Clear Skies & Sunny: What To Do As A Family This Weekend
Once the season shifts, the warm weather ushers in the inevitable question of how to plan the best activities for kids over the weekend. Longer days with mild temperatures are the ideal time to seek out adventure and create lasting memories as a family. With toddlers and preschoolers hungry for fun-filled weekends, a bit of prep will help you set up a variety of enriching experiences. To fend off summertime boredom, and keep your little entertained and active, here’s our top 29 fun things to do with kids this weekend.
Fun Things To Do With Kids This Weekend While Close to Home
Staying close to home doesn’t mean you can’t foster enthusiasm for new experiences with your little. With spring and summertime on the horizon, little ones are keen to get out in the fresh air. Young minds are happily entertained by the sights and sounds of nature while getting the physical movement they need to sleep soundly at night (which is the ultimate goal for every parent, isn’t it?).
Here’s our best ideas for family-friendly activities for kids this weekend when you want to stay close to home:
- Play dates at the pool or beach. On very hot days, aim to meet up in the cooler morning hours with other families at the pool or beach. All you need is a swimsuit, hooded towel and sun gear. It’s no secret your little loves the sensory experience of water, whether it’s at the ocean, in a swimming pool or simply running through a sprinkler or splash pad.
- Go hiking. Choose a short hike that is the perfect distance. Toddlers can tire out quickly, so a hiking backpack or carrier is essential. Your little can wear their heart on their sleeve with a t-shirt in playful nature prints like vibrant seashells.
- Camping in your own backyard. You don’t have to be deep in the forest to enjoy the night sky. Setting up a tent in the backyard is brand-new for little ones, and it’s a good idea to start small with camping. Cozy up with your toddler and tell stories (don’t forget their preferred pajamas, nightlight and lovey). Enjoy this escape knowing the comforts of running water and electricity are still close by.
- Visit a farm. Petting zoos often feature alpacas and goats since they are particularly fond of kids, or visit a farm with a variety of animals like horses, chickens, and cows. A butterfly sanctuary, botanical garden, apple orchard or raspberry picking are great options too.
- The zoo or aquarium. This is a big day for toddlers. Seeing wildlife and learning about their favorite animals and aquatic life from all around the world is a magical experience.
- Backyard BBQ. Dining al fresco is a refreshing way to spend the afternoon with your family. Set up a picnic table, or bring out chairs and a folding table, and put down a playmat. Get your little to choose the tablecloth, carry cutlery, set the table and do other helpful tasks while you cook together.
- The park. Though it may seem like the most obvious go-to, the park is a huge place to explore with wonder. Lightweight clothing like overalls in organic cotton keep your little one comfy and cool while they play. Most parks have a few adventure playgrounds, splash pads, duck ponds, and even a small zoo.
- Play disc golf. There are plenty of disc golf courses in public parks - you just might not have noticed those chain-linked baskets hiding between the trees. This takes frisbee to the next level and teaches kids about scoring in sports.
- Outdoor theater, concerts or drive-in movies. Whether it’s a theater festival in the park, music in an open-air auditorium or snuggling up in the car for the vintage experience of seeing flicks at the drive-in, your little will love the novelty of outdoor entertainment.
- Make a bird feeder. Get the binoculars ready and enjoy watching all the local birds stop by. Make a checklist for your toddler to keep track of all the birds they’ve spotted. Pick up a second-hand bird book so they can cut out images (with your help, of course) and make a collage of all the birds they’ve seen at the end of the weekend.
- Create a fairy house. This is a sweet and imaginative activity. Your little can paint and decorate a wooden door (you can purchase a fairy door kit from your local craft store) before placing it at the base of their favorite tree as a portal to a magical world. They’ll love foraging for special rocks, acorns, blooms and leaves, especially if they can keep them safely in their shorts with pockets while they explore.
- Scavenger hunt. For toddlers, seeking out a list of everyday things in your neighborhood can bring so much joy and a sense of accomplishment. Think of simple things like a squirrel, an oak tree, a red flower or a mailbox and give them a checklist to complete. Teach your little about the kinds of trees, flowers and shrubs that grow close by.
Lemonade stand. It’s a classic, and your little will enjoy sharing their homemade brew with neighbors and friends who need to cool off.
Engaging Indoor Activities for Kids This Weekend
It’s raining, it’s a heat wave, or it’s just not great air quality outdoors. Though your little may be indifferent, sometimes it’s just not ideal (or safe) to be outside in the warm weather months. Since toddlers are sensitive to heat, it’s best to be cautious when temperatures soar.
Here’s our go-to list of fun things to do with kids this weekend when you want to stay indoors:
- Visit a Museum. There are so many options, from the dinosaur exhibits at a large museum, to smaller historical museums in heritage homes, or niche museums focused on science or natural history.
- Art Galleries and art classes. Most galleries have weekend art classes and events for families. Seeing large-scale paintings and sculptures is captivating for toddlers, and inspires them to explore their own creative instincts.
- Create a blanket fort and gaming zone. Pull out puzzles and board games and spend time together both competing and working together. Switching up how the room looks is a thrill for little ones, and so is building forts to be both climbed on and cuddled in using blankets, a Pikler triangle, and couch cushions.
- Host a craft marathon. Whether it’s beading, painting, drawing, collaging, or doing all the above together to create something special, the tactile aspect of crafting is great for little hands eager to learn fine motor skills.
- Cooking and baking. Toddlers are intent on helping in the kitchen and kids as young as 1 can play a part in preparing food. Do the grocery shopping together, pick herbs from the garden, prep the cooking station and teach them about the recipe’s steps. A Montessori learning tower is a great addition to keep your toddler safe in the kitchen while at the counter.
- Check out the library. Special events like puppet shows, visiting authors, and storytime are a great way to spend the weekend indoors. From simple excursions to more unique experiences, any activities for kids this weekend that are new to them are sure to leave them in awe.
- Visit a plant conservatory. A glass-enclosed botanical garden teaches your little about a variety of plant species from temperate to desert climates that may not grow locally. Think of it as a spotlight on a foreign land.
- Create a family time capsule. Decide whether it will be a 1-year or 10-year time capsule, write letters, and choose special items to include that echo what is meaningful to your family right now.
- Make music together. Whether it’s singing along to nursery rhymes, or teaching rhythm on a drum, your little is likely fascinated by music. If you play an instrument, you can accompany your toddler while they sing their favorite song, or better yet - write your own song together.
- Put on a play. Toddlers and preschoolers adore theatrics. Dress up and pretend play comes naturally to their growing imaginations. Act out a scene together, and film it to save with your family’s home movies.
Long Weekend Activities for Kids
An extra day or two can make for a bigger adventure out of town. There’s a lot to think of when packing the car or prepping for a flight with a little one in tow. Between the pack-and-play, booster seat, extra clothing, and diaper bag, a large travel pouch will help you stay sorted (even when you’re feeling anything but organized). Whether it’s Memorial Day activities for kids, Independence Day, Victoria Day or Labour Day, there’s several special holidays to mark on your calendar in spring and summer to make the most of long weekend activities for kids.
Here’s our top long weekend activities for toddlers:
- Road Trip. Plan to see that friend from college who’s just a bit further away, visit cousins, or explore a city that’s within driving distance. You’ll need a good portable changing pad for diaper changes on the move, and if you’re in the middle of potty training, pack pull-ups along with your little’s potty.
- Rent a cottage at the lake. A remote cabin in the woods or a summer house you can visit every weekend, some of the happiest memories for families happen at the cottage. All that time in the heat calls for proper sun protection like a bucket hat, sunscreen, loose clothing and a rash guard with 50+ UPF. If you’re in the midst of transitioning to a toddler bed, look for a cottage with a bed that’s similar in style to what your little is used to sleeping in at home.
- Camping. Whether you pitch your tent on a family-friendly campground or prefer to wander deep into the wilderness, camping together is an experience your kids will never forget. Stargazing, roasting marshmallows, a break from modern technology, and the chance to spot wildlife you don’t usually get to see up close. Prepare for the weather and pack short sleeve pajamas in case it’s really hot in your tent, along with a few sleep bags in different TOG ratings.
- Theme parks. Amusement parks with toddler-friendly roller coasters, traveling exhibits like immersive experiences, or theme parks centered on your little’s favorite characters and movies.
- Get on the water. Canoeing, kayaking, or renting a larger pontoon boat for the whole family. Make sure you have a well-fitted life jacket and if possible, get your little into a swim class beforehand so they have some basics. They might not be able to grab a paddle just yet, but they’ll happily cruise along in the boat with you.
Take a quick flight. Whether or not it’s your toddlers first time in the air, a short flight is a good way to introduce air travel. We suggest flights no longer than 2 hours so you can maximize the long weekend. Going somewhere with a different climate, whether tropical or mountainous, can also feel really stimulating and offer a new perspective.
We know how quickly the summer flies by. With our guide to fun things to do with kids this weekend, we hope you find the motivation and creativity to fill the calendar with new experiences you’ll enjoy together as a family. Since little ones love anticipation, just knowing you’ve planned long weekend activities for toddlers along with things to do locally will satisfy their curiosity (and help prevent tantrums during the Terrible Twos). Pack your bags, watch your little one flourish and savor seeing the world through your little one’s rose-colored glasses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Apply sunscreen at least every 2 hours on exposed skin, and after swimming or sweating a lot. Bug spray only needs to be applied once per day, and bug-repellent products containing DEET shouldn’t be used on toddlers more than once daily.
Exercise caution when temperatures reach 90 degrees fahrenheit outside. If it’s around 84 degrees with 70% humidity, you should also consider staying indoors. Once the outdoor temperature rises above 90 degrees, things like heat exhaustion and heat stroke occur quickly and can be really dangerous for young kids.
A special surprise bag can keep your toddler calm and collected during long drives or flights. The anticipation is part of it, so you can tell them that every half hour they’ll get a new surprise from their busy bag. Try healthy snacks in colorful containers, lift-the-flap books, puzzles, coloring books, stickers, small toys or dolls to keep them occupied.
Grass has natural pigments from chlorophyll that make it particularly tough to get out of fabric. Act quickly, before the stain has time to set. Combine dish soap with hydrogen peroxide and soak the stain in the mixture. Let sit for 30 minutes, then scrub the spot and rinse with cold water. Another option is creating a white vinegar and baking soda rub, then allowing it to soak for 30 minutes before putting it in the washing machine.