Toddlers can be very hard to please. They can’t quite voice what they want, or what they need to make their day better, and yet they find it ridiculously easy to complain and let you know when they are unhappy. They have very short attention spans, find it hard to concentrate for too long and far too young to understand what’s going on at many older children’s favorite destinations.
But, at the same time, you don’t want to keep them home all day, and they are starting to get bored of constant trips to the local soft play. They want a challenge, a chance to explore somewhere new and have new experiences and frankly, you need to get out of the house and away from kid’s TV occasionally.
Finding somewhere you toddler will be safe and have a great time is only part of the problem. You also need to find somewhere relaxed and comfortable, so you’ll be able to cope with the tantrums that are sure to come as the kids get hungry, tired or bored. While also considering naps, toddler-friendly food, changing facilities and space for prams as well as safe space for them to explore and stretch their legs. Taking a toddler out for the day can be incredibly stressful, especially if you are doing it alone. So, it’s essential that you find a few places that are fun, safe and comfortable. Here’s a look at some great ideas.
A visit to an aquarium such as SeaQuest Interactive Aquariums is always a toddler favorite. Even babies love looking at the pretty colors and watching fish move, but toddlers can get a lot more from the experience. Interactive aquariums feature plenty of fun displays and learning opportunities that toddlers can have a go at, as well as countless tanks of different fish and sea creatures in different colors and sizes. They can push their independence by exploring safely, walking around on their own looking at all of the gorgeous colors, but there is plenty of room to push a pram around if you still want to take it.
An aquarium visit is also a fantastic way to let them explore their own creativity and imagination. The colors and movements can inspire them to create they own stories and pictures in the days and weeks to come. Spend time at home following your visit painting and having a go at underwater crafts. You could even find some great sea-based films to watch together to carry on the theme.
Farms are another excellent place for toddlers to explore and have fun with the added bonus of you not having to worry about them making a mess. Let them stroke and feed the animals as well as spending time walking in the mud and through the fields. Most family-friendly farms have cafes, shops and baby change facilities but it can be a good idea to take a packed lunch if you’ve got a fussy eater.
Like an aquarium visit, you can continue the theme when you get home. Have a go at some farm crafts, learn some animal noises and paint some fun pictures of farmyard scenes.
Soft play centers can be an adult’s worst nightmare, but kids love them. Visiting a different center might seem the same to you, but a toddler will think it’s a completely different experience, so branch out and try somewhere new. Make a day of it by going to a local restaurant or and to see a kid’s film at a nearby cinema once you’ve worn them out running around.
As an adult, the best way to enjoy a play center is by giving in to it and getting stuck in. Instead of sitting watching counting the minutes until you leave, go around with your toddler. Let your inner child out and enjoy going down the slides and through the tunnels. Your child will love it, and you’ll hate it less.
A day at the park is the ultimate cheap day out. Pack a picnic, spend some time playing on the playgrounds, exploring the grounds and playing with a ball. In the autumn, having fun kicking leaves around. Kids enjoy nothing more than a simple day out with the people they love. Leave your phone at home and give them your full attention.
Now so many of us have tablets and eReaders we often neglect the library. But, for a toddler, it can still be a brilliant day out. They’re safe, there’s a new area for them to explore, there will be toys to play with and new books to take a look at. There might even be other children for them to play with or craft and storytime groups to join.
Visiting the library can boost your child’s confidence and vocabulary, introduce them to a large range of books from an early age, boost their imaginations and creativity and give them the freedom to learn on their own. Your local children’s library will also have suitable facilities and maybe even its own museum, café or restaurant.
Many of us wait until our children are older to start taking them to the cinema, worried that they won’t be able to sit through a film or that they will make a noise. But, many modern cinemas have specific toddler shows. The films might not be brand new, but they’ll be age appropriate, and the tickets will be largely discounted. You may even find that your toddler that can’t sit still for an episode of Peppa Pig can sit quietly for 90 minutes in the cinema. It also gives you a fantastic chance to get a bit of peace and do something a little more grown up for a chance.
Taking your children swimming from a very early age will help them to keep fit, show them that exercise can be fun and boost their water confidence. There are toddler lessons available if you chose, but just having fun together in the water can have the same effect.
Toddlers are unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have days out with them. You’ll soon get used to taking them out once you find the perfect places to visit.