4 Places to Avoid With Toddlers and 4 Places to Go
Finding fun places to take your toddler that are age appropriate and entertaining can be difficult. You don’t want to take them to a craft show or history museum, after all. You also don’t want to spend a lot of dollars if your two year old is just going to have a meltdown six minutes into your day. I’ve compiled a list of places to avoid with your toddler and places to go that will entertain them on their level and not break the bank every time.
Places Not to Take Your Toddler
Chuck E. Cheese, Celebration Station and Places of That Ilk
Ok. Chuck E. Cheese is great for older kids. And by great, I mean full of germs, cranky, sugar-addled children and harried parents. Sure there are games and prizes and pizza. But have you ever heard the news stories of people getting into fights at Chuck E. Cheese? Honestly, this is not the place to bring your toddler. You’ll end up just chasing them around for two hours and still manage to lose them at least three times!
Crowded Places That Offer Field Trips
I once went to our local science center with the boys (pregnant with the third, mind you), thinking I was smart and going before school got out for the year. Well. It was insanely crowded, full of school groups and it took two adults to keep track of two toddlers. Apparently, day cares, preschools and elementary schools all take their field trips there (usually near the end of the school year). I was not aware of this fact when we spontaneously decided to purchase tickets.
Playgrounds are awesome! You’ll note that they are in both sections of my list. If you have a new walker, however, playgrounds are the scariest place for a mother this side of Elm Street. You’ll constantly be chasing your little guy or girl as they recklessly blunder from one dangerous apparatus to another. They have little regard for their own safety and if they have older siblings they will want to follow them up ladders, down slides and basically into or onto one death trap after another. It’s exhausting keeping up with them. If you must go to a playground with a new walker, stick them in the baby swing and don’t release them until it’s time to go home!
I have never taken my boys to a baseball game. Unless you count my husband’s church softball games but those barely count as games when their record is 0 and 10. I think the three year old would enjoy it for, possibly, twelve minutes. My two year old would never sit for it. If you have any interest in the game being played, do not take your toddler. My recommendation is to take them to a sporting event you have zero interest in because you’ll be focused on your kid the entire time. Chess tournament, anyone?
Places To Take Your Toddler
Playgrounds (Still Free!)
If you have established walkers, the playground is where it is at. They will get exercise, vitamin D and you will get a small break from entertaining them. A small break. Obviously, you still have to watch them and make sure they don’t break their heads. But there’s nothing wrong with watching them over the top of your phone screen or while enjoying a coffee with a friend! Bonus: If you wear them out enough, nap time or bed time will be a breeze! You hope.
Many cities and towns have a children’s museum and these are awesome places for toddlers. Our local children’s museum actually has a specific area for toddlers with a gate so they can’t escape! These places are designed for the attention challenged toddler. They can spend four and a half minutes at each exhibit and still kill an hour or so. They play and learn at the same time and they are away from screens.
Sky Zone (Or Other Trampoline Place)
I know what you’re thinking. Those trampoline places are no place for a toddler. They’ll get trampled and stomped by preteens and overzealous trampoline-loving adults. But, wait! A lot of these places have designated toddler bounce times. I haven’t taken my tods there yet, but our church’s children’s program is planning a trip soon and we’ll be on that bus! What better way for toddlers to get energy out than jumping on a trampoline? My two jump anyway, anywhere so why not take them to a place that actually encourages it instead of, say, the dentist office where my three year old tried to jump off the chair after trying (and failing) to use it as a slide.
Story Time (Free!)
Your local library will usually have designated story times for toddlers where the stories are geared more toward their age group. It may be necessary to strap down the younger toddler in a stroller or other device (straight jacket?) but the older toddlers should love it. They also have story time at Barnes and Noble (one of the only remaining chain bookstores). You can check online for times at your local store.
These are just a few examples of places both good and not as good to take toddlers. If you have any suggestions or ideas, leave them in the comments below!
Also, bubbles. They love that junk.