The kids are in school. Now what? My toddler looked at me and said, “Mom, what are we going to play today?” After a few hours of playing and doing chores, I realized that sometimes we are going to need time for adventures. I can only play dress up or drive cars for so long before I need a break. Here are some ideas for spending time with toddlers while the rest of the kids are in school.
Visit the Library:
Most cities have libraries filled with books, but they also have story times and other toddler programs. We have visited many different programs in libraries and we always have a great time. So call or visit your local library and start attending story time today. This is the perfect place to create a love of books, and also prepare them a little bit for school (sitting down and listening).
Play at a Park:
We love going to parks and exploring. Toddlers love to climb and learn about their bodies. Utah is filled with lots of fun parks. Here are a few of our favorites that we think your toddler will love, too.
- Ryan’s Place Park in Logan: This fun park has a separate section for Toddlers.
- Firefighters Park in Bountiful: Park that looks like a Fire Engine
- Wheadon Farm Park in Draper: This park is perfect size for toddlers, and the farm theme is awesome.
- Shay Park in Saratoga Springs: Park that looks like a Train
- Wines Park in Lehi: This park has lots of shade and a small toddler play area.
- North Park in Provo: Updated recently just for young kids!
- Legacy Farms Park in Mapleton. Similar to Wheadon Farm Park, but in Utah County.
- Park Discovery in Cedar City has lots of places to climb and play, even for toddlers.
- Thunder Junction in St. George is an all abilities park, so there are lots of great options for little ones.
- For our complete list of parks, visit our Parks tab.
Go to a Hands-on/Interactive Museum:
Utah is filled with amazing hands-on museums, probably because we have a lot of kids in our state. The interactive museums are great for toddlers because they are allowed to touch and explore. So find a fun museum near you, and let your toddler learn about something new. Here are our favorite interactive museums.
- Museum of Natural Curiosity in Lehi
- Museum of Ancient Life in Lehi
- Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum in Salt Lake City
- Treehouse Museum in Ogden
- Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City
- Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City
- St. George Children’s Museum in St. George
Take a Nature Walk:
Spending time outdoors always brightens everyone’s day. Even in the winter, you can still bundle up and walk around your neighborhood. We encourage you to take your toddlers out into nature. Find a duck pond, go on a short hike, walk to a friend’s house, whatever you do to go out and enjoy some fresh air.
Our toddlers love when we have a little scavenger hunt as we walk. Grab a clipboard and tie a pencil or crayon to the clip, so it won’t get lost. Print out one of our simple nature scavenger hunts by season, and have your toddler look for things around them. Allow them to take time and watch insects, or even collect leaves. Nature Walks and scavenger hunts are one of our favorite toddler adventures. One nature scavenger hunt printable that we like is from Parents. This one is for Fall. They also have one for Winter, Spring, and Summer.
Here are some of our favorite places for nature “walks” throughout Utah. Some of these are hikes, and others are parks with little nature trails. For a list of 24 Awesome Toddler hikes, check out this post.
- Swinging Bridge Nature Trail in American Fork Canyon
- Bicentennial Park in Provo
- Nicholls Park in Fruit Heights (There is a nature trail behind the park)
- Miller Park in SLC
- Jungle Trail in Draper
- Silver Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon
- Lisa Falls in Little Cottonwood Canyon
- Paul Ream Wilderness Park in Provo
Most hikes and parks are free, but these are some of our favorite free indoor activities to help us get out of the house for a few minutes with young ones.
- Bean Museum at BYU
- Scheels (Draper)
- Cabelas (Lehi or Farmington)
- Springville Museum of Art (great hands-on activities downstairs)
- Gale Center of History (South Jordan)
- Walk around Gardner Village (there is something fun every season)
Adventures at Home:
We know that not every day can involve an outing. We all have things we need to get done. You can still have fun with your toddler at home. Here are three simple things that we do, and they use items you will have in your home right now.
The best recipe for play dough that I found is on Dresses N Messes. This recipe lasts forever in a Ziplock baggie, and it’s easy to make. My kids love that you can make it any color that you want. Right now, we have blue, but we have made almost every color in the rainbow. It is also easy to clean up, and it washes right out of clothes!
My boys love science experiments, and my toddler loves when we do experiments that he can do on his own. So I put together a list of our favorite science experiments for toddlers, and they all use color! This makes the experiments so exciting!
One way that I am able to keep my toddler busy for quite sometime is when we build a fort, or we pretend we are camping inside. So grab some pillows and blankets, drape them over tables and chairs, and put a little lantern on flashlight inside with some books and a snack. He loves this!
Picnic in the Backyard:
My littlest one asks almost every day if we can have a picnic in the backyard. It is such an easy adventure! I just lay out a blanket, take his lunch outside, and we sit together in the sunshine. So simple, yet it makes for a very happy toddler!