20 Activities for You, Your Toddler AND Baby

The transition from 0 to 1 was quite difficult for me, so when I found out I was pregnant I was so nervous how I was going to do it again- WITH a toddler! It all seemed so overwhelming. Take it from me mama, the load does get heavier, but don’t be discouraged because YOU also get stronger.

I’m about to celebrate baby #2’s 1st birthday, and I can honestly say although we had some rough sleepless patches in the year (darn that 4m sleep regression), this has been one of the BEST years of my LIFE.

With that being said, here are 20 fun activities my toddler, baby and I enjoy together.

  1. Play Hide & Seek. (Carry the baby and take turns looking for or hiding from your toddler. It’s great practice for your toddler to count, take turns, practice being patient and QUIET, and bonding with their new sibling realizing it’s FUN to have a little brother or sister to play with).
  2. Water Table play. Add ice cubes, balls & cups for more fun.
  3. Make Oobleck. (1 part cornstarch & 1 part water). This is MESSY but very easy to clean up. I recommend doing it on a bare easy to wipe service, cover chairs with a towel, and have a bowl of water & paper towel nearby to rinse the toddlers hands). Add food coloring or edible luster dust to make it pretty.
  4. Dance Party! Turn on some of YOUR favorite danceable tunes (It doesn’t have to be Cocomelon- your mental health matters! haha) and dance around! Music does wonders for baby’s brain development & it’ll help burn your toddlers energy.
  5. Bake Together. While baby is in the high chair (so both of your hands are free to help your toddler) baking is a great way for your toddler to understand sequence (first, then, after, next-), following instructions, fine motor skills and starting & finishing a project together. Banana bread is a perfect place to start and a tasty treat for everyone! Your baby will also enjoy seeing the pouring, mixing & interaction.
  6. Go on a Treasure Hunt. Do this by hiding items (stuffed animals, dollar store large gold coins, anything that’s not a choking hazard) in an area like your living room and have your toddler & infant look for the items. You can even have your toddler “hide” the items for the baby to find too. This way they can cheer on their little sibling as they crawl or learn to walk towards it. If baby is too little you can pretend to look for the treasure while carrying your baby to the item.
  7. Use magnetic tiles for your toddler to build towers that your baby can knock down. Call the game “Godzilla” or “Tear down the Tower” and make sure your toddler understands your baby destroying their tower is a PART of the game; otherwise they may be upset (which you just explain that’s what babies do!)
  8. Doodle Mat. These are so fun and mess free because the “pens” are filled with water, So your little can still create art but there is no paint or coloring involved.
  9. Reading Books. Have your toddler pick out the books they want and read to them for as long as they’ll let you.
  10. Visit an Aquarium. It’s very soothing to see fish and other sea creatures swimming- plus they are dark & have AC which is ideal for a nice nap and not over stimulating.
  11. Play the piano (or whatever available instrument) together. Even if NONE of you can play, banging on the keys together stimulates BOTH sides of the brain (music is the only activity that does this). If you are musically inclined, play familiar songs and sing together!
  12. Take stroller walks on shaded trails. Don’t forget water, stroller fan, hats, & sunscreen! Walking will also help you process your thoughts & feelings, so this is the perfect activity to do when you feel overwhelmed.
  13. Go to the splash pad! Find one on Amazon for the backyard as low as $8, or check the area for public ones. If local see my list of splash pads in the area. LINK: https://sunshinemama.org/15-splash-pads-in-central-florida-to-visit-this-summer/
  14. Go to a Farmer’s Market. Lots of interesting things for baby to see from the carrier and a perfect learning environment for your toddler to recognize fruits, vegetables, animals and other items they may see.
  15. Play I SPY. This is great if you’re trapped on the couch by your sleeping baby but your toddler wants to play. Whatever room you’re in say “I spy with my little eye something *state the color*” and have them find the items.
  16. Walk around the mall. Perfect for when you need to get out of the house but the weather is yucky. Very accommodating for double strollers and there’s always good snacks.
  17. Go on a Picnic. Bring a blanket, some food, water, shade & pack n play. Can be a field, park, or even your backyard! I just recommend a bathroom nearby if your toddler is potty trained.
  18. Do the Hokey Pokey and other songs with dance moves! (Probably will need to carry the baby). There are plenty on YouTube if you don’t know many yourself.
  19. The Orlando Science Center is filled with STEM activities for all ages, including babies and toddlers! Our favorite rooms are the orange grove and water zone.
  20. Make a beach trip! Our favorite local beach is New Smyrna because you can drive directly on to the sand which makes it easier to haul everything. We like to set up a tent for shade, use a pack n play, bring beach chairs, a beach mat, cooler, snacks, sand toys, mini pool, baby floaties and diaper bag filled with sun protection & beach wear. It’s a lot to pack, but the beach is a wonderful place for kids to explore and learn- and the sand alone is great sensory play.

I hope this list helps get you excited for all the fun times ahead. Having a baby & a toddler is a lot of work, but who says that work can’t be fun!

The goal with all these activities is having fun learning and creating a safe environment on a foundation of love and trust, bonding not just with you, but with each other as siblings. The house and your hair may look a mess, but keep in mind it’s only a season and it goes by FAST, so enjoy as much as you can!

In Addition 7 Items I recommend to make going out easier: *No Affiliation*

Baby Hip Carrier- I actually use this a lot for carry my toddler while I push my baby in the stroller. GAME CHANGER. LINK: Baby Hip Carrier

Ergo Baby Carrier. LINK: Ergo Baby Carrier

Portable Pack N Play LINK: Regalo Portable Playard

City Select Double Stroller LINK: City Select Stroller

Portable Stroller Fan: LINK: Stroller Fan

Rather than a traditional “diaper bag” I prefer a draw string bag that’s lite. Link: Adidas Bag

Crocs shoes for toddlers- SO easy to slip on & off and easy to clean. Link: Toddler Crocs

Add them to the registry & send the links to grandma & grandpa! haha.

Cheers mama, hope this helps.

5 Conversations to Have on Independence Day with Your Kids

On 4th of July weekend we think about BBQ’s, pool parties, fireworks, and whether or not to put salt on watermelon, but as parents we should not waste any opportunity to have important conversations with our children.

Here are 5 conversations to have over the long patriotic weekend.

  1. Take the opportunity to share America’s history and the birth of our country. Who were the Indians and the pilgrims? The founding Fathers? Why did they seek out America? What struggles have we gone through as a nation? Why is America a Republic and what is the constitution?

2. Play the armed forces medley and take a moment to appreciated our country’s heroes serving all around the world on military bases. Growing up on a military base overseas my entire life, I saw first hand the sacrifices American military families faced on a daily basis and I want to make sure my kids feel the same gratitude towards our amazing soldiers in all branches. Not many countries have the protection of armed forces like we do.

3. Go over the pledge of allegiance and ask your child what they think it means. I remember my dad doing this with me. We used to say it every day in school, but I never really thought about what it meant until he asked. Liberty and Justice for All.

4. Talk about your favorite American patriots and advocates. Why do you like them? What were they passionate about? How did they make a difference and what was the legacy they left behind? How can we imitate them?

5. Share why you love America and what makes it different from any other country in the world. Why are immigrants from all around the world coming to the United States? What does being an American mean to your family?

The past couple years our country has become more divided than ever, and that can be very difficult to explain to your children. I remember when I was about 8yrs old during a presidential election another kid in my class told me that if you voted for one representative your family would starve. I was so scared because as a naive child you believe anything you hear.

I can only imagine now what kids are hearing their parents say and repeating it to their peers. Fear mongering, misinformation, fake news, sensational headlines have an effect on little naive minds, and with social media access kids are exposed to politics wether they like it or not. As parents we are responsible to protect and create a safe place for our kids. Let them know that everything will be ok and teach them to be a model citizen of the America you hope for their future. One day your kids won’t be so little anymore and they will remember these conversations. The best thing we can do for our country is to have open communication with one another, especially our children.

Having traveled to several places before kids, I can say confidently that we have so much to be thankful for. America is a country like no other, and it is a great honor to be able to teach our children the values and beliefs we have without fear, and I am proud to be an American. Pass on the gratitude and help create a better future for us all.

Happy Independence Day!