I remember the first time I had to look after my little boy, I was thinking, 'how am I going to keep him busy for a whole day! This post gives a few ideas, some are free and some are not, but all have kept my little boys entertained for at least a few hours.
1. Soft Play
Always a safe choice, dry, warm and they usually have a cafe you can get a hot chocolate from. As soon as your child can crawl then soft plays are a good choice. There are a wide range around from small ones with a ball pit and a slide to gigantic padded adventure playgrounds with death slides faster than 'the Big One'. I must admit that some I actually quite enjoy as well.
2. Watch A Movie
Watching movies is not always a bad idea, I am not a big fan of watching TV all day everyday but watching a movie once in a while is a nice experience. You can choose to watch a movie at home with a few treats or go to the cinema. When I first took my son to the cinema he was around 2 1/2, he was a bit fidgety and I think he enjoyed the chocolate buttons more than the film, but it was a nice Daddy-Son experience. Since then we have seen a few films at the cinema and we often go to the Cineworld 'Movies For Juniors' which are £2.00 a showing for kids and adults.
Depending on how old your child is and whether they have been swimming before, you may wish to choose a heated pool. Heated pools are often found in health clubs, hotels and fitness centres but often have times when they are available for public bookings. A heated pool is a nice introduction to swimming for your child and eventually you can take them to a standard pool. Always check the temperature of the pool and be safe, some heated pools are too warm for babies so it is worth ringing the club first to check.
Pinterest is a fabulous tool for parents. It offers lots of craft ideas you can do at home. These can include making birthday cards or just creating nice craft items to keep. Pinterest is a great tool especially if you lack a bit of creativity. It has pins for food, clothes, art, craft, photography ... the list goes on and there are lots of ideas of things to do and make with toddlers at home.
If you've got paint and glue though make sure your kids are not wearing their best clothes and you've put some newspaper down because kids LOVE to make a MESS!
5. Play Outside
This is a pretty simple one but my own children love just spending time outside in the garden. Even if it's raining, they love to pop their wellies and all in ones on and have a play in the puddles. If it's nice we have a picnic or go on a bug hunt.
6. Go For A Walk
If you fancy a bit more of an adventure then you can go for a walk. There are lots of walking apps out there and if you want to turn your walk in to a bit of a game try Geocaching. Geocaching is where you use GPS to look for items while you're walking, it can make a walk in to an exciting challenge. Another option is go to a National Trust property; we have National Trust membership at £8.25 for 2 adults and kids under 5 are free!
Taking time to read with your children is something that I am a big supporter of. You can turn this in to a trip out by visiting a library. Lots of children's libraries offer special events, book readings and facilities to engage children in reading. Borrowing books is free and allows for some great Daddy-Child time.
Another option is to turn a book in to an adventure. Go on a bear hunt round your house while you read 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt'; kids love a bit of drama and role play.
8. Build A Den
This is another activity you can do inside or outside. Inside all you need is a duvet, a few pillows and something to prop the den up with. Outside a tree, a few sticks and maybe some plastic sheeting or an old bed sheet (if it's not raining).
9. Day Out
This is the most expensive choice but kids always love a day out. Day Out With The Kids is a great website for finding things to do in your local area and gives you a variety of activities which can be cheap or expensive. My boys love a good trip to the Zoo or a Farm.
If you can get to London then all the museums are free; we have visited the Natural History Museum and Science Museum and both were great for toddlers and kids.
10. Go To The Park
This can be weather permitting (but not always). We have spent many an afternoon going to the park, playing on the swings, slide and roundabout. The park always gives some opportunities for some great photos as well.
Well that's my 10 things to do with toddlers, I hope I have given you some ideas and if you have any other suggestions then please comment below.