Keeping little ones busy over the summer can be challenging and exhausting. The best days for us are days we’ve stayed busy and burned some energy. Outings with multiples can be challenging, but I’ve found them to be so worth it – most of the time. Either way, I’ve compiled a list of things to do – in and out of the house!
It seems splash pads are all the rage! Albany had one build downtown a few years back and Sylvester (a nearby city) had one built last summer. Not only is this activity refreshing and a good energy burner, but it’s free fun! I highly recommend either one, but for the smaller children we’ve found Sylvester’s to be much more accommodating. It’s less crowded during the week, for sure.
Located in downtown Albany, the Flint RiverQuarium is a local attraction and indoor fun for the family. Read: A/C. With alligator feedings, animal presentations, and dive shows, each visit offers a new and exciting experience. They offer programs for all ages, with holiday events, discovery days, and tadpole time.
BRUSTER’S ICE CREAM
My kids scream for ice cream, but then spend all of their time on the playground! Locals, the playground next door belongs to Bruster’s – so use it. And who doesn’t love free ice cream? Bruster’s offers free ice cream for little ones! Kids can choose one of three options: a cone, a cup, and a Dino cookie something or other. So before or after dessert, let the little ones play. It’s a nice, after dinner evening outing and treat for surviving the day.
We love to visit the Albany Mall. Again, it’s free fun! We usually to grab Chick-fil-A and enjoy lunch by the fountains. The littles enjoy visiting the pet shop, Books A Million, and Chuck E. Cheese too. It may sound crazy, but I let them run wild.
MARK’S MELON PATCH
A local favorite, Mark’s Melon Patch is one of those places you must visit each season. In the summer, you won’t find better strawberries, watermelon, tomatoes, and peaches. While you’re there, be sure to get a cup or cone of their homemade ice cream. It’s so delicious and great way to cool off! They serve peach ice cream year around (I believe), but the homemade, strawberry is my personal favorite. Get it swirled with the vanilla!
THE SOURCE CAFE & PLAYGROUND
We love the Source Café & Playground. It’s located at our church, but open to the public and free for all. They serve breakfast and lunch, with indoor and outdoor playgrounds for the little ones. In the summer months, it’s best to hit up the outdoor playground early morning. This is definitely Joy Belle and Britt’s favorite, but the indoor playground has a soft section for younger (1-3 year olds) ones and I highly recommend it.
Most local libraries offer summer activities for the little ones, so be sure to check out their website or call for a schedule of events. We have only made it to a handful of our library’s events, but we love to stop by every few weeks to borrow a stack of new-to-us books.
INDOOR / AT-HOME ACTIVITIES
Forever and a day I avoided this mess. I hate the clean-up of play-doh, but it’s one of Joy Belle’s absolute favorite activities. And now that Britt is old enough to understand it’s not edible, we’ve started to pull it out more often. To be completely honest, I usually let it all dry out and vacuum up the mess.
This one is less messy than you’d think and since it’s all water based, it makes for easy clean up. I’ll pull out a stack of coloring books, printer paper, or coffee filters and let them choose their palette for the day. As it turns out, some very beautiful artwork comes from this simple craft.
This one is such an easy one! You can grab rolls of stickers or sticker books from just about any dollar spot and it’ll provide your little ones with endless fun. I give them all sorts of scrap paper and little pieces of card stock. Joy Belle will make “invitations” to birthday parties for hours.
My babies are still little, but we’ve taught them how to play several games and found some age appropriate ones too. They love matching games, puzzles, and I Spy. We make up games too, usually indoor scavenger hunts. For Christmas, we gifted the kids with a Disney Eye Found It game. Britt’s still a little young for it, but he likes to help us find the items on the cards.
Sprinklers, slippin’ slides, and water balloons may be considered “old school” fun, but we can’t get enough. We’re fortunate enough to have a pool to cool off this summer, but these water toys make outdoor play so much fun too. We have this little stacked turtles sprinkler. If your little ones aren’t fans of water in their face (ahem, like most!), water balloons can be turned into a game. Joy Belle and Britt love to see how far they can throw them. Rarely do they actually toss them at each other. They can be entertained for hours with water balloons and bubbles!
ICE CREAM OR POPSICLES
We consider this one a treat, but on rare occasion the snack of the day will be ice cream cones or a popsicle. Step up the game and make your own! I’ve heard they’re both decently easy to make and I’ve been eyeing this ice cream maker for quite some time. It reminds me of the one my grandparents used when we were little.