Happy Monday, friends!
One of the topic requests we received during our kickoff week was a list of ideas of activities to do with young ones (I call them littles). I thought this was a brilliant idea, given that the very next day it was scorching in Seattle (aka 82 degrees) and I was at a loss for how to keep B preoccupied without melting.
Pinterest must have read my mind, because after one pin of “A Toddler’s Summer Bucket List,” my feed was full of other summer activity lists. It is great that there is so much information out there, but when compiling my own list I had two requirements: (1) it had to be short and (2) it had to be unique. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t have the time or the patience to go through a list of 50-100 activity suggests. Especially when those suggestions are things like “read a book.” We do that about twenty times a day anyway (if I have to read If You Give a Cat a Cupcake one more time…) so if I’m in a pinch and trying to come up with something to keep both B and myself from boredom, reading a book won’t really do the trick.
Whether you are a mom with a little (or two) trying to pass the time or a babysitter wanting to take it to the next level (high fives to you! and call us, please), we have done a couple things to make your lives a little easier. First, we created a “Summer Activities with Littles” board on Pinterest (you can see it HERE)! All of those lists that I just complained about above? While they are long, they are actually pretty helpful if you really run out of ideas, so they are now saved for you in one place in case you would like more inspiration. :) Feel free to send us pins of ideas you find as well, we’re always looking for more suggestions. Second, we have created our own list of unique and fun activities based on our own experiences and others’ ideas as well. Our hope is that these spark your creative juices and maybe make your summer a little more enjoyable! And because I can’t give you a list without a little explanation, here we go:
For days when you feel like staying home:
- Color with a purpose: Have any birthdays or other events coming up? Print out a special message and have your kiddo color it. Everyone loves a handmade card, especially from a toddler. This is also a great idea if you want to add some art to your walls…why not make your own? I’m thinking about doing this for a gallery wall that I want to create in our hallway.
- Make a fort: If you have a little that loves to explore, or who has a great imagination, this is a great option when staying indoors! If you’re feeling ambitious, consider creating a fort during naptime or before they wake up for the day (like I said, if you’re feeling ambitious…). I am thinking about doing that this week for B during one of her naptimes. I’ll let you know how it goes!
- Have a dance party: I mean, dance parties are always great. My personal recommendation is any song from Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. “Welcome to New York” gets B going every time.
- Make a ball pit: I think this is the best idea EVER. For reals. For her son’s first birthday party, one of my good friends filled an inflatable kiddie pool with ball pit balls that she found at Walmart. It was such a hit with the littles, especially my own. B pretty much spent the entire party in the pool, or hiding the balls in the cupholders of the camping chairs around the pool. I’m thinking this could actually work inside, too, during those super hot summer days (with a small pool, of course).
- Chase the bubbles: Littles love bubbles. It’s just that simple. And fortunately, bubbles are inexpensive! I take B out to our front porch and we’ll spend a good 15-20 minutes just hanging out with the bubbles. One thought…if you want to save your arms (and your breath) I suggest buying a bubble machine. Really, you’ll thank me later.
- Do some gardening: You might not get a lot of actual gardening done, but pick a spot that needs it anyway, give your little a trowel and see what happens! The possibilities with gardening/weeding are endless. B has helped us plant flowers and other plants, put the weeds we have pulled in the buckets, and has even pulled some of her own. I will say though, that her favorite activity is shoveling dirt. You know what? If it keeps her happy and gives me time to do a little uninterrupted work, I say go for it.
- Run through the sprinkler: I think I’m a little scared of the kiddie pool, at least when it’s just me and B during the week. The sprinkler though? That I can handle, and it’s actually really fun. We recently ran through a neighbor’s sprinkler that was watering part of the sidewalk along with her grass (don’t worry, we stayed on the sidewalk). B had a blast, and so did I. :)
- Chalk up the sidewalk: It’s like coloring, but on a huge canvas. It’s something fun, gets the little outside, and has minimal cleanup afterward. Win-win.
For days when you’re feeling adventurous:
- Find a new park: I am always finding out about new parks in our city or surrounding areas. It’s a great way to do a little adventuring and break out of your usual routine. For those in Washington state, did you know that the state parks actually have a certain number of free days?? Meaning, you don’t need a Discover Pass?? I wish I had known about this sooner (even though we have a Discover Pass, it is a brilliant idea). There are only a couple days left for 2015, but if you are ever needing to jumpstart your brain on where the state parks are, I suggest checking out THIS WEBSITE for info.
- Go on a walk: Whether it is a walk around the neighborhood or a new trail you have been meaning to try out, there’s nothing like a little fresh air and some exercise that can turn your day around. :) Of course, when you are walking with a toddler there is a lot of stop/go/look at the rock/no, don’t put that in your mouth! that happens. But still, it is good for everyone.
- Visit the zoo: Besides the big city zoos you will sometimes find a smaller zoo or two in the suburbs. Of course, for locals I’m talking about the Cougar Mountain Zoo. I have never been but know of many moms who have been there and it seems to be a great place. I would definitely take a look at your local zoo’s website to see what kind of promotions are going on. There always seems to be some sort of sale or discount happening, and the summer in general is a great time to get out with your kiddos and explore.
- Open gym day: Truthfully, I have had a hard time finding a good open gym day where we live. With that being said, it was not difficult at all to find options in downtown Seattle. I guess, moral of the story is to Google “open gym days” for your city and see what pops up. I think this would be a great way to get your littles out and socializing with others, as well as burning off some steam.
- Story time at the library: If you are like me and get tired of reading the same book over and over (and over and over) again, try catching one of the story times at your local library. Again, it gets you and your little out of the house for a few minutes. While you are there, you can pick up a book or two for both of you.
- Berry picking: If I were not so pregnant, I would be all over the berry picking this summer. I think this would be a fabulous idea for toddlers, a great way to teach them about food and also a great way to get awesome food. We are going through berries like crazy over at my house, so if anyone does go berry picking and wants to get rid of some…shoot me a note and I’ll happily take them off your hands!!
- Go into town: “Town” can mean anything. It could mean the little main street of the town you live in, or the actual downtown of whatever major city that is nearby. Take your little on a walk, check out some of the local sights, basically play tourist for a day. Yes, maybe you’ve seen everything a thousand times but your kiddo has not! And chances are, what fascinates them will be the little details that you may have forgotten about before.
- Visit the aquarium: Similar to visiting the zoo, but you have the luxury of being inside for some (or all of it).
Also, here are a few things to remember to keep you and your little(s) sane when going out:
- Plan around naptime: Otherwise you will either have a zombie child or a super cranky child and neither are much fun.
- Double check the diaper bag: I have totally assumed that I packed an extra snack or extra diapers, only to get to my destination and realize I wasn’t as awesome as I thought.
- Remember the sun: It is never fun or healthy to be without sunscreen, sun hats, sunglasses – for both you and your young one.
- It’s okay if your plans don’t work out: Really, it’s okay if you decide to only stay out for thirty minutes, or halfway through packing you choose to stay home. You’re the best judge of the situation and know what’s best.
- Keep it simple, silly: Kids don’t need much to keep them preoccupied. Sometimes we have the tendency to over complicate and it’s not necessary. Keeping it simple takes the pressure off. Enjoy your time! Your little won’t be so little this time next summer!
Hope these ideas help! Do you have any go-to activities that are not listed above? Please share them in the comments below! We would love to hear!
Have a fabulous rest of your day,