it gets stuck in the carpet. Oh, how fun.
I am including it in this list, though, because kids love it and it does keep them busy (especially when you are busy too!)
We have the Melissa & Doug Bowling Set, but you can easily make your own!
Set up semi-empty water bottles, just enough water for a little weight. If you want to make it tougher to knock over the “pins,” use full water bottles.
Grab a light ball (such as one that is hollow) and you are all set!
These just do not require an explanation 😉 – I am always adding to this list.
- Coloring (We buy the large Crayola pads so we can draw everything!)
- Hide and seek
- Feeding Ducks at your local park
- Nature Observatories (We have a great one here in Columbus Ohio)
- Home-made play doh
- Making slime
- Shopping (I know, you are rolling your eyes at this one.)
- Busy Boards – I’ve seen some great ones on Pinterest
- Different Sized Containers with Rice
- Farmers Market!
- Fireworks (of course!)
- Sidewalk Chalk
- Watching lightning bugs
- Building a fort
- Bird Feeder
- Making a Pouring station – great ideas on Pinterest
What are your favorite activities? Let me know in the comments, I’m always looking for new ideas!!!