Keeping Your Toddler Busy During Summer

Well, summer is here, and that means my toddler and I can start playing more outside. It’s about time, too, as I think she’s had enough inside play until next winter. After seeing that my toddler is acting really bored this summer with her babies and begging for too much TV time, I decided to make a summer weekday schedule for us to stick by. When she wakes up each morning, I tell her what we will be doing that day, and she can look forward to something happening every day, instead of wondering and begging for TV.

So, here’s our summer weekday schedule. Maybe it will be something that you can use with your little one(s), too.

Morning – Walk or bike to the park down the road. Remember a hat and sunscreen for you both – it’s hot! And bring along iced water to drink after some good calorie burning. (Wal-mart has a kiddie chair that hooks onto the back of an adult bike – around $40.)

Afternoon – Play games together: Hi Ho Cherry-O, Memory Game, Chutes and Ladders, and Hungry Hungry Hippo are some good ones.

Morning – Library Story Time and quest for new books to check out. Don’t forget to just let your child watch the other kids. My daughter would rather do that at the library than find a book (and she loves books!).

Afternoon – Go Browsing at thrift stores like Goodwill, Savers, The Salvation Army. Allow your child to find and purchase one special treasure that only costs a few quarters.

Morning – See the free children’s movie at a participating AMC theater (or check out your own movie from the library and have a special-event movie time in the living room – of course with popcorn!).

Afternoon – Visit Interactive Fountains, and let your child run through the water, screaming with the other children. Watch from the side in a lawn chair with a magazine and bottled water. (Don’t have fountains in your town? Get out the water hose and squirt her…or buy a lawn sprinkler.)

Morning – Walk or bike to the community pool and swim! Don’t forget the sunscreen, the arm floaties, towels, and a good book (for lounging by the pool after swimming’s over).

Afternoon – Home art projects. Make home-made play dough (Google “home-made play dough recipe”), finger paint, color pictures, or chalk on the sidewalk. Then display the latest piece of artwork (if possible) on your refrigerator. Take a picture of the piece, and send it to family via email.

Morning – Take her to a toddler Gymnastics Class at a Recreational Center. The one we go to has tunnels to crawl through, tiny trampolines, a ball area and more. (Or go to a local McDonald’s play area for the tunnels and balls – place an order so you won’t feel guilty using their playplace.)

Afternoon – Invite another mom and child over for a real tea party. (Try Tropic of Strawberry Herb Tea from Celestial Seasonings for a great flavor and no caffeine.) Serve biscuits and cookies along with the tea for a delicious time of fellowship with friends – new or old.

Almost all of the scheduled activities are free and very practical, especially if you live in a larger town. Don’t let your child live in front of the TV. Give her something to do, and let her know that it will be a busy, scheduled summer!

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