Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Guest Post - Toddler Approved Summer Activities

You are all in for a treat today. I have Jennifer over at Jenuine Happiness guest posting for me today. Jennifer and I became fast friends through blogging and have bonded over our children. She has the most adorable 18 month old boy, Ben. I love watching him grow up and see what I can look forward to with our girls as they get older. Jennifer is a rockstar mom who has beaten cancer and she is an inspiration to me.

Hi, my name is Jennifer and I blog over at Jenuine Happiness!  I am a huge fan of Danielle, her family and her blog. She is so much fun to follow along with, and I'm very excited to guest post on her slice of the internet. A little more about me: I was a journalism major and worked in corporate communications within the healthcare industry as well as the food/beverage industry. After the birth of our 18-month old son, Benjamin (often affectionately referred to as our Benny Boy) I became a stay-at-home-Momma. About two years ago, with our beloved dog Otis in tow, we made the move from Charlotte, North Carolina to our beautiful town of Hudson, Ohio to be closer to family, and we love it! Obviously, with a one and a half year old, much of our time is spent filling our days and weekends with activities geared toward Ben. So, I thought I'd take a moment to share some Spring/Summertime Activities for Toddlers.

Where to Get News

One of the most difficult things is simply finding events in your area, but it doesn't have to be!

- Our town actually has a traditional bi-weekly newspaper (perfectly quaint and old-school) that lists area activities. If your specific town doesn't have a newspaper, then it might be worth checking a more regional paper.

Parent magazines are often a great resource for kid-friendly events. You can usually pick these up at the front of your local grocery stores. However, rather than making a trip to find one, just check the website. Our Parent magazine is Northeast Ohio Parent.

Local events websites are created just to keep you updated on local activities. The website I visit is Northeast Ohio Family Fun. Honestly, this is where I find most of our upcoming activities.

- Don't be afraid to join community groups either. We have an organization called Hudson Preschool Parent. For $25 a year you are granted access to countless free events in town, discounts for local activities, group field trips and probably most importantly a monthly hard copy newsletter (with a calendar of events included).

- And, if those options don't work, then social media to the rescue! Your town and/or region is bound to have a Facebook group dedicated to kid-friendly events in your area. Just try typing your town and Mom's group or something to that effect in the "Search" box. Hopefully you'll be connected to some families that live close to you too. And, while you're at it, follow some of your local organizations on Facebook because they are bound to share upcoming activities that they will be participating in.

Spring/Summertime Activities

- PARKS! This one seems fairly obvious, but your parent website magazine probably has a list compiled of the best parks in a certain mile radius. Our town is filled with parks, and without the website I would probably not know that half of them existed. As the weather warms up, you can't beat a free spot to let your toddler(s) blow off some energy.

- Parades. These are often forgotten about or overlooked, but they are some of my favorite summertime activities. Don't let Memorial Day pass by with at least looking up local parades. Grab a Popsicle or ice cream cone and watch your little ones eyes light up as the local high school marching band comes by.

- Swimming. Most kids, toddlers included, want to play in the water during the summer. Memberships to local pools/country clubs can be costly, but most of them offer days where you can come for a reduced rate to check them out. Look for these discounts and give a few a try this summer. That way you don't have to make a financial commitment while your little one is still too young to really swim. Also, if you aren't comfortable letting your baby in the pool quite yet, then invest in a water table or sprinkler for your own yard. Countless hours of outdoor fun will ensue.

- Zoos. You would be hard pressed to find a kid that doesn't love the zoo. Between the lions, tigers and bears, oh my is there a lot to do at the zoo! We were gifted a membership to the Akron Zoo. If you do have a zoo membership, be sure to check what discounts that membership gets you at other zoos. You often get half price tickets at other zoos, so if you are visiting family somewhere, it is worth looking into. If your little one is big enough, check the zoo website because they often have scavenger hunts or other activities available for your visit.

- Themed/Holiday Events. Trust me, if there is a holiday or theme for communities/companies to capitalize on, then they probably will be doing so. Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, etc. are all reasons for places to celebrate. For example, our town does a sweet Mother's Day event in our town square. Kids are invited to do crafts and celebrate Mom. You can do some shopping while your there too!

- Weekend Music Nights. Summer is the perfect excuse to get outside! Most shopping developments and/or community commons will host music on the green (or something to that effect). Pack a picnic, and sit outside in the summer breeze to some cover jams. The best part is that these are typically fairly family-oriented, so little ones running around like hooligans is totally acceptable.

- Drive-in Movies. This was our secret date night last summer/fall. If you have a good sleeper on your hands, then this is a definite possibility for you. We're lucky enough to have a drive-in not too far away, and Ben will usually just sleep in the back. If your kids are a little older, then they will love getting to watch a movie in the car. Also, it's the perfect compromise because if they have a mid-movie're not bother anyone.

- Library Events. Your local/regional library probably is very tapped into the community and might on occasion even host events. Our library has some great outdoor activities, including a "touch-a-truck" event that invites all the BIG trucks in town to a nearby parking lot for kids to explore and literally touch all of the vehicles. If you aren't a library member, then you should check yours out!

- Baseball Games. Take your family out to a ball game! You probably have a Major or Minor League team in your area (or somewhat close by). Between the game, mascot, seventh inning stretch, hot dogs and ice is fun for the whole family.

- Berry Picking. The local farms are the perfect backdrop to sunshine-filled days of berry picking. Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries all have a season, so make sure to look up the fruit of your choice.

 A highlight of our activities last summer.

What to Bring

Although you might not have a baby bag anymore, you still need to be prepared for summer outings. Here are a few things you should make sure you have:

Food! Even if you are going to get food. Bring food. If you bring something that you know your little one likes, then you have a safe backup.

A diaper. Whether you think it's going to be a quick trip, or your going to a pool...still bring an extra diaper and wet wipes. You'll probably need them.

A life-jacket. If you are going somewhere with water, whether it is a pool or on a boat ride, bring a life-jacket.

A change of clothes for baby (and yourself). It's always good to have an extra outfit in the car in case your toddler makes a mess. Summer is fun, but often brings mud, ice cream spills and grass stains with it ;) That also means you might need a change of clothes too.

Your camera! If you're anything like me, then capturing these special moments is critical. At the end of the summer you can put together a photo book and remember all the awesome events you participated in during the Summer of 2016.

No matter what summer activities you choose to tackle, remember that you have a toddler in tow, so plans may not go exactly as planned. If you're able to make it work, then great! However, if you need to come back another day, then don't be afraid to change up your plans a bit. If you have any activities that have worked well for you and your little one(s) please make sure to share!

Thank you Jennifer for sharing these amazing Spring and Summer activities. I can't wait to do these with my girls!


  1. Love all of the tips on how to find activities in your area. I need to do a few to find more things around our town. I wish Jen still lived in Charlotte because she'd be so close to me. :)

  2. These are all great options! Thanks for sharing! I wish we had a group like the Hudson preschool parent! That would be so neat!

  3. Great post, Jennifer! This is super informative and you've thought of several things that I haven't... I need to add them to our summer bucket list! And Danielle, I hope you're have the best time! XO

  4. So many great ideas! We haven't tried a drive in yet (gosh, I think the last time I went to a drive in movie was in high school). But they are so fun - I think we may need to try it with Mila this summer! Berry picking is a great idea too!

  5. Such great ideas! You're probably the most fun mom I know, I think I've told you that before, so I love having tips from you =) Ben is so lucky that you do so much with him!

  6. Thanks for allowing me to guest post in your awesome space Danielle! I'm so excited to hear all about your trip. Hope you're relaxing right this very minute!