Life with a busy toddler can be challenging at times. Audrey is, and has always been, a child that is always on the move. She is much like me, and gets stir crazy very easily. On days when I have nothing planned and we spend the whole day at home, she gets restless, which often ends in her constantly trying to get into things she shouldn't and me getting frustrated.
I am thankful that I have met a great group of Mama's here that have kids all around the same age. Play dates are a saving grace -- for both mommy AND kiddo! However, as with anything, we all have busy lives and schedules and regular meet ups do not always happen. So for this reason, I am often left trying to figure out how to entertain my busy girl.
A couple months ago we purchased a zoo pass to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. We figured that it was the most cost effective option as otherwise it would cost me (or us, if Ryan comes along on a weekend) anywhere from $14-28 each visit. Having the zoo pass has been great because we can get out of the house for a few hours, Audrey enjoys looking at the animals, and it doesn't cost us anything!
I recently discovered the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library which is a fantastic place to go on a rainy day, or even a hot day when you don't feel like being outside. They have SO many things for little ones to do, from climbing toys, a play kitchen, puppet area, books, arts & crafts and more! Audrey always has a good time, and it allows her to run around and play with different kinds of toys she doesn't have at home. It's also child proofed, so I don't have to worry about being inches behind her every second, making sure she's not getting into things she is not supposed to. For $5 a visit, you can't beat it!
We've also been to many parks & playgrounds around the area. Audrey loves it, but its definitely harder on me because you need to be on her at all times, making sure she doesn't fall down or off of anything! But it does help her run off some pent up energy she always seems to have! And its a quick decision if there is nothing else planned and we just need to get out of the house for a bit before nap time (mommy's favorite time of day).
The city and surrounding areas also offers lots of public pools and spray parks. Last summer she was a bit too young to really enjoy any of these things, so this summer has been great for these types of activities. She's at an age where she is pretty independent, even in a baby pool. I have to be right there with her, but I don't have to hold her the whole time and she can splash around and play and just have fun. We've tried two different pools, and so far, we've preferred the heated option! :p She really is a water baby though, which makes me happy!
A few local movie theater's offer free or very discounted (as in, like $1 a ticket) movie tickets for older kid movies a few mornings a week. I know for a fact that Audrey is not old enough for a movie theater yet, but for free or a dollar, I may try and take her one day soon! She does love watching movies at home, so who knows? She may end up surprising me ;)
I also took her to the library right up the street for the first time a couple weeks ago. Luckily it has a whole basement designated for children books, because my child does not quite get that you are supposed to be quiet in the library. She was running around laughing and yelling "hi!" to the other kids! I let her choose a few books herself, and did not really look at what she picked until later that day when we were home. The title of one of her selections would explain why the librarian asked me if I wanted to add "my spouse...or...someone else" to my library card. HAHA! We got a good laugh out of that!
So far, our summer has been a busy, but fun one! I feel like we are always on the go with something to do.
What types of things do you do to keep your little one's busy during the hot months of summer? I'm always looking for new ideas!