Out and About

Active Toddlers: Going Out with Little Ones

Getting out and about with active toddlers can be so much fun for them, and for you it’s sometimes a welcome break from thinking of the next entertaining game or activity. Taking time to plan helps to make a trip more successful for both of you and thinking outside the box on destinations can really pay off.

Toddler-Friendly Outings

Toddlers are interested in most things they can get their hands on, aren’t they? That’s because they’re on a mission to learn about the world around them. The officially child-friendly places and outdoor activities for kids are great but I think they only partly fulfill that need.

Outings that satisfy your toddler’s desire to explore and understand the world around her are often very simple and local. Nature, local speciality shops and even public transport can be sources of delight for young children when they’re allowed to take their time and explore. Remember that the ‘getting there’ part can be just as much fun as ‘being there’. Find ideas for cheap family activities that your toddler will enjoy.

While taking your toddler out and about in public, the issue of safety tends to come up, doesn’t it? Do you keep them in their pushchair? Do you let them walk? What about reins? Read some of our experiences with toddler safety.

Even Errands Can Be Enjoyable

Of course, we show them the ‘real world’ regularly, right? Children tend to come along to the shops, post office, dry cleaners, etc with us anyway. The issue is that the usual adult focus is to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible, isn’t it? Which doesn’t end up being particularly fun or educational for young children, and can be quite dull for naturally active toddlers.

Being prepared with some handy travel activities up your sleeve is vital to having a stress-free day. See tips on how to make those necessary “boring” trips more interesting for your little ones.

Achieving Balance

In this fast-paced world we live and with the great intention of giving our children the best, we can pack our weeks full of interesting outings and activities to entertain our active toddlers.

I recognize that all children and parents/carers are different. Of course, you know what suits you both much better than I do! Personally, I’ve noticed that the girls I care for are still tired the next day if they go out both in the morning and afternoon the previous day. I try and alternate busy days and quieter days, where we go just go on one outing. Personally, I think days spent playing at home are fine sometimes, but these active toddlers (and parents) expect daily outings. I agree that routines are very handy too.

Isn’t it so true that in free play young children dash about and can move so fast but yet it takes sooo long to get ready to go anywhere?! I think this is very natural, isn’t being care-free the best part of childhood? Personally I try to balance out having an organized schedule and also free days to offer the toddlers choices and follow their interests.

One of the twins truly enjoys all the playgroups, music and action classes, parks and play centres we attend. The other one usually enjoys watching the action while sitting on my lap and then gradually joins in after months of weekly attendance.

Following Cues

When I follow either of their interests of the moment, we usually end up spending large amounts of time doing very simple things. For instance, the planned trip to a large local park turned into walking up and down a large flight of concrete steps lots of times (while counting), which was on a side trail before we got to the park.

And the other day we were going to a pet shop by bus. The driver got confused and told us to get off at the wrong stop, which I only realized afterwards. The girls were bored of sitting in their buggy (stroller) and needed some freedom. I abandoned finding the pet shop and fortunately found a nearby nature trail where the tots could roam safely. They soon got tired so we caught the bus home.

Their ultra-favourite activity is watching trains. When they were one year old, I was shocked to realize once that we had been watching trains for nearly an hour! I’m not into train spotting but it didn’t actually feel that long. Their enthusiasm may have rubbed off. 🙂

My point is that a toddler’s idea of fun may be different to what we think little kids would like, from our adult perspective. Plus going with the flow has rewards of happy memories for everyone, as long as we learn to let go of our preconceived ideas and live in the moment. I found it has a very pleasant and relaxing effect on mine and the children’s bodies and minds. It feels very freeing!

Of course, you don’t have to step far from the house for your active toddlers to enjoy the outside world. Have fun in your own garden or yard with these outdoor games for young children.