With the summer months in full swing, now is the perfect time for creating a brand new list of exciting, family-friendly adventures for you and your toddler.  Don’t waste beautiful weather and long summer days sitting indoors!  With your toddler’s help, sit down and create a simple “bucket list” of activities and adventures to help you both get the most out of your summer.

Visit a Farmer’s Market

Expose your child to the wonders of gardening and farm work by exploring a local farmers’ market together. Toddlers love examining colorful fruits and vegetables and learning where they each came from.  Turn the day into a game by practicing color-matching, fruit and vegetable names, and counting together.  Be sure to take a break and enjoy a fresh and healthy fruit or veggie snack together!

Go Camping

Depending on your family’s schedule, strive to set aside at least a few days to visit the woods together and enjoy an old-fashioned camp-out.  Exposing young children to nature is key for helping them grow a genuine love for animals and the natural world as they grow.

Visit a Splash Park

Stay cool in the harsh summer heat by regularly visiting a water park or toddler-themed “splash” park. Sprinklers, slides, pools, and other water-based attractions are perfect ingredients for cooling off and building amazing family memories.  Even if your child is nervous around water, they can still enjoy sprinklers and other gentle water experiences.  Water parks can help young children grow more comfortable with water; this is key for building confidence and learning to swim later on.

Create Sidewalk Chalk “Masterpieces”

Nurture your child’s artistic talents by setting them loose on your driveway or backyard with sidewalk chalk.  Large chalk crayons are easy for little hands to hold as they grow their fine motor skills and hand and eye coordination. Because chalk is easy to remove with water, this art project is relatively mess free.  However, be sure to take lots of pictures before their creations disappear!

Make Homemade Ice Cream

Nothing can beat homemade recipes! Although homemade creations often take slightly more time and energy to create, the investment is always well worth it.  Toddlers love learning to cook.  Turn them into miniature chefs with simple, easy recipes such as homemade ice cream. Many parents turn this recipe into a family game with fun tools such as an ice cream ball. 

Host a Backyard Camp-Out

Families that aren’t able to escape to the woods still have a perfect camp-out alternative.  Set up a tent in your backyard for a memorable evening together.  If you and your child are feeling adventurous, skip the tent completely and sleep under the stars on a cot, sleeping bag, or air mattress.  Use a miniature grill or fire pit to complete the evening with roasted hot dogs and toasty s’mores.

Plant a Miniature Garden

Although a full-scale garden isn’t always possible due to space and cost constraints, most families can still successfully create a miniature garden with their toddlers.  Set aside a small plot of ground in your back yard and show your toddler how to prepare the soil and plant the seeds.  If you don’t have the space, consider using small planters or even a large flower pot instead.  Use simple, hardy crops such as snap peas, carrots, beans, sunflowers, and marigolds to ensure that your toddler’s garden is successful. Help them learn to water their seeds and explain what plants need to grow.  Your toddler will be amazed and excited as the seeds begin to sprout into healthy plants.

Experiment With Homemade Bubbles

Blowing and chasing bubbles is a favorite toddler past time.  However, instead of using ready-made bubble kits, create some homemade bubbles with your toddler this summer.  Use a DIY recipe and find some house-hold objects to use as unique bubble wands. This simple activity can keep you and your child happy and busy for hours as you both experiment with your amazing bubble creations.

Visit Your Local Petting Zoo

Every child should get to experience the excitement and educational experience a zoo provides. In particular, petting zoos are the prefect place to learn about animals in a safe but adventurous environment.  Toddlers love learning to “feed” animals with different treats.  Petting animals and other activities such as pony rides are also great ways to help them gain confidence around animals.  Children that regularly visit zoos always grow up with far more love and appreciation for the animal kingdom.

Enjoy a Family Picnic

Something about a picnic always makes meals taste so much better. Regardless of what meal you choose, set aside some time for a family picnic together at your favorite park, hiking trail, or nature reserve.  For a slightly less traditional picnic, bring along a full meal to a drive-in movie or a day on the lake.  Prepare plenty of picnic favorites or invest in some extra special goodies and brand new recipes.  If possible, allow your toddler to help you prepare and pack your meal away for later.  They’ll appreciate the experience far more if they know they had a part in it’s creation.

Building a summer bucket list with your toddler is the perfect way to create amazing memories and experiences with them.  Continue this summer tradition as they grow; you’ll both be able to look back at the love and laughter that filled these summer days.

 

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