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Getting Out Doesn’t Mean You Have To Travel Far
As much as we love travel, we’re not always able to see the world. Whether it’s financial or just timing due to our day jobs, we can’t always find a way to prioritize a trip. We do try to plan 3-4 bigger trips a year, just to be able to look forward to something. That said, I still think there’s a lot of tourism you can do in your own back yard! Especially with having a toddler, Doing 1-2 fun activities a day is a good way to keep everybody happy. So, what do we do? We become local tourists.
This past weekend my husband was out of town. If I haven’t mentioned it already, he’s a race car driver and races happen about 1-2 times a month on the weekends. Charlie and I usually tag a long, but right now life is just inserting itself too much. As a side, we are currently in the middle of a medium-sized home remodel. Our contractor may let me know, sometimes at the last minute, that I need to make a decision on “XYZ” to not slow down the progress. This was the case last weekend and Charlie and I ended up spending our Saturday morning looking for appliances. He behaved so well, but perhaps that was because I bribed him with a trip to the toy store. I am definitely not above bribery…but I digress.
Given we couldn’t go to the race track, when I had planned to, I didn’t have a lot on the docket for weekend activities. It’s always hard to come up with on-the-spot activities. Scouring the web while a crazy two-year old is clawing at your legs, arms, whatever, to watch ‘videos’ on mommy’s phone, just isn’t efficient when trying to come up with something to do. Luckily, I had Saturday taken care of. We had been invited to a friends birthday and I called to let her know we could make it. Thank goodness, she didn’t mind the last minute flip flop. Charlie and his friends enjoyed running around his friend’s back yard doing what crazy two-year old do. AKA fight over who gets to use the toy lawnmower. After such a fun afternoon, we went out with Charlie’s best friend’s family for a fun Italian Dinner.
With Saturday in the books, I needed a plan for Sunday. So that evening, after Charlie was tucked into bed, I spent a good hour looking for fun things to do. Maybe it’s that I am just too picky and living in the Northwest typically means you’re looking for indoor activities due to the weather, but I always struggle finding just exactly what to do. Luckily, the weather was cooperating!
One of my favorite sites is redtri.com. If you haven’t heard of Red Tricycle, they have great tips on local activities, eats and more. This is usually the place I start! On this particular weekend, we came across the’Touch a Truck’ event put on by Junior League. The concept is brilliant! We went to the event location where trucks spanned the parking lot. Charlie was so excited; he wanted to jump out of his stroller and run over to, well, touch a truck! This is a very hands on event. Kids and adults a like can touch, honk, climb, etc. on every truck there. The show stoppers were, of course, the firetruck, dump truck, military Humvee and the ambulance.
TIP: If your child has special needs or simply doesn’t like loud noises, Junior League offers a quite hour. During this hour, there are no horns. I wish I had brought Charlie during this time. He was really sensitive to the sounds, as I think the honking really hurt his little ears.
TIP: If the quite hour doesn’t work for you, I would bring bring Baby Banz. We have a pair, but unfortunately they were with my husband at the race track. For wherever reason, I didn’t think about truck touching as a noisy activity, but it is.
TIP: Get there as early as you can. The way the event works is that every truck has a line to wait in before you can ‘touch the truck.’ The popular trucks like the firetruck, had enormous lines, taking as long as an hour or more.
After we wrapped up with the firetruck, I felt like Charlie had hit his max. So we headed home for lunch and a nice nap. As always, my amazing diaper bag and UPPAbaby CRUZ made the morning a little easier. We had plenty of room for snacks, his baba (blanket), water, sunscreen and all the other essentials.
Once Charlie woke up and had a little snack, I wanted to find him something to do nearby. Getting in the car, again, just seemed like too much work (for me!) and I wanted to stay close to our apartment. Not only was it later in the afternoon by this point, but we were excitedly waiting for Dada to get home. As I mentioned above, the weather was on our side so I decided to take Charlie to the local splash pad and let him cool off and run around with other kiddos. He had a blast and It was a great way to round out the weekend.
Ideas for Local Activities
- Library – a lot of libraries have an area with computers specifically loaded with programs like ABC Mouse and PBS Kids. Bonus – it’s free!
- Hands On as we grow, has a great list of indoor activities for toddlers.
- Indoor playgrounds and cafes. I’ve used sites like parentmap.com to find locations around me.
- Malls, i.e. the indoor play grounds.
- Companies like Springfree Trampoline will often offer open play where the kiddos can come out and try out the trampolines.
- Zoo – some corporations offer family discounts for their employees, bringing down the cost of an annual membership.
- Parks and playgrounds (and maybe a picnic.)
- I also love going to parenting.com to find fund arts and crafts and activities.
- Visit your local small business toy store. Many have free arts and crafts weekend activities.
- While not a local small business, Lakeshore Learning offers weekend crafts.
- Splash pads, weather permitting, are a great way to get out energy.
- Facebook Groups can help you find fun activities.
- Farmer’s Markets are a great way to allow your kiddos to help with the cooking. Let them pick out one fruit or veggie and learn with them how to cook it.