There have been some pretty fantastic roundups on fall activities in the Columbus area here on Columbus Moms Blog. Fall is our favorite season around here! I have loved exploring fall through the eyes and mind of an 18-month-old this year. Through this exploration, I have found a few tips and tricks that are making this the best season to encounter and participate in fall toddler activities!
7 Keys to Enjoying Fall With Your Young Toddler
1. Make a plan ahead of time:
There are so many wonderful farms with great activities for littles. Map out ahead of time where you plan to go. If your little is like mine, car seat rides are pretty much the worst- so adding unnecessary drive time would be literally the worst. We are huge Lynd’s fans, Annabeth absolutely loved Pumpkinpalooza at Emswiller Farms, and Pigeon Roost Farms has enough to keep a babe entertained for hours. Having a plan ahead of time also helps you accommodate your peanut’s sleeping and eating schedule to avoid those dreaded public meltdowns. We have worked to help Annabeth be pretty flexible, but I promise that if we’re somewhere for more than 2 hours she will start screaming “Eat Eat”… which brings me to…
2. Bring All the Snacks:
We carry a small pantry with us everywhere we go. I remember promising to not be “one of those moms” pre-baby, but obviously, snacks are 100% required ALL of the time, not just for fall toddler activities. One thing about fall activities is that apple and pumpkin donuts and sweets are sure to accompany. While Annabeth has enjoyed tasting a few of these sweet treats (including Lynd’s apple donuts and Gluten Free Bake Me Happy Cinnamon Donut Muffins), we also realize that she’s not at her best if she has too much sugar. Keeping string cheese, cheerios, goldfish or other quick snacks handy can help appease our little diva until the next meal time.
This is pretty much my best survival tip for parenthood in general. It has become a hobby and a passion built from necessity after having a velcro-clingy-mommy obsessed baby girl (and honestly, I am not complaining). I love that Annabeth likes being close so she can look around and enjoy the sites and all the people watching without becoming too overwhelmed or overstimulated. If it is too crowded, it’s an easy up to keep her safe. If she’s tired, it is an easy space to nap, and plus it means not having to lug a stroller around! We are currently loving our Moby Ring Sling and our Lillebaby for toddler “ups”. I have learned so much from my pals at Columbus Babywearing if you’re interested in checking them out!
4. Take Deep Breathes and be Flexible:
Your toddler will eat leaves, they will try some dirt, and they might even take a bite out of a baby pumpkin (like Annabeth did recently…). It’s ok. I know it’s hard letting go of some of the germ fears that accompany having an infant, but part of being a toddler is getting dirty, playing in the mud, and feeling those crunchy leaves. I also assure you that your toddler will fall, scrape their knees, and bump their head a few times. Kiss those boo-boos and send them on their way, let them be little!
5. Bring Your Friends:
There is a true gift that comes when you have good friends to live this stage of parenting with. Plus, exploring spaces with a toddler is certainly fun, but watching them explore new places alongside their best pals is pretty much the bee’s knees. Annabeth loves to watch what her friends do and really loves to see how they react to what she does. It is also a huge bonus for mom and dad to have other adults to socialize with and extra eyes on the littles is never a bad thing!
6. Crafts and Art exploration:
Fall can mean some colder days and some rainy days. Pinterest can be a rabbit hole of ideas, but I have really enjoyed exploring different fall-themed activities for my little. The next one on our to-do list is to make a leaf drawing. You place a large leaf under a piece of paper and color the paper with a crayon. The end result is so fun to see for those little minds. Click here for some other Pinterest inspired leaf activities.
7. Make Homemade Applesauce:
Mealtime in our house is unpredictable. We never know if Annabeth is going to eat every remaining item of food in our home, or if we’ll have to beg her to eat one crumb. I spent an afternoon making applesauce from our Lynd’s haul, and she has been eating it by the bowl full ever since. Using my dutch oven, I placed peeled and sliced Jonathan and Honeycrisp apples in with a little bit of cider and a sprinkle of fresh honey. I added two cinnamon sticks for added flavor. I stirred the apples a few times on low-medium heat as they cooked down. Using my immersion blender I was able to thin it out, making it the perfect consistency. It is amazing! Applesauce has quickly become one of our favorite fall toddler activities!
What are your tips for surviving fall with a young toddler? Where should we explore next??