So I shared with everyone in a earlier post great things to do with your one year old toddlers that are free, the post was Free Fun At One! I originally only had one post called "Fun at One" until I decided that I had left quite a few fun things out and it was just TOO BIG for one post. So I decided to split my post into two! One for free activities and one for not so free activities (but way fun activities) for you to do with the family or just as a Mommy-toddler date!
Go to an Aquarium
This is a great family outing where everyone will have lots of fun! (and it is a lot cooler than being outside during these 100+ degree days) Your little one will love to see all the different types of creatures that live in the water and how they move and react with one another. Be sure to tell your little one what the creatures are called, and it is also fun to imitate the animals. Your little one will get a kick out of your imitations and have fun trying to do them! Lots of aquariums also have "touch and feel" section of the aquarium that you and your little one can experience what different types of creatures feel like.
This is one of our favorite things to do as a family. There are tons of free places to go to the lake where we live (and I bet there are places where you live too) So I only put this activity in the "not so free" post because of having to buy the hot dogs (all beef are much healthier, we like Hebrew National the best) charcoal, ice, drinks, plates, cups etc.. It is still quite cheap to do a cookout. We head out in the early evening to our usual shaded, not very well known location and cookout first. I put a blanket down on the grass by the picnic table and let my son sit on it and eat cheerios and watch us cook. We eat dinner together, pack up the dinner stuff and head right into the lake. We play in the sand, we splash in the water, and my son loves for Daddy to take him out deeper and play (very carefully) out there.
Go to the Zoo
My son loves the zoo, but we do not go as often as I would like because it is not free, but going to the zoo is always super exciting for toddlers (and this mommy usually gets pretty excited too) Most zoos have annual passes you can by that pay for themselves in two or three trips. Also, our zoo has half price Wednesday! You might want to look to see if your zoo has discount days as well. Plan your zoo trip out before you go. Mix inside exhibits with outside exhibits (especially if it is as hot as it is here in TEXAS!!) For example, we would go do the African animals, then the penguins, then maybe the bears and the reptile house. Make sure you bring lots of water and snacks. Take lots of breaks inside or at a shaded/covered picnic area. Always share with your toddler the names of all the animals and the sounds each animal makes. It also is a great idea to bring a book or flash cards he/she is familiar with that has animals in it and show your little one the picture and then the real animal. This will help your little one be able to recognize the animal better and understand that there is more than just one (the one in the book) of that animal.
Science Discovery Center or Childrens' Museum
Some of you may have a science center that is attached to a national park or other attraction or some may have a Childrens Museum of some sort. These are great family outings where you and your little one can experience things that you would not normally be able to. these places are great to learn about science, or just simply how things work. There are usually "touch and feel" stations and sound stations for your little one to use more than one of his/her senses. Your little one will be fascinated to see new things and excited to see things he/she recognizes. Make sure to explain things that are new and ask questions to your toddler about thinks he/she is familiar with.
A New Way to Travel
Experience with your little one a new way to travel. Depending on where you live head downtown to ride the trolley around the downtown area, or take a train to the next city to eat lunch and ride the train back. Be creative. Before you leave, tell your little one what you will be riding on that day. Show him/her a picture and tell your little one how it works. They may not look like they understand, but those little wheels are turning a lot faster than we think. Traveling in a different type of vehicle other than a car can be very exciting. The new perspective on things will have your little one glued to the window or outside. Make sure to follow the safety guidelines for children your little one's age on whatever transportation you decide on.
Hope you like these suggestions for fun things to do with your little one OR as a whole family! These may not be free, but are wonderful ideas for special occasions. (and can you really put a price on your child's education?) I tried to include places that the whole family would enjoy (including Dad and older siblings) and things that are educational. Enjoy your family outings and as always, God bless you and your family!
Until the Whole World Hears,