Warmer days are here at last! I am so excited to get to spend as much time as possible outdoors with our little guy. After being cooped up indoors and isolating all winter we can’t wait to get outside for safe and socially distanced activities. In Edmonton, we don’t have any real beaches close by, but hopefully community pools will open up again! Plus there should be lots of socially distant activities going on around the city. If you are looking for some fun things to do this summer with your toddler, you are in the right place. Here is our list of 30 Toddler Summer Bucket List ideas to get out of the house and have fun!
For more fun, check out my DIY Bubble Foam Sensory Bin. It is a perfect (and super easy) activity to do in the backyard to splash and play!
Toddler Summer Bucket List
1. Visit the Farmer’s Market
Supporting local is more important than ever these days! Shopping at the Farmer’s Market helps support farmers, and there is so much cool stuff to buy. Plus there’s often live music and food trucks! I love a good food truck dinner.
2. Go to a Petting Zoo
Our little guy loves animals. He isn’t scared at all to touch and pet anything! He is also incredibly gentle. It is so fun to watch toddlers and animals interact. We love to go to a petting zoo on a farm so we can also learn about farmers and how to take care of animals.
3. Visit the Zoo
This one is a little controversial. I really hate the idea of zoos. Keeping wild animals locked up does not sit right with me and I wish they were never invented in the first place. That being said, most of these animals can’t go back to the wild because they wouldn’t survive. Plus it’s an amazing opportunity to see and learn about animals that we would never normally get to see in person. And if the zoo doesn’t get enough support those captive animals they already have will suffer. So that is how I justify the occasional zoo visit. And like I said before, Malcolm loves animals.
4. Go for Ice Cream
As much as possible! Edmonton doesn’t have an extensive ice cream scene. But going for a drive to go get ice cream is my favorite thing to do in the summer! If nothing else, I know that this one will be crossed off of the toddler summer bucket list (multiple times!)
5. Go Swimming at a Pool or Beach
Again Edmonton beaches are not that great or abundant. Hopefully the community swimming pools re-open this summer. I think swimming will be a big help to Malcolm’s physiotherapy so I would love to take him as much as possible. At the very least, we can blow up a kiddie pool in the backyard and splash around.
6. Make a Sandcastle
If you don’t live near a beach try Kinetic Sand! It is moldable and squishable and never dries out. I really dislike sand in the house- it gets everywhere! But a sand table outside is a great sensory activity. Of course you don’t want to leave sand unattended outside. The neighborhood kitty cats might visit and leave you some presents! So if you put in a sandbox or sand table make sure you get a lid!
7. Play at a Splash Pad
Check out if your city has splash pads around your neighborhood! A splash pad is basically like a little playground with water features for the kids to play in. It’s a great way to stay cool in the summer especially if you don’t have access to a pool. I know that we don’t have one that we can walk to, but there are a few a short drive away. If your city doesn’t have splash pad, make your own in the backyard with a sprinkler and kiddie pool.
8. Make Healthy Popsicles
Popsicles are so easy to make at home. Plus you can control the sugar and dyes added to them. You can mix and layer juice and fruit. Or you can also freeze yogurt for yogurt pops. And after the kids have had their fun, add in some wine, prosecco, or booze for adult popsicles! Check out these adorable popsicle molds:
9. Go for a Bike ride
If your toddler can’t ride a bike yet try a tricycle or a ride along seat on your bike. If your budget is tight this summer try searching Kajiji or Facebook Marketplace for a second hand seat. It’s great exercise for you and it’s a really cool new view for your little one. You don’t need to go mountain biking, just a leisurely ride through the park.
10. Run through the Sprinkler
Who doesn’t have a great memory of running through the sprinkler as a kid? Set up a sprinkler station in the backyard for the kids to run through. If you have a trampoline, set up the trampoline under the sprinkler for even more fun!
11. Go Berry Picking
Check out the local berry farms in your city and pick a bucket or two! There’s nothing better than eating fresh off the vine berries. Plus you can make your own jam, syrup, popsicles etc. Just don’t forget to sunscreen the back of your necks or wear a hat/scarf to cover it. Bending over to pick the berries exposes that delicate area. I’ve been burned before and it’s not fun!
12. Squirt Gun and Water Sponge Fights
Instead of fussing with water balloons, cut sponges into strips and tie them together. It has the same soft squish of a water balloon, but you just have to re-wet it and throw it again. Same concept with squirt guns, just refill for hours of fun. Try target practice games on the fence of your backyard.
13. Squirt Gun Painting
Another fun thing to with squirt guns is fill them with water soluble paint (or chalk paint)! Make cool art on paper or the sidewalk. Use squirt guns from the dollar store and fill each one with a different color. Just make sure to wash out the paint before it dries in the canister. I love taping off a picture or a letter and letting my toddler go to town on the rest of the paper/canvas. The negative space will stay white and the rest will be beautiful chaos. It’s a great way to make abstract art when your toddler doesn’t have the dexterity for coloring yet.
14. Draw with Chalk and Spray Chalk
This one is a classic! But there are so many new twists on it now. Spray chalk is a mix of powdered chalk and water that make it spray/paintable. There is also puff paint chalk, neon chalk, sparkly chalk. And it’s a great way to try to build mind/body connections. Plus chalk is so easy to wash off that it doesn’t matter if your little one gets messy!
15. Make Giant Bubbles
You can either tie a loop of string between to sticks, or you can wrap a hula hoop in rope. Both are great ways to hold giant bubbles. You’ll need either a big bucket to dunk the string, or a kiddie pool for the hula hoop. I think one of the coolest things to do is to set your kid in the kiddie pool, then lower the hula hoop around them. Slowly raise the hula hoop and you’ll create a giant bubble-with them inside! Plus on a slightly breezy day the wind will help you blow the giant bubbles for kids that are too little to run with a hula hoop.
For a strong bubble solution mix:
- 6 cups of water
- 1/2 cup of dish soap (Dawn dish soap is best)
- 1 tbsp. glycerin
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
Mix together the cornstarch, baking powder and water until dissolved. Then add in the other ingredients. After mixing, it’s best to let the mixture ‘set’ for an hour before using. Just make sure to gently stir after the hour is up. Give a gentle stir every 10-15 min during use so the solids don’t settle to the bottom. You can save the leftover liquid in an airtight container in the fridge and it will last for weeks!
16. Shaving Cream Slip & Slide
Amp up a normal slip and slide with shaving cream! Clear your desired area from any stray rocks/twigs etc. Lay down a tarp or plastic sheet (however long you like). Add a little bit of water, but it doesn’t need to be saturated. Start spraying shaving cream (NOT shaving gel) all over the tarp. Make sure the tarp is well covered. Then start sliding! You can also slide on an inflatable or boogie board that fits on the tarp. I don’t recommend standing and sliding as it gets super slippery! Make sure that the tarp ends well before any fence or wall. If you lay down your tarp on a hill, make sure the tarp covers the whole way down with a soft place to land! Reapply shaving cream as needed to keep the area super slippery. Just don’t forget to rinse off the residue after you’re done!
17. Roast Marshmallows and Make Smores
If you don’t have a fire pit, use a candle! Jazz up classic smores with bananas, cookies (instead of graham crackers), peanut butter cups, Nutella, or Oreos! For all my vegan mamas out there, check out this recipe for homemade VEGAN marshmallows!
18. Go for a Nature Hike
Check your local area for toddler friendly nature hikes. Pack lots of water, lots of snacks, lots of sunscreen and bugs pray! Even short, easy hikes can be difficult for little toddler legs. Be prepared for lots of breaks or a plan to carry your child when they get tired. Check out these toddler piggyback helpers to help you carry your (not so little anymore) toddler on your back or shoulders.
19. Go Camping
Camping with kids is a lot more work, but the joy of seeing them run around in nature is so worth it! If you think your toddler is a little too little for true camping, try renting an RV or camping in the backyard (or even living room). Practice play or pretend camping so they understand what it will be like before committing to the big adventure.
20. Visit a Theme Park or Carnival
Every city/town has a carnival visit during the summer! Even if you can’t go on any of the rides there are lots of fun experiences at the carnival for toddlers. Try face painting, a game or two, and of course carnival food trucks! Plus there are normally shows to watch or live music! There is just something about the carnival that inspires magic.
21. Visit the Science Center, Museum, or Plantearium
Edmonton is lucky enough to have an awesome interactive science center that hosts all sorts of different events. Hopefully museums, science centers, and planetariums are able to open up this summer (with COVID protocols in place) or at least host some cool outdoor events. Making learning fun and combing play is a great way to set your toddler up with a great foundation before they are ready for school.
22. Have a Picnic
Eating your food outside just makes everything that much more fun! Pack up a watermelon, sandwiches, and a blanket and you’re good to go. Or get take-out from a local restaurant and eat it at a picnic table. Walk to your local park, or set up in the backyard. For even more fun pack a speaker for some music and a ball or frisbee.
23. Watch the Fireworks
Last year, the Canada Day fireworks were cancelled due to the pandemic. Hopefully this year they are back on and better than ever! I love watching fireworks from the park. Don’t forget to pack up some blankets, bug spray, and noise-cancelling headphones for little ears. Prepare them for the big noises so they don’t get scared.
24. Jump on the Trampoline
If you don’t have a full size trampoline in your backyard, think about getting a mini-toddler sized version. Or visit a trampoline park in your area! Try to visit during off peak times so that it’s less crowded. They often have other attractions like foam pits, blow up slides and bouncy castles.
25. Watch an Outdoor Movie or a Go to Drive in Movie
Movies in the Park or Drive in Movie Theaters became huge last summer with the pandemic. I am hoping that the trend continues this summer! Bring your own popcorn, snacks and blankets! And if you are visiting a drive in, be prepared with jumper cables or a self jumping battery. Keeping your radio (and possibly your A/C) on without idling your car can drain your battery!
26. Paint Rocks
Outdoor painting is always so much more appealing because there is less mess to worry about. Decorate your garden or your driveway with these toddler painted rocks. Plus its a good activity to keep your toddler occupied while you work in the garden.
27. Feed the Ducks (seed not bread!)
Walk to the duck pond with some bird seed and watch your toddler feed the birds. Just make sure to use bird seed NOT bread. Feeding ducks bread is so bad for their tummies. Canadian geese are some of my favorite birds (weird as that sounds). And I love listening to them honk. That being said, they will defend themselves and their young pretty viciously. Be prepared to grab your toddler and run if they start honking and flapping their wings at you!
28. Go to the Library for a Read Along
Hopefully libraries re-open soon. They have so many (usually free) community events and activities. From craft nights to story times there are so many fun things to do at the library. Our toddler is just starting to get into storybooks and reading and we want to really encourage that! Plus you don’t need to clutter your house with a million books, just check them out at the library! Some of my favorite memories from being a kid were going to the library.
29. Go to a Concert in the Park
Socially distanced of course! Live music is such a fun experience. Malcolm loves music (just like his Papa). I like to keep up to date on any live music concert type events happening in our area on Event Brite. Supporting local musicians is more important now than ever!
30. Roll down a Hill
This seems so simple, but aren’t the best memories simple? Our local park has a good sized hill. Just rolling with our toddler down that hill until were dizzy and giggling is something I am so looking forward to! I think every little kid should get grass stains all over their clothes in the summer! Just make sure you have a good stain remover 😉
So those are my 30 Toddler Summer Bucket List Ideas. Comment Below: What are you most looking forward to this summer?
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