15 Things To Do With Your Toddler This Summer

Summer is OFFICIALLY here!

Mila and I love the warm months and everything to do with our time off. It may be hard to think of fun things to do with your toddler in the heat, but getting outside is so important.

We’re going to track our time outside until next summer. Our goal is to hit 1000 hours and I have a feeling the majority of the time will be when the sun is shining bright. 1000 Hours Outside is a movement to get outside and lessen screen time. They have a fun coloring page to track your hours and I think it’s a fun little challenge.

I also think about how Mila and I only have EIGHTEEN summers together until she goes off to college or enters adulthood. We’re going to try to make the most of them.

This is summer 4/18.

Here’s a little list of what Mila and I will be doing this summer. I can’t wait to see all of our adventures.

Create a Scavenger Hunt

You know how much Mila and I love scavengers hunts. They’re easy to make and can be done anywhere outside. We love to do them in our backyard, but have also done them on hikes, walks, and on vacation too!

Scavenger hunts are great ways to keep your little busy and you can join along too!

Go to the Zoo

Zoos are such fun places to explore. There’s all kinds of different animals and kids are just in awe of them. It may get a little hot during the summer, so make sure to pack extra water.

I’d also suggest trying to go early in the morning or during zoo nights!

If you’re in Ohio, check out the Columbus and Akron Zoo!

Go to the Pool

Mila and I’s FAVORITE summer activity is going to the pool. We love to swim and just relax in the water. She’s also started asking to go to the waterpark. She loves the slides!

For us, swimming passes the time so quickly and cools us down. It’s also fun to play pool volleyball, make floaty forts, and play Marco Polo! Pool days have unlimited opportunities to play and learn.

Watch the Clouds

One way to engage your child’s imagination is to watch the clouds. Ask them what they see in the sky. Mila tries to make up stories along with them too. Let’s just say, she always has me laughing with what goes on in her mind.

Stargaze

Summer means staying up a little later than normal. Just like watching the clouds, stargazing with Mila opens up different conversations than normal. She asks about the moon and how to get to space. We also try to find different constellations, but I’m not very good at finding them right away. I promise I’ll be better at the end of summer!

Play with the Hose

Some days you can’t get to the pool, but still want to play in the water. We love playing with out hose and the attachments with it.

It’s a fun and simple activity that I think most toddlers love.

Just like going to the zoo, going on a walk or hike can be hindered by the heat. Make sure to stay hydrated or go when it’s cooler.

If you go on a hike, it could be fun to go somewhere where there’s water to be cooler too!

Tend Your Garden

If you started a garden, you’ll probably have to tend to it.

Tending your garden can be so much fun for you and your toddlers to watch flowers, fruits, and vegetables grow. It’s even better when you can pick and eat what you’ve helped grow!

Have a Fire

Extend your time outside by having a fire.

You can make food, like s’mores, and just enjoy the moment. We also like telling stories. Anytime there’s light that makes shadows, Mila thinks it’s story time! It’s also a fun way to wrap up a pool day or time spent with family.

Blow Bubbles

This is pretty self explanatory, but deserved a spot on the list!

Play with Chalk

Playing with chalk is not only creative for kids, it can be a great learning activity. You can do color recognition, practice shapes, and even help learn letters too!

Also, it always brings a smile to my face when I see sidewalk chalk art when we go on a walk.

Go Somewhere New

There are so many places to explore. Recently, I’ve joined an Ohio Facebook group to see if there are any quirky or fun new places for Mila and I to go. Honestly, i already have a huge list of things to do this summer and beyond.

If you’re in Ohio, I’d totally recommend going to the Fountain of Dogs in Mt. Vernon. It’s still one of the places Mila asks to go frequently.

Go on a Road Trip

Just like going somewhere new, going on a road trip is another fun option. Mila is finally loving the car. It’s a blast to sing songs together and watch her see the world around her.

The opportunities are endless when it comes to road trips!

Volunteer or Donate

No matter if you volunteer or donate your time officially or just on your own, it’s important to show your child how important it is. On our walks, we’ll pick up trash. When we have extra money, we’ve taken dog food to the humane society.

It’s a way you can get outside and help your community too.

HAVE FUN!

This is the most important thing on the list!

No matter what you do this summer, just make sure to have fun. Kids are only little one times in their lives… and I think it’s magical to watch your children experience this time too. I know I’ll be having just as much fun as her this summer.

What is your favorite thing to do on this list? And what’s something you’re planning that you’d add?

One Weekend In Cincinnati: Toddler Included.

It’s my birthday week and to celebrate early, my family treated me to a weekend in Cincinnati! To be completely honest, I have no idea why they’re so encouraging in my celebration this year since I’m just turning twenty-six… but I’m loving every moment of it.

So why Cincy, especially with a toddler?

Three reasons, which will make for great bullet points for this post. Two of them checked off items off the bucket list and the other, well, it was just all for me. Plus, it’s only about a four hour drive from where we live, which makes it a great weekend escape.

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

I have been patiently waiting for the right moment to take Mila back to the zoo. We went a couple months ago to the Akron Zoo and she really enjoyed it. Now she’s even more into animals so I was excited to see how she reacted.

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is the second oldest zoo in the United States. It houses 1,896 animals and there is so much plant life as well. Some facts or bits of information you might recall about the zoo is the death of the gorilla Harambe and the birth of Fiona the hippo. Both have made national news in the last five years. There’s also a ton of other information you might want to look up if you’re in surrounding states before you’d want to go. You know, incase my recommendation of the zoo isn’t enough.

Anyways, we drove over Saturday morning and went directly to the zoo. We got there around 12:30 and didn’t leave until 7. It was a HOT day and I’m so thankful we got some rain on us to cool us down. They did have fans with mist throughout the park, which Mila was obsessed with. There was a lot of shade throughout the zoo too and great indoor exhibits that got us out of the sun as well. They had awesome food and such a wide range of animals to see. I was really impressed with how big the enclosures were. I always feel bad they’re stuck there, but the animals seemed really content with their surroundings.

The best part of the zoo for me was seeing Mila react to her surroundings. After we first walked in, we went to see reptiles. She was shocked when she saw the alligators and snakes. Her mouth was wide open and she kept looking at me like, “Mom, do you see that huge animal right there. It’s not fluffy like our cats.” She would point to every animals she saw and loved watching the birds. When we got to the mountain lion part of the zoo, they were doing an ‘encounter,’ which meant they were testing the animals instincts and treating them with meat. Mila realized the mountain lion was going to be right in front of the glass, so she just took off and pushed her way in front of everyone. She smashed her face on the glass to get a closer look and everyone was laughing at her because she was so intently watching. Thankfully she smiled and laughed at the people… there.

Even though she loved seeing all the animals and watching us interact with some of the educational games the zoo had set up, Mila had her toddler moments. The whole entire time, she did not want to sit in her stroller. She wanted to push it herself with NO help. When we would try to help her steer or grab the handle, she would yell “NO” or “DON’T.” Eventually she gave up and let herself sit for a while. She had to be tired, but didn’t nap until we got back to the car. Then, in the gorilla exhibit, she pushed a little girl down and yelled at a little boy. For no reason really, just because they were close to her and she didn’t want them to be. What can you even say though? I’m constantly trying to tell her to be nice, but she has a mind of her own.

Thankfully those were only minor incidents with her. She loved watching all the animals and smiled every chance she got. I can’t wait until the next time we go back to the zoo and she’ll know what sounds the animals make and maybe won’t be a little bully too.

King’s Island: Soak City

When I put ‘waterpark’ on our bucket list, I just thought we’d go to our local one. This one though… way better. There were different attractions for all ages to do. Mila loved playing in one particular area, but also ventured out in other areas that might have been a little advanced. She went down this ship slide a few times and then decided she was queen of it. During this time, she directed all the other kids to go down the slide and would tap on their backs when they weren’t going fast enough. Have I raised a strong willed child? Yes. Do I regret it? No, maybe at times now, but when she grows up, she won’t let anyone push her around.

She loved that our whole family was in the water playing with her. We splashed her in the kiddie pool and threw her back and forth in the big wave pool. On the kid slides, we attempted her to go down as many as we could do. She was a little afraid of a few of them, but I’m glad she got to experience what she thought she was ready for. The grownups, had fun playing with Mila and riding different rides. I think everyone enjoyed their time there, even though it completely wore us out.

Something memorable I did was take a waterproof, disposable camera with me. I take a TON of pictures and I wanted to make sure I didn’t hurt my phone and was able to get up and close with Mila in the water. I’m pretty sure she held the camera more saying “cheeeeeeese,” than I actually had it in my hands. No matter what though, I’m so thankful for what we captured on camera, but more happy about the lasting memories we made together.

Watching Mila discover the world and travel is everything I ever wanted for her. I’m so thankful we are able to go to different places and do things that aren’t always easy to do. These are the days that are so special to me and it truly made my birthday week, even though it’s not even over yet.

Rhinegeist Brewery

I know this post has gotten entirely long, so I’m keeping this short and simple. Rhinegeist holds my beer of the summer and it’s called Bubbles. This brewery is probably one of my favorite places in the world and I’d recommend it to anyone. Definitely check it out if you’re in the area. You will not be disappointed.

Plus it had a pretty amazing rooftop too.

So, there’s a few more bucket list items checked off. We’ll be working diligently to get the rest off as well. Fingers crossed. It’s going to be a busy next few days.

Mom Fail: Early Morning Edition.

Ever since Mila slept through the night (well mostly slept through), she’s liked to sleep in. The earliest she’ll wake up on her own is around 8, but usually around 9:30/10. After the initial wake up, she likes to be cuddled and ‘tells’ me about her dreams. Totally not complaining about her desire to sleep in… unless we have somewhere to be in the morning. This weekend happened to hold one of those times.

All week, I swore and told everyone I had to be up early on Saturday. We had to be in Zoar by 9am. I set alarms two days before and tried my hardest to get Mila to sleep early so she could wake up on time the days before too. On Friday, I set our outfits out, made overnight oats, and struggled to get her to sleep at a ‘normal’ bed time. Before I went to sleep, I triple checked to make sure the alarms didn’t somehow go off and you know I had 15 of them set to make sure we woke up.

Fortunately, everything went semi smooth on Saturday morning. I woke up when I needed to and got ready before Mila even stirred. When I woke her up, she did fairly well. I’m pretty sure she was still half asleep, but we got packed up and we’re on our way. Although everything went smooth, I was still running a little behind. After I passed Mila’s overnight oats back to her, I sent a text letting the person know I’d be a little late. I was about halfway to Zoar, so 15 minutes out, when I got her text back... turns out, our pictures were the next day, Sunday. I had completely read the previous message wrong and my mind was set. After the stress of making sure Mila was up and we got there at a decent time, I just started to laugh. This was just our luck and my little mom fail.

We ended up making my little mistake into an adventure by going to play at Tuscora Park and crossing another item off our bucket list. Mila absolutely loves going to different parks and even though we’ve been there before. She still had a blast. It’s fascinating to see how much she’s changed in her play and interactions with other kids.

She can’t quite get up the big slide, but refuses to sit in the baby swing. If kids are smaller than her, she’ll go up and try to touch them. If they’re bigger, she thinks she’s big too and tries to talk to them. No matter who’s around though, I’m still her safe place and home. She runs to me when she’s scared or upset or just needs a hug. That warms my heart more than anything and let’s me know she loves me no matter how much I mess up.

I love being that for her and I hope I always can be; even though I think she’ll be less and less forgiving when I get her up early for no reason.

If you’re wondering, Sunday went fantastically. She smiled for pictures, went to a birthday party, and got to play outside. She took TWO naps after fighting me to take one lately. We even had to wake up early this morning and she did so well. Hopefully tomorrow, the fourth day in a row, she does the same. Fingers crossed.

So instead of getting mad at myself for my early morning fail, Mila has taught me to not take everything so seriously and to make adventures out of missed ones (or ones that we were just way too early for).

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mila and I have a busy week ahead and I can’t wait to share our next adventures; fails or not.