Hurrah! The sun is starting to shine on an almost daily basis, which means it’s time to let our tots get a good dose of Vitamin D by letting them enjoy some quality time outside.
I love nothing more than spending time away from the house when the sun is out in force- yes including the garden. After being cooped up the whole winter, there’s something nice about being able to go on family adventures further afield and play with different things that don’t get much of a see in over the winter months.
Here are a few ideas of easy ways to get outside with a toddler in tow.
1. The Park
The cold steel frames and chains are often ignored during the winter months, but come the summer the park is the hangout location for all kids. There’s always ample space for your child to run around, and dedicated toddler areas are in majority of parks to help your child learn new skills. Instead of soft play which is something I frequently go to in the Winter months, the park gives them that much-needed fresh air. I know it’s an obvious outdoor idea, but it’s still the top of any Mums list. But don’t just stick to your local park; your child sees that one often, explore and find new parks to play in. They’ll learn new skills and love the excitement of something different. We recently drove to Langley Park to let Little London run amok amongst the rhododendrons before letting him enjoy a few hours in the enclosed play area.
2. Smart Trike
The Smart Trike* is a brilliant invention.
It’s a tricycle that can be used from about 10 months up until pre school, and as the child grows, it helps develop a variety of skills until they are self-sufficient riding it themselves. I use the Smart Trike frequently for afternoon jaunts with Little London, because I know he’s not going to nap or get tired, and a nice walk keeps him happily entertained. Brilliant for those day’s I don’t want to go far!
The Trike comes with a detachable parent handle that steers the trike, until you decide to allow your child to take over the steering; via the handle bars, when they are older. A large sunshade also means Little London is protected from the sun if it does get too strong.
As soon as he sees his Smart Trike his little face lights up, because I honestly believe he thinks he’s in control of it for now!
There are foldable foot rests for him to pop his feet onto, as he hasn’t quite grasped how the pedals function. At the back there’s a little bag for my keys and my phone, and a small rear basket with closing lid proves quite handy for rock collecting apparently! Having a cup holder between the handle bars right in front of the child is a great touch. After all, that hard work will cause them to take many little drink breaks, but it also means Mum isn’t having to get the beaker in and out of bags constantly- especially so for parents of more active, older children who will require more fluid!
My only issue with the Smart Trike would be the plastic wheels. I can not bear the sound of plastic on concrete, but Smart Trike do have a variety of tricycles including ones with soft impact rubber wheels. Personally I think it would be worth the extra money.
3. National Trust or English Heritage Estates
These estates are all over the United Kingdom, and are fabulous places to take a child on a beautiful sunny day.
In fact you could easily spend an entire day at one of them, as majority often have brilliant facilities for the whole family, with great cafes if you forget to bring a picnic!
While some of them are free (particularly so with the grounds), they aren’t all that way. And personally I find it worth the money to buy a National Trust or English Heritage card if you do frequent the places or live near a couple.
This time last year, we took our little baby to Ashridge Park in Hertfordshire, because I desperately wanted to see the bluebells. So we thought we’d head back again this year with our toddler in tow, to see the beautiful display once more. And we were not disappointed. It was strange to believe that only a year before our child had reflux and vomited all over the bluebells, whereas this time he was walking and running (playing a game of ‘it’) down the woodland paths, with bluebells either side of him.
With a membership card we can go to any of the properties and play in all the grounds so the experience is different each time, and that’s what I love about being a member of these two organizations. Easy day’s out and not much effort required!
(Disclosure: PR sample marked with *)