A Toddler Mom’s Guide to a Get Out & Stay Out Type of Summer!

Happy Summer! Whether or not your neck of the woods is warmer than mine (we’re just getting out of the 60’s here in Iowa) the season is young and I am here to help you enjoy it to the fullest! As a toddler mom and pregnant, I have committed to still finding creative ways to get outside, soak in the sunshine and enjoy every ounce of summer! Here’s some top favorite summer activities that work with my Wife/Mom/Boss Life that I hope give you some fun ideas as well!

Stroller Walks

Duh! If you have a toddler, this is the ultimate go-to summer activity that you can both do together, AND with other mama friends (that is, if you can coordinate nap times)! Slap some sunscreen on, wear a hat (protect that forehead from wrinkles) and get some exercise in!

Farmers Market/Coffee/Shopping Outings

The town next door to us is filled with super cute coffee shops, little clothing boutiques, as well as food coops and farmers markets. Yes it can be a hassle packing up the stroller and the kids, but it’s worth it to me to dress up cute, head over with a friend, grab my favorite summer coffee drink and just stroll around enjoying the town for a little bit! Doing a little light clothes shopping and grabbing some fresh produce from the Farmers Market create a fun mix of treating myself and also getting some needed errands done!

Two Words: FOLDABLE KAYAK!

This is by far the best investment I’ve made this summer. I absolutely love kayaking and being on water, but I don’t live on a lake and I don’t have a truck or trailer to haul around any major outdoors equipment. But THEN I discovered a foldable kayak on Amazon for only $62 and so far, it has been rocking my world!

Inflatable and light, yet sturdy and durable, this foldable kayak is super easy to assemble and disassemble, and literally fits into a bag that you can toss into your passenger seat! Whether you want to spend the day on the river or float on the lake with a good book, this kayak is well worth the investment!

POOL TIME

Whether it’s taking your little ones to the public pool, or filling the kitty pool in the backyard, this is a great way to break up the day, stay cool, and get your tan on mama! (Check out this awesome pool floaty for babies and toddlers!)

Porch Swing

Ok- even if you don’t have a porch, creating an outside space where you can simply sit and enjoy the summer day is one of life’s simple pleasures. One of our favorite saturday morning traditions has been to eat breakfast on the porch as a family. There’s something special about drinking a cup of coffee outside early in the morning, plus, Aria loves the change of scenery!

It’s also a great change of pace throughout the day. For example, yesterday I had an hour and a half before Daniel got home from work, so I grabbed some blocks and some books, and Aria and I sat on the porch together watching the cars go by and chirping at the birds. It’s those kind of simple moments that make memories you will have forever.

Bike Rides

Combine exercise with enjoying the beautiful summer day! Biking is great for everyone, whether you’re just taking a spin around the block or you’re hitting the trails for a good workout! My mom and I love to go for early morning bike rides on the weekends and grab breakfast together afterwards. So far I have left Aria with Daniel, but next summer I will be investing in a good two kid stroller that can also be pulled by a bike and it will be a family affair!

Frolfing

If you have a frisbee golf course near you, frolfing is a super fun outdoor activity that doesn’t take much experience to get the hang of. You’ll need to bring your own discs, or you can try your luck with a regular frisbee (it probably won’t work as well, but it’s better than nothing!) Get a group of friends together or make it a fun little date with your spouse!

For the Super Outdoorsy Mama

If you really love the outdoors, fishing and horseback riding are my all time favorites (as well as kayaking, but I already covered that.) I also would like to get a hammock and get more into hiking, but that isn’t quite in the cards for our schedule and current phase of life. Campfires on a starry night are my favorite summer and fall activity, and if you’re into camping, make it a family affair!

Gardening-ish

Ok, I’m not a gardener. I used to help my grandpa with massive vegetable gardens and I loved it, but it just hasn’t worked for me since having kids. But having a few plants to water can be a simple and sweet summer activity- Aria loves “helping” me water them! If you DO love to garden, go for it! If you’re like me and you like the idea but aren’t quite ready to commit, here’s some easy doable things you can experiment with without getting in over your head!

Tomatoes in Pots

I did this in college when we lived in the middle of the city. I had two cherry tomato plants in pots on our tiny little apartment deck. I put my organic coffee grinds and eggshells in them everyday and kept them well watered. They were perfect for grabbing a couple tomatoes for a salad or sandwich as they ripened!

Potted Herbs

I also did this when we lived in the city. I filled one big pot with a few of my favorite herbs and grew them on the deck. I loved throwing them in whatever we were having for supper, but mostly, I just loved the smell of fresh basil on a summer evening. Someday, I’m going to have a window box filled with herbs outside my kitchen window to remember that sweet summer in our first apartment.

Ferns

I love ferns! I had one in my library during the first few years out of college. My mom grows massive ferns on her porch every summer- we call her the crazy fern lady! We traveled through the south a couple years ago with my parents and many of the houses had ferns on the porch, but we never saw a single one that came close to being as ginormous and luscious as the ones in our little Iowa country home.

The reason I love ferns so much is because of how classy, elegant and sturdy they are! They dress up any porch and give it a sense of classic charm, and they are really hard to kill! Our crappy rental house porch needed some help, so my first move was to screw in some plant hanger hooks (is that was they’re called? You know what I mean!) and hang two ferns proudly on each side. Put in a little fertilizer and water the heck out of them- they will take off. Like I said, they are extremely durable, so don’t be afraid to turn them over and give them a good shake, fluff and pull out their leaves, and rip off any leaves that are brown!

Fresh Bouquet of Flowers

When I was a little girl, I would pick a fresh bouquet of wildflowers (and dandelions- I was adamant that a weed was simply a title and shouldn’t define the enjoyment of something so pretty!) for my mom and grandma. Even if my grandparents weren’t home when I walked over, I would leave a big bouquet on their kitchen table with a note on a napkin. After I moved away for college, my mom re-did my high school room and painted it yellow and purple in honor of those summer dandelion and wildflower bouquets.

Whether or not you decide to try your green thumb out this summer, having a fresh bouquet of seasonal flowers somewhere in your house will bring the sunshine and the summer right into your own home! I love picking out beautiful seasonal bouquets from the farmers market, or better yet, picking my own from the fields outside my parents house. You can get as creative as you want with your arrangement- it’s like your own little work of art!

The Main Thing to Remember

You don’t have to have a big vacation or crazy adventurous weekend road trip to get the most out of your summer. Enjoy the little moments right where you are. I’m writing this blog post on my side porch in the evening while Daniel is gone and Aria is in bed. The cherry tree in front of the porch is in bloom, there are no bugs yet, and the summer air smells like fresh cut grass and lilacs from the neighbors yard. It’s simple, it’s peaceful, and it sure beats watching Netflix! I hope this post gave you a variety of fun yet simple ideas, I’d love to hear about your favorite outdoor activities in the comments, and most importantly, I hope you have a wonderful summer!

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