Summer Fun for Toddlers

Summer Fun in Lake County

Toddler parents take heed! We have been invaded! School’s out and big kids have invaded all our favorite locations. For my toddler and preschooler that is super fun and exciting, big kids! Not just their older sister and brother are home but all the neighborhood kids and there are big kids to help them and dote on them everywhere they go.

For others the invasion of big kids, especially in the form of camps, can put a damper on your summer fun and make you stay home. We’ve put together our picks for great locations and activities for babies and toddlers where they won’t get run over by big kids.

Summer fun for Toddlers

Summer Fun for Toddler

Tot Swim
Perfect for the littlest ones these special hours are reserved for children under six. Click the link above for all the pools and information as well as a printable schedule of Tot Swims by day.

Clifford Park {790 Cunningham, Antioch}
Contributor Holly says that this small Tot Lot is perfect for toddlers and because it’s small and toddler focused it’s almost always empty. The park is located just north of the Hiram Butrick Sawmill behind the Antioch Scout House.

Toddler/Baby Time at the Library
Many libraries have storytimes that are just for babies or toddlers. Check your local library to find them. While the libraries won’t be absent of big kids, the storytime rooms will be full with little ones. Fan and former writer Dawn recommend the newly remodeled Barrington Area Library for toddlers. Our family’s personal favorite is the Fremont Library in Mundelein.

Chick-fil-A {Vernon Hills}
While we don’t want to admit it, sometimes you need to take your kids for fast food and let them go wild in the play structures to save your sanity, but being trampled by big kids won’t help that. Chick-fil-A is more than great chicken, its play area is for ages 3 and under only, no trampling allowed!

Bouncing Babies
Toddlers love to bounce but can easily get pushed aside at bounce places by big kids. Many of the local trampoline parks offer special tot hours just for little kids.

Children’s Neighborhood Museum
This small play-based museum in Round Lake is one of our favorites and is geared towards toddlers and preschoolers. Read about last year’s remodel and updates to the museum.

Small Discoveries/Little Sprouts
These programs run by the Lake County Forest Preserve District are designed for preschoolers and toddlers. They are a great way to visit popular forest preserve attractions without crowds.

Betty Russell Playground {Gurnee}
This is one of the best tot playgrounds in the area. If that’s not enough for you check out our Fan Favorite Toddler-Friendly Playgrounds.

If you have both older and younger kids (like me) or just don’t want to stick to a baby-friendly list of locations, here are some tried-and-true tips for avoiding crowds of older kids:

  • The Early Bird gets the worm!
    Be waiting at the gates for the place to open. Rowdy and foul-mouthed teens are rarely up before 10 a.m. If you are the first one in the door to a location you will not only get the best seats you will also avoid the crowds and older groups that tend to fill the pools and spraygrounds in the afternoons.
  • Avoid places like LEGOland that cater to older kids.
  • Want to plan a visit to a non-local pool, park, or splash-ground operated by a Park District but don’t want to make the trek if there is a camp there? Call the park district that runs the pool and ask! Most camps only use the pools in the afternoon and if field trips are planned they should be able to tell you.
  • Use Facebook! Kohl Children’s Museum for example will post days when they have a lot of camps visiting, or better yet when they have no groups scheduled!

It may be annoying to have to share your toddler’s favorite hangout with a new crop of bigger kids, but don’t forget they’re on vacation too! They’ve been waiting months to be free to play outside, so give them that space and remember one day your kids will be big too! Besides, when we have a beautiful late summer warm-up in August and September, we can enjoy all these locales again when they are in school.

Summer Fun for Toddlers
About Melissa Haak 626 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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