Warmer weather has finally arrived. Now is your time to relieve any lingering cabin fever without the hassle of bundling everyone up. If the walls of your home are closing in, grab the diaper bag and go day-tripping!
Take a Nature Hike
Burning off excess energy is the best way to combat spring fever. On a sunny day, introduce your child to the wonders of nature by taking a day hike. You can both get some exercise while keeping an eye out for wildlife and colorful insects. If the path through a local park has a small bridge, take a break and play “pooh sticks.” Drop sticks into the stream on one side of the bridge, then run to the other side to see whose stick will come out from under the bridge first.
Other Outdoor Day Trips
Day trips serve other purposes in addition to tiring out preschoolers so they’ll take an afternoon nap. Plan visits to places that celebrate and encourage your child’s interests. For example, sit across the street from a construction site and share a snack while you watch the cranes and dump trucks. Schedule a tour at a working farm where your child can pet and help feed the animals.
Most of us do not take advantage of the attractions and events in our own hometown. Not sure what’s available? Call your local Chamber of Commerce or visit the library for a list of special sites and a schedule of local activities. Here are some more ideas for outdoor day trips:
- Zoo or botanical gardens. Even if your child is an infant, you can both enjoy strolling along the paths and taking in the sights, sounds and smells.
- Trolley or boat rides. Many cities have inexpensive trolleys that run through the historic district. If you live near a river or lake, an afternoon boat “cruise” may be available.
- Sporting events. Most preschoolers are not up to the rigors of a major league baseball game, but middle and high school sporting events are cheaper, shorter and offer more chances to walk around during lulls in the action. Call your local school for a schedule of track and field meets, softball and baseball games.
- Train station or community airport. Take a short trip to watch arrivals and departures.
Indoor Day Trips
As much as we’ve all been looking forward to good weather, nature doesn’t always oblige. If April showers are putting a damper on outdoor activities, try an indoor day trip while you wait for May flowers. Get together with a couple of other moms and their preschoolers, and schedule a visit to the local fire or police station. Be sure to ask if your child can look inside the fire truck or police car. This might also be a good time to have your child fingerprinted for your own records.
Kids love to see how things are made. For breakfast, go to a doughnut shop where you can watch doughnuts being made. Or visit a “hand tossed” pizza shop for lunch. Ask the bakery at your grocery store if you can watch them mix bread or decorate a cake. Sign up for a tour of a local factory, and see how potato chips, jellybeans, or crayons are made.
Don’t be afraid to try something different. The worst thing that can happen on a day trip is that you’ll have to go back home!