You might think of the beach as being a day out for during the summer months only, but if you wrap up and don some wellies then the beach can still be the perfect day trip when it’s cool. Visiting the beach always leaves you feeling refreshed; nothing beats that fresh air and uplifting breeze by the shore, so it’s the perfect opportunity for you and your cherub to let off some steam. Some great activities with your toddler on the beach include:
- Rolling and kicking a ball along the sand
- Building sandcastles
- Collecting and counting pebbles and shells then placing them in a bag or bucket
- Throwing pebbles into the sea
- Having ‘races’ with the lapping water; running away before the water reaches your feet
- Drawing shapes in the sand with a stick
- Flying a kite
Top tip: Remember a hat for your toddler. The constant breeze might give your tot a headache so a warm ‘trapper’ hat is wise, while the exposure to the sun on hotter days requires a sunhat with neck drape.
The zoo or farm
The zoo and farm are both brimming with opportunities for toddler development. Seeing the real-life versions of the animals they have gazed at in their storybooks and the toys they have played with will thrill and amaze them. Adults perhaps take for granted the variety of the animal kingdom, but to a child seeing a zebra or exotic bird for the first time it’s a pretty exciting experience. Just wait until they witness the sheer size of an elephant or giraffe, or hear the roar of a wild cat. Zoos and farms aren’t just about looking at these species though. The zoo and farm open up lots of fun and developmental opportunities too:
- Mimicking the sounds of all the different creatures
- Stroking and touching animals
- Singing songs about the animals (Old Macdonald had a farm, ee-aye-ee-aye-oh!)
Top tip: Remember the antibacterial hand gel or wipes for your child’s hands after touching the animals. Safety walking reins are a good idea too, to let your child explore without running off into the crowds.
A picnic in the woods
Let your toddler choose some teddy bears or dolls and ‘help’ you put a picnic hamper together. Your toddler will love to assist in placing all of the objects into a bag (and probably taking them out again too!). Before your outing, you could introduce the idea of a picnic to your little one by singing the ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’ song – perhaps even buy a CD of the music to play in the car on the way. Once you have chosen a shaded spot on the grass, lay out a blanket and let your child place their teddies. The teddies will be great props for playing hide and seek with too, and for your tot to ‘feed’ the picnic to. A picnic in the woods is a great opportunity to:
- Look at wildlife. Your child will love spotting squirrels and birds high in the trees
- Collecting interesting objects such as acorns and pine cones
- Doing rolls and tumbles on the grass
- Hunting for ‘the biggest stick’
- Going on a ‘bear hunt’ through the trees
- Hide and seek (if there are two adults – one to stay with the child while the other hides or seeks)
- Jumping in puddles
- Making bark rubs using paper and crayons against tree trunks
- ‘Climbing’ trees (you helping them sit or stand or the lowest branch!)
Top tip: Remember to take an old ice cream tub to collect objects in and antiseptic wipes for any grazes.
As a toddler, your child may not appreciate the meaning of a museum and its contents, but they will surely enjoy the effective lighting and effects, impressive models and artifacts. So many museums aim to achieve an overall experience now, rather than just being about facts and history, so your senses really are awakened during a visit to a modern museum. Walking into a dark room with a simulated night sky, seeing an enormous dinosaur skeleton or hearing bizarre sound effects will leave your tot wide-eyed and in awe. After wanting to press their nose up against every display, your tot will be able to enjoy the children’s facilities that museums often provide, such as art stations and interactive puzzles and games.
Top tip: Remember to give your toddler a snack and drink before you go into the museum. Also, let them lead the way – let them choose the direction you take through the museum based on what captivates them.
Whether it’s a food festival, country, family or music, a festival is a fun day out with your toddler. With so many different stalls and stands to keep you occupied all day, there’s lots to see and do. Whether you’re experimenting with new foods to broaden your toddler’s palate, seeing baby animals or getting hands on with picking fruit or collecting eggs, your toddler is bound to love the diversity. Great ideas to make the most of visiting a festival with your toddler are:
- (Older toddlers): Encouraging them to hand over your money to stall owners when making a purchase
- Encouraging confidence and free-spirit by dancing with them in front of music performers
- Tasting and touching new and unusual foods and ingredients
- Collecting ingredients to take home and make into a dish together
Top tip: Remember your toddler’s buggy. Festivals can be a long day with lots of walking, so your little one’s legs are bound to get tired.
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