Keeping your toddler active in the summer months isn’t a complicated process. After all, you have a toddler. No one needs to tell you that toddlers are energetic all on their own. The warm weather even allows them space to go as crazy as they often try to be inside. You don’t really have to do anything, but open the door to ensure your child will get good exercise at this age. However, if you’re like me, you’d prefer all that energy be put to good use. A superior summer activity doesn’t just burn off energy, keep your toddler busy and provide healthy exercise, it teaches, engages and most importantly is super-cool fun. Here are ten ideas of things you can do with your toddler after you open that door this summer.
1. Take a nature hike.
A walk in nature is one of the most inexpensive ways for you and your toddler to be active this summer and learn in the process. You can talk about what you see, smell, hear and feel as you walk. You can watch out for animals, plants, even clouds, and identify them. Nature hikes also create a great opportunity to collect craft supplies such as dried leaves, sticks and flowers. I still have flowers I collected with my grandmother and pressed in a book as a child.
2. Explore the beach.
The beach is full of opportunities for free and educational summer activities. Your toddler can learn about the beach, ocean, water safety and swimming. You can search for shells and stones to form a collection or build a sand castle. The beach is also an excellent place to fly kites. You can even make your own kites out of recycled goods to add a craft project to this summer activity.
3. Organize a park play-date.
Your toddler’s social interaction skills can benefit greatly from a simple play date at the park. I find the more I take my toddlers to the park, the bigger their playgroup becomes. By the time we leave, they’re so worn out they don’t even survive the car ride home without falling asleep. In addition, if your toddler is busy playing with friends you may even be able to sneak in a little time to yourself, supervising from a distance on a sunny bench.
4. Plant a garden.
Planting a garden with your child can not only offer great exercise and an always popular chance to play in the dirt, but it can also lower your grocery bill, helps the environment and teaches many valuable lessons about hard work, nurturing and our planet.
5. Go camping.
Camping can entail all sorts of fun stuff including fishing, swimming, smores, campfire stories, tents, nature and a whole lot of outdoors to explore. On top of being a great way to stay active, camping teaches even very young children survival skills they may someday need while offering a great chance to bond.
6. Have a bubble party.
These days they even make colored bubbles and bubbles you can touch. Children of all ages can be entertained for hours with a simple paint dish full of bubble solution and some wands. You can use colored bubbles to teach your toddler colors. Bubbles can also be a great way to introduce the concepts of size and distance.
7. Go swimming at the lake.
My toddlers never do much swimming at our local lake, but they are excited to see minnows, ducks and all the other lake residents. They also enjoy splashing and playing in the sand. Repeated visits have really improved their water safety knowledge, too.
8. Set up a scavenger hunt.
Even on rainy summer days, a scavenger hunt can be a great way to get kids up and moving while learning in the process. Not to mention, they are free and can be organized anywhere. For toddlers, it helps to keep items simple such as, “Find a red item.”
9. Play backyard games.
These days parents just under utilize the value of those classic backyard games we all played. Games like hopscotch, follow the leader, Simon says, green light-red light and foursquare offer a wide variety of educational advantages on top of being a great work-out.
10. Visit your local zoo or wildlife refuge.
Finally, zoos, wildlife refuges and animal education centers can be found almost everywhere. They are usually inexpensive, and toddlers love them. Walking around to look at all the animals also offers great exercise and fosters an interest in wildlife.
You may also enjoy:
Toddler Park Problems: Six Simple Solutions
Teaching Toddlers Stranger Danger While Beating Stranger Anxiety
Exercising as a Mom: Tips to Find the Time