10 summer activities your toddler will love
By Emma Castle
Summer is here and while a part of you may long for the old days when you could reach for a G&T and a book, the parental part of you is excited to spend time with the humans you helped create.
We all know that toddlers have a lot of energy, so when daycare and playgroups are offline, you need an action plan. Here are 10 activities your toddler will go nuts for.
1. Water play parks
Some council areas have free water play parks, whereas others require entry to the municipal pool. If you live in a city, go all out and spend the day slathered in sunscreen at a water park, where there are special precincts designed for toddlers.
2. A trip to the aquarium
Most major cities have an aquarium that is guaranteed to keep toddlers enthralled for hours. Find Nemo. Look for Dory. Enjoy the funny noises made by walruses and seals. And if all else fails, hit the ice cream fridge. Tip: Avoid taking your pram inside as it can get very congested with pram traffic.
3. Wildlife parks, zoos and petting zoos
Hand feed a deer, hold a lizard or watch penguins zipping through the water at a wildlife park. While many parks have special feeding programs – ie giraffe or elephant feeding – most toddlers will be happy to feed some grass to a pony or quack at the ducks. Visit early in the day or late in the afternoon for the best experience on hot days.
4. A trip to the library
Oh air conditioned bliss! The quiet, calm spaces inside a library are the perfect antidote to high temperatures. Some libraries keep their kid-friendly programs running over the holidays but even without formal activities, you can always borrow a stack of new books for your kiddo to delight in.
5. Wild play areas
Many botanic gardens and city parks are introducing wild play areas where kids can jump on logs, run through long grass, climb (very small) trees and play in muddy and sandy streams. It’s all about unstructured, tactile play that doesn’t involve the destruction of your own backyard. Avoid the heat of the day then let them go wild.
6. Mums and Bubs movie sessions
If the mercury soars too high to be outside, head to a session at the movies for guaranteed air-conditioning and understanding fellow audience members.
7. Dinosaurs at the museum
Fossils, trilobites, full-scale T-Rex skeletons: whatever you can access in your area, find something that involves a ‘saurus or two. Most museums have colouring in sheets and interactive display aimed at kids.
8. Rock pools at the beach
Free entertainment doesn’t come more eco than this. If you’re anywhere near the beach, take your toddler along to go exploring. Look for seaweed, fish, crabs and jellyfish, collect shells and create a beautiful sand artwork. Top it off with a refreshing paddle between the flags.
9. LEGO events
Keep an eye out for registered LEGO workshops where kids are invited to join in the creation of a masterpiece. There are demonstrations, as well as exhibition pieces in epic proportions including pirate ships, space craft, cities and robots.
10. Kid’s theatre
A matinee is a wonderful way to introduce your toddler to live theatre, kid’s ballet, or even a ‘meet the orchestra’ event. The key thing to look for is shows that are identified as being all-ages so you don’t get grumpy patrons glaring at you for the duration.