FIVE EASY SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS
FIVE EASY SUMMER ACTIVITIES
FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS
WITH FAST SET UP AND MINIMAL CLEAN UP, THESE FIVE ACTIVITIES SHOULD BE ON YOUR LIST TO TRY THIS SUMMER
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I’m not going to lie, the faster my first summer with three kids approached the more worried I became. My previous summer’s with only one kid had been so easy! It’s easy to get one kid ready for the sun, it’s easy to take one kid to the park and it’s easy to swim with one kid and give them your full attention. The idea of having three kids, especially when two of them weren’t even walking yet, was fairly daunting. I accepted the fact there wouldn’t be spontaneous pool visits every day that it was hot out, I searched for the best gear to keep two babies contained at the park and splash pad while I ran after the third and I prepped some awesome, easy activities I could do from home. That was going to be the big upside for this summer: I had a house with a yard and a deck instead of a fourth floor apartment.
So here it is, my top five easy activities to do with babies and toddlers this summer! They all take minimal prep, reuse some of the same materials and are easy to adjust based on what age your child it.
POOL NOODLE SOUP
You bet I’m going to rethink calling this Pool Noodle Soup. On the other hand, it’s fairly accurate.
- Inflatable pool (we use this one)
- Pool noodles
- Set of scoops (we use measuring cups)
I used a really sharp knife and sliced the pool noodles into slices about 1in thick. I did one of each colour that the Dollarama had that day and it gave me more than enough pieces! Then I added a few inches of water to the pool, added the pool noodle pieces and then the babies of course.
They threw them, moved them around, crawled around in them and scooped and dumped. They loved to throw them outside of the pool, so I think this summer I’ll add some buckets around the outside of the pool so they have somewhere to throw them into other than just the lawn.
It was a great way to help them stay cool on the hot days when the older one was playing with the neighbours kids in the sprinkler. I could give them the attention needed for babies in a pool, the pool noodle pieces kept them occupied and they could still watch the older kids if they wanted to.
The older kids also loved it – they would collect the pieces the babies threw out of the pool and toss them back in. It would frequently become a game of who could collect the most thrown pool noodle pieces!
When the afternoon was over, I would drain the pool and leave it all in the sun to dry out. After supper I’d go back out and if the pieces were dry (they always were!) they got stored in a large rubbermaid bin. The rubbermaid bin was sturdy enough to last outside so it lived on the back deck all summer! The pool is the same – we used it almost every day, so it gets leaned up on the back deck until we need it next.
FLISAT TABLE WATER PLAY
We purchased this table near the beginning of the summer in preparation for the home daycare opening and it has continually been one of the greatest purchases I’ve made!
- Ikea Flisat Table
- Two Ikea Trofast bins
- Reusable Ice Cubes
- Thrifted kitchen utensils
- On super hot days, some regular ice cubes as well
I lost count of how many times we did this activity this summer. Some days they played in it for over an hour straight! Our neighbour runs a home daycare and in the summer between our houses, we covered ages 1-7 years. They ALL loved it!
I usually fill the bins up about halfway with water, add the ice cubes and then our thrifted kitchen utensils (strainer, measuring cups, some spoons…) and let them decide what to do. Some days it was scooping the ice cube back and forth, some days it was adding grass and rocks and dirt to make soup. Overall it’s such a simple activity you can’t go wrong with!
Oh, and if the reusable ice cubes aren’t you jam or they get bored of them? We have also done:
Any small toy that floats would work – or what you’ve collected on a nature walk would work too! It’s really easy to have the same set up with a ton of variety.
WATER PLAY IN THE PLAYPEN
The ultimate lazy moms summer hack!
Last summer we got the Summer Infant play yard and it actually ended up having more uses than I thought! One of the biggest bonuses is that the floor of it can hold water, making it a super fun but safe water play option for babies. I had it set up on the back porch beside the inflatable pool on an outdoor carpet, dumped some water in and then added some of their favourite toys and reusable ice cubes. The ice cubes would melt really fast in the heat but made great teething toys!
The water will slowly disappear and you do need to eventually add more. But, I was also in the inflatable pool right beside them. So I kept a sandwich container beside the pool and would dump a little water in here and there! The mesh sides on the play yard mean I could keep my eyes on them while also playing in the pool with the toddler.
As always – don’t leave babies unattended in water, even in such a shallow amount.
EDIBLE SAND PLAY
I don’t know about you, but the sound of sand grinding in my kids teeth haunts me. The upkeep and mess of a personal sandbox also doesn’t intrigue me. So on the days it was way too hot to head to the park, we did edible sand play!
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1/3 Cups Coconut oil
- Sand toys
- Ikea Flisat table
- Two Ikea Trofast bins
- Alternative: Plastic Container and the Summer Infant Play Yard
Moon sand is incredibly easy to make. Combine the 2 cups of flour with the 1/3 of coconut oil (just make sure its in liquid form first, of course) and bam a lam, you’ve got moon sand. If you’re using the Ikea Flisat table with multiple children, you’ll want to double or triple the recipe for sure!
One fair warning I will give is that moon sand can get messy. There was a day the sprinkler was on at the same time the moon sand was out and bathing suits ended up with a nice layer of caked on moon sand… Which came out easily in the wash. Same thing with the play yard – it got some nice stuck on spots and some oil spots, all of which came out perfectly fine with a Dawn dish soap scrub and hose rinse!
For the babies, I gave them some moon sand in a plastic container in the play yard, with a few sand toys. I chose this mixture for them because it’s edible! They didn’t grasp the concept of packing sand into the toys to make shapes, but they did love scooping and then dumping it.
For the toddler, I gave her the moon sand in the Ikea Flisat table. I also gave her a few sand toys with a few kitchen utensils. Because moon sand is so similar to a cookie dough, the pop out cookie cutters (sometimes labelled pie crust shape cutters) work super well. I will point out that the ricer you see in the first photo definitely did not.
For clean up the bins, utensils and sand toys got brought inside for a wash with soap in the sink. The table and play yard got washed with a scrubber, soap and the hose. If you still had a lot of time to spare, you could have the toddler wash the materials outside with soap, a scrubber and the hose too!
THE ALMOST TOO SIMPLE WATER PLAY
Maybe you don’t own the Ikea Flisat table or maybe you just don’t want to take it outside. I feel you, because this happened on a day I definitely did not want to deal with taking mine outside!
- Plastic containers (I used two Ikea Trofast bins)
- Reusable Ice cubes
- A few sand toys
I did our set up on our outdoor carpet for the extra comfort, since the twins weren’t walking or standing unassisted yet. Doing it on the carpet also meant my plastic bins wouldn’t be getting scraped along the cement!
So, this activity is exactly the same as the one above in the Flisat table, but made even simpler. It would be great for the littlest ones who are just starting to sit and crawl. If you want to do this with babies who are still doing tummy time you can use a cookie sheet or shallow container!