I had no idea how busy, or exhausting, summer would be with a toddler!
As spring joyfully transformed into summer, I envisioned peaceful picnics at the park, sunbathing at the beach, and leisurly walks along the downtown creek with my son. It ended up being more like “cramming food down my son’s mouth as he squirmed out of my arms for the sixteenth time to go down the big kids slide, on his head”. Or “trying to keep him from shoveling sand, not into his bucket, but his mouth”. And then there were the “100-yard dashes along the creek, as I desperately tried to keep him from bathing in it”.
I decided I needed to approach this summertime with a toddler thing more creatively and find activities for us to do that were engaging for him, resulting in some enjoyment for me. Here’s what I came up with:
Local Farmer’s Markets, especially if they offer live music - I strapped my Little One in his stroller and contentedly perused the market, until we came upon the live outdoor music; then, he proceeded to dance away all his pent up energy while I got to sit under a shade tree and watch (I got up and danced a couple of tunes with him).
Children’s Museums (and if there aren’t any children’s museums in your area, most museums provide weekly children’s events) – Each week, the children’s museum in our area provides Moms and Toddlers with arts and crafts activities. It’s a great way to provide creative social time for your little one, as well as the Mommys!
Local barns/farms – In our area, we are fortunate enough to have the Avila Barn. Here, my son and I were able to feed the farm animals, take a tractor ride, and pick fresh nectarines and berries. At the end of our day, we even shared an ice cream cone…his first ever!
County Fairs – Okay, so this particular excursion proves to be quite exhausting, but, it is well worth it. We ate horribly, got dirty, and wasted our money on impossible-to-win games, but we had so much fun doing it! He was especially fond of the train ride.
Zoos – I’ve never been much of a supporter of zoos, I hate to see these gorgeous animals pinned up, but, it does provide a great opportunity to give my son exposure to animals he had only seen in books. And, his attention span at each animal’s habitat allowed me to enjoy a leisurely afternoon with him. We even sat at some of the animals and shared some great conversation and relaxation.
I’m sure there are many, many more fantastic summertime activities with which to entertain your toddler while keeping your sanity, such as baseball games and local festivals. But, I have my sites on the changing of the seasons! My favorite time of the year, Autumn, holds such promise.