When you're the mom of an infant or young toddler, finding activities to engage them can take some strategic planning. Luckily, the warmer months of summer offer endless opportunities to get your young one out and about. Just because they're little doesn't mean they can't enjoy some summertime fun, after all. Here are 15 summer activities for babies and toddlers, so the little ones can get in on the action, too.
While older kids are self-sufficient enough to entertain themselves or can participate in an organized activity, younger kids are often left out, making activities geared toward tots sometimes hard to find. The things to do on this list will not only keep your child entertained, but they'll also give your kid some extra, super-valuable bonding time with you. Plus, they also offer some serious developmental benefits in the realms of motor skills, sensory learning and more. So, whether you're staying in your hometown for the summer months or going away on vacation, you can find the time to squeeze in these baby and toddler-friendly activities. If you have older ones too, not to worry; most of these things can be fun for them as well, especially if you tell them they're "in charge" of the activity. (Okay, so they're not really.)
1. Take Them To The Beach
Scoop up some fun with this sand bucket, which doubles as an ice cream shop. Set includes two figures, bucket, sieve, ice cream spoon, two ice cream cones, two ice cream scoops, and one waffle mold.
This one seems like a given, but taking your baby and toddler to the beach actually has some really great benefits, especially when you bring along some toddler-friendly toys like the sand bucket/ice cream shop play set shown above. Fun at the beach allows your child to have some unstructured playtime in a new and interesting environment that they'll just love to explore. Your little one can learn about their environment by interacting with their world, and develop their senses by exploring different textures, like sand and water. And they get to practice crawling, walking or running in the sand — a very different experience than moving on solid ground.
Of course, bring along the sunblock and umbrella to keep their skin out of the sun as much as possible. If your child is very small, try investing in a beach tent so they're able to nap out of the sun. Staying in the shade is a small price to pay to watch your little one learn and have a blast at the beach.
2. Have A Picnic
Grab a big blanket, some snacks and your little one's favorite toys and head to the park for a picnic. Your child can crawl around safely in the grass or if they're older, you may have lots to talk about while you eat your lunch outside. There might be other kids their age around too, giving them the opportunity to practice those social skills and make new friends.
3. Have Some Quiet Time In A Hammock
There's nothing more relaxing than resting in a hammock. (But be careful with this one if you have an infant, they could fall out if you fall asleep.) It's always best to make sure your little one is napping safely. But if your child is old enough to relax with you in a hammock, why not lounge together for a mid-afternoon cuddle session? You can grab some of their favorite books or just lay together as you listen to some relaxing music.
4. Enjoy An Outdoor Movie
Lots of communities have kid-friendly outdoor movie events during the summer. Check out your county's events calendar to see what movies are playing. Bring your picnic blanket and popcorn to make it an extra fun family movie watching experience. There will be tons of other kids there too, so no need to be bored while waiting for the movie to start.
5. Make Popsicles
Check out this yummy kid-friendly popsicle recipe. There are lots of ways to make popsicles, which older babies and toddlers love to snack on. If you're child is old enough, let them help you prepare the treats. They'll be so proud and it'll make this sweet treat that much sweeter.
6. Dance To Some Outdoor Live Music
Summer time is all about the outdoor music. Check out the event calendar of your local town and see if there are any outdoor music events happening. Lots of parks feature bands that perform while spectators have the space to get up and dance. Your little one will love to get up and join in on the jams.
7. Explore Some Carnivals
Bring your little one out to some local carnivals or amusement parks for some kid-friendly rides and games. They'll love all the lights and excitement, plus there are plenty of yummy treats to try.
8. Have An Outdoor Tea Party
If your little one loves hosting tea parties, why not take it outside? Grab all her "guests," make some small sandwiches and take a blanket and for some outside fun. I'm pretty sure all tea parties are better outdoors.
9. Take Sensory Play Outside
You can get as messy as you want when you take sensory play outside. Sand, shaving cream, water or even pudding, your child will have a blast exploring their different textures and just making a mess.
10. Visit The Zoo Or Aquarium
If the weather is nice, you can visit the zoo to see all the exotic animals. The zoo is great for both babies and toddlers because it's something they can really engage in — it's exciting to see real animals, live and in person. The aquarium is also a great option and kids of all ages are excited and thrilled to see all kinds of exotic marine life.
11. Take Them To The Library
If you need a break from the heat, you can take them to the children's section of your local library. They're usually air conditioned and often have family events that are baby and toddler friendly like story time and music classes. Or you can simply let them wander around looking at books as they please. Bonus, you'll start their love for reading early, which is always a good thing.
12. Head To Your Local Children's Museums
If it's a rainy day and you can't get outside, don't fret. There's plenty of museums that offer children's programming. Just a little research can lead to a full afternoon of fun.
13. Make Some Bubbles
Making loads of bubbles couldn't be easier with these fun character gloves: Just remove the bubble pouch from the glove, dip the glove in the bubble solution-filled pouch, and wave through the air!
Bubbles are a no-brainer for summertime fun, but sometimes little ones can get frustrated with the old-fashioned wand/bottle hook-up. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives available now, like these super fun and easy-to-use bubble gloves.
14. Have Fun With Sidewalk Chalk
Older babies and toddlers will love to draw on the ground with sidewalk chalk. Grab a bin of sidewalk chalk with some fun colors and shapes and your little one will be entertained for hours. It's the perfect art project too, because you don't have to do any clean up — mom win.
15. Take Finger Painting Or Feet Paint Outside
Take some finger paints and some giant paper outside for a messy art project. Your young one can paint with their fingers, hands and feet with the paint while having fun exploring the texture and how it feels on different parts of their body. Help them paint the bottom of their feet and have them walk across the page, then show them their foot prints.