The weather is getting lovely and parents everywhere are getting excited to get out and about with the their kiddos. As a mama of two under two, I have had my fair share of spring fever, but I always find myself disappointed that so much children’s entertainment is geared towards the slightly older customer. Don’t worry, I’ve done some of the legwork for you. Here are some fun things I’ve gotten into with my two little guys, and- BONUS- they’re all free!
1. Playground Picnics
Going to the playground seems like a no brainer, but did you know that there are certain playgrounds that are specifically geared to younger kids? The Fay Scharmett Memorial Playground (“the dinosaur playground”) in Leominster is for children for kids under 5, and I’ve been taking my son Milo there since he was 10 months old. There are kid-sized slides and swings, as well as some great climbing structures shaped like trucks, buses, and jeeps. Another selling point is the huge field that stretches between the road and the playground itself; we’ve taken dollar store bubbles, snacks from home, and spent a great morning with my four-month-old son Elliott kicking on a blanket and Milo shooting back and forth between making friends on the playground and asking me for bubbles to pop. Location: Corner of Hall and Merriam in Leominster, Ma
2. Library Story Times
Whether you need a break from the sun or are just looking for a way to mix up your weeks, many local libraries have amazing story times to make your day. In Leominster, the story times are broken up by age; even though the calender suggests the youngest group starts at 12-months-old, Milo really enjoyed it at 9 months, and there are always younger siblings along for the ride. There is a great mix of puppets, songs, instruments, scarves, and stories, and if your little person decides mid-story time that they are done (not that this has EVER happened in our family), the children’s library itself is a great place to share some books and puzzles and explore. Definitely check out the children’s section of your nearest library, it will be a resource for years to come. Location: A library near you!
3. Clinton Splash Pad
This little splash pad, located on Berlin street in Clinton, is a great way to stay cool without the hassle or commitment of a day at the water park. It has fencing on three sides and offers sprinklers of various heights and spray-strengths. Operated with the touch of a button, there are no lifeguards present, but children are welcome to run and play. If the water is not a hit, there is a small playground structure right next to it. This is another place where the blanket/bubbles/snacks can add a layer to the day and (most importantly, perhaps?) buy you an extra 20 minutes of fun time. Location: Berlin Street in Clinton, Ma
4. Barnes and Noble
Yes, that’s right, Barnes and Noble to the rescue this summer (and year round, really). The popular bookstore has a great kids section, train tables, weekend story times, and cookies in the cafe. If you have a toddler, they’ll love exploring the books and using the trains. If you have a a teeny tiny family member, they can enjoy some board books from their stroller, and you might even get lucky enough to be able to grab a cup of coffee and quick browse! Begin or end with a stop in the cafe for a little treat, if you like. We’ve spent many a rainy or sweltering afternoon in Barnes and Noble, it never fails to provide a great outing for our whole family. Location: Find your nearest store
When taking out my kids under two, its been really helpful remind myself that patience is necessary. These are brand new humans I’m trying to entertain, and sometimes an event that was a bust at first will be a huge hit only a week later. Don’t give up! Keep trying different outings, and you will find a rhythm that works for your kids and for you. Speaking of you, do you have any tips for great places to take the smallest kiddos? I’d love to hear where you go!