It is Winter here in New Hampshire, and like many moms with toddlers I sometimes need ideas of something fun and interesting to do to not only entertain my toddler, but also myself. Sure, there are a ton of things you can look up on Pinterest for things to do in the home, but let's be real - it's nice to get out for a change. Here are a list of a few fun activities I have done with my toddler this Winter so far that might give you some inspiration!
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This list may be too indoor-sy based on where you live, such as in warmer climates where you can take your kids to the beach 24/7 (I'm looking at you, California!), but if you live in a snowy place, I got you, girl! In this list I am also including mostly activities that are lower budget so that there are more options available for everyone.
Ahh, the library. I have been taking Lydia to library events since she was 5 months old and have loved watching her grow through the program they have for 24 months and younger. We go to our town's Mother Goose program once a week during their 6 week long sessions and have loved this time together. Lydia and I have both made some great friends through this program since the children are all around the same age. Since this specific program is for under 24 months, it is more geared towards younger toddlers, but our library also has different programs for older toddlers as well.
Libraries usually have a ton of great events for kids, especially if they have a robust children's program. It is also a great place to take your toddler to pick out a few books or movies to take back home. It gives your little one a way to make choices about what they would like to read or watch that is a bit different from what you have at home. I really enjoy going to Mother Goose with Lydia and then getting to pick out a few books that we don't have at home to add to our list of books we've read.
If you live near a museum, that is a great place to take your kiddo to help expose them to all kinds of art or education. Regarding the last section above on the library, you can usually get museum passes through the library so that they are either free or at a lower cost. Since we live near Manchester, NH, and there are a few museums there, I have used the passes at the library to get us into our local art museum, called the Currier Museum.
A friend of mine and I have taken our kiddos to this lovely art museum twice now, and it is so enjoyable to walk around and see the different art series that they have up, but also see the kids looking at the art as well. Since their little brains are sponges, it makes us happy to even just walk them around in the stroller while we chat.
Going to museums is a great way to help your toddler learn more about our world and the many fascinating things about the world. They will enjoy seeing new things like artwork, natural sciences, science in general, history, space, etc. You can also use the experience of going to a museum to learn new things together and interest your child in the power of learning.
If you live near a city this is certainly easier for you since I find cities tend to have more museums, but if you are not close to a city you can always make a little day trip to go to a museum (and check your library for passes!) so that you can spend a day doing something different. Bring a friend or family member along, too, so that you can have help, have someone else there to share their interest, etc. This can also give you something to talk about with you toddler on the way home to see what stood out to them most and what they enjoyed learning about.
If you have not been to a trampoline park, let me tell you... they are a lot of fun. I recently went to a trampoline park with a friend and our girls and had a blast. I did not have a great idea of what to expect when we went, but once we were in there, it was a ton of fun. We went to Fun City in Goffstown, NH and had a great time going down the slide and bouncing on the big trampolines.
This activity does have a cost depending on where you go. I have heard that the Fun City in Manchester is more expensive than the one in Goffstown, despite being the same company. Though I had to buy our ticket as well as socks, the cost was still around $13 for an hour and a half of Lydia laughing and smiling. She thoroughly enjoyed running, bouncing, and sliding around! I found this activity to be especially great for the winter since she was able to get our a lot of energy all in one go and then take a big long nap when she got home (I'm talking 4+ hour nap, mama, we don't mess around!) and I could get some stuff done.
This is an obvious one, but an activity nonetheless! Since Lydia can walk this Winter, I have taken her out a few times in the snow and she enjoys walking in our driveway as well as having me pull her around our yard in her sled. Going outside is wonderful for kids so that they can get fresh air, but also so that they are not afraid to get a little wet and messy. I remember as a kid always being outside no matter the season and I loved going sledding in the Winter. Taking Lydia outside to play when it is snowing was important to me so that she understood it is super fun!
Like I said before, I will put her in her little sled and pull her around the yard. I will also make snowballs and throw them for her, since she thinks it is funny! I sit her in the snow and help her make a snow angel (which she hates) and then we just touch the snow and explore walking in the snow with our giant boots.
I like to make going outside in the snow even more fun by sharing a mug of hot cocoa when we get inside! I will usually make a mug and use a silicone straw for Lydia once it has cooled down so that it is not so messy for her. We then snuggle on the couch with a book and read while we share our hot cocoa. While I am making the cocoa, she also likes to say "cocoa" over and over again like a broken cheerleader, which is very cute.
Go to a Craft Store
Right now, this is not something that is feasible for me, since Lydia still is too young to do many crafts or be able to pick out anything for herself, but going to a craft store can be a very fun activity for older toddlers! Taking your kiddo to a craft store is a great way to get supplies and make something creative together. Before you go you can have an idea of what you would like to make so that you know what supplies you need, or you can go into the store with nothing in particular in mind so that you can be adventurous together.
This is a fun way to explore your artistic and creative sides together and make something your little one can (hopefully) be proud of. Depending on your crafting skill level, you can pick something fairly easy and quick or something that is a bit more challenging. Encourage your sweetie to put their own twist to a craft, even if it is a box craft that has a standard set of instructions.
You can pick out a craft kit to make something specific, look to Pinterest for inspiration (check out my Kids Crafts Pinterest board here), recreate a craft from your childhood, or do something completely original. Even ask your kiddo what they would like to make and see what you can find in the store to make that possible.
When All Else Fails...
...go to Target! I live down the road from a Target and honestly, I probably need something from there anyways! Sometimes I will take Lydia to Target to get some of our essentials, but make sure that while we are there I am talking to her. I ask her what her opinion ion certain purchases that I am trying to make (she's not much help yet), and show her what I might be getting for her (i.e. diapers, diapers, and more diapers!) so that she feels involved.
She will sometimes chat back with me, which is very nice, and will frequently give me the kisses I ask for, which is super nice. Usually she is just trying to get everyone who walks by us to tell her how cute she is (or at least it seems that way, cause they usually do!) or she is just being pensive in the cart.
I hope you found some of these activities helpful for days in the Winter when you are not quite sure what to do with your toddler! What are some other activities you have discovered for Winter that are toddler friendly? Comment below with your activities!