There should be a national hug a mom of a toddler day! Seriously, the toddler years are some of the most trying times. It’s a potpourri of independent streaks, tantrums, crying, whining, exhaustion, frustration, etc. I have come to the conclusion that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was inspired by a toddler. They are happy and giving mommy kisses one second and then suddenly laying on a dirty public restroom floor kicking there feet and screaming the next, all because they wanted to pull the paper towel out of the dispenser themselves. How dare you mom, now you must suffer with severe embarrassment as strangers walk in and give you “the look”. And you can forget about ever being on time because toddlers will find a way to sabotage that whole punctuality thing you had going on before you had kids. They will want to put their coats on themselves and it will be the most agonizing 15 minutes of your life. They will put it on upside down, inside out, miss snaps, snap their fingers accidentally, put their hood on, take their hood off, and then, just when they almost have it, will declare that they aren’t wearing a coat. Then they will focus there attention on the invisible bumps in their socks! Raising a toddler is a lot like trying to raise that obnoxious, drunk, roommate from college. They both can do everything themselves, they are more than happy to cause a scene in public, they both need sippy lids, they refuse to eat the food you give them, they will yell and scream and fight you when you say it’s bedtime, ten minutes later you find them passed out under a piece of furniture, and neither seems to be able to make it to the bathroom in time. Raising a toddler isn’t for the faint of heart that’s for sure. And while it can be embarrassing to take the equivalent of your drunken roommate out in public it is the best thing you can do for yourself and your toddler, promise!
Getting out of the house, for even just an hour or two is the best way to maintain your sanity! Besides, what are you going to do at home? Pick up the same Mega Bloks 18 times while trying to multitask cleaning up spills, doing dishes, and laundry, all to have your husband come home and ask you what you did all day? Call up some friends and get out! Don’t have any mom friends yet? Make them….they will not come knocking on your door, you need to take the initiative, seek out playgroups online, on Facebook, shoot, start your own playgroup on Facebook. You need adult conversation, you need someone to say “I can totally relate”, playgroups are just as much for the moms as they are the toddlers. When you start that playgroup you are going to need to post events. Here is a list of fun, toddler friendly destinations in Toledo to get you started!
Ten Places to Take Your Toddler in Toledo:
Sunrise Gymnastics OPEN Gym
Address: 3640 N Holland Sylvania Rd, Toledo, OH 43615
Phone: (419) 841-2902
When: Saturdays 12pm- 1pm (No registration necessary)
Cost: $8 for the hour
Children ages 1yr-Kindergarten can enjoy an hour of jumping on the trampoline, swinging from the rings, trying the balance beam, etc. inside Sunrise’s back gym. Parent participation is required.
Toledo Lucas County Public Library Story Time & Playdates (FREE)
Address: Main Branch-325 N Michigan St, Toledo, OH 43604
Phone: (419) 259-5200
Each of the library branches offers magnificent events, activities, story times, etc. for toddlers. Click on the link above to be directed to the Toledo Lucas County Public Libraries list of events…you can narrow your search by typing in your branch, event, etc. or do a broad search and venture beyond your local branch. I will tell you the Main Library has an awesome Children’s Area! There is a car children can sit in, aquarium where they could literally stand for days, Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat character, and more….and there is a café if you were looking to lunch.
Toddler Time at Sky Zone
Address: 1600 Albon Rd, Holland, OH 43528
Phone: (419) 491-1194
When:Fridays 10am-12pm & Saturdays 9am-10am
Cost: $8/hr Plus One Adult FREE
Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to discover the joy of being active, bouncing under the supervision of their parents, and without interference from the big kids!
Address: 1 Discovery Way, Toledo, OH 43604
Phone: (419) 244-2674
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm, Sunday: Noon – 5pm, Monday: CLOSED*
Cost: Get a Membership! Totally worth it (all five of us got in for FREE at COSI in Columbus thanks to this membership…and it would have cost us more than the membership for admission to COSI for one day. You can also receive 50% off at Michigan Science Center) Adults: $11 Kids: 3-12 $9 Kids 0-2: FREE
Little KIDSPACE is seriously THE BEST place to take a Toddler in Toledo!! I used to just go there for two hours and then go home, it is ah-mazing! It is an enclosed, gated space, so you don’t have to worry about constantly chasing after your toddler and it gives them their much needed freedom/independence. I also like the fact that there is hand sanitizers on the way in and out. And there is so much to touch, see, do, etc. that they won’t get bored.
Little KIDSPACE is specifically designed to help kids kindergarten age and younger learn and explore. Children learn through play. They have an innate interest in the world around them, and the skills and knowledge that children acquire as they play help them to make sense of the world. Young children are active learners who engage in science every day as they observe, wonder, experiment and talk about their findings. Our littlest adventurers can hop aboard a fire truck, shop in the grocery store or climb their favorite tree house while learning about forces, motion, math and life science.
Family Center Toledo Museum of Art (FREE)
Address: 2445 Monroe St, Toledo, OH 43620
Phone: (419) 255-8000
Hours: Tues & Thurs 10am-3pm, Friday 3:30pm-8pm, & Saturday and Sunday noon-5pm
Free, fun, and open to everyone! The TMA Family Center, located in the education wing near the Plough entrance, is the perfect place for our youngest Museum visitors to make and take memories with their parents and caregivers. Drop in for themed activities that enliven the world of art for kids ages 1-10 (and even grown-ups!). Check the calendar on this page for upcoming projects. Calendars can be customized and printed by clicking on the Google Calendar icon at the bottom of the calendar listing.
Chick-fil-a Breakfast (6:30-10:30am)
Address: 4260 W Sylvania Ave, Toledo, OH 43623
Phone: (419) 474-2000
Hours: Monday – Saturday 6:30 AM-10:00 PM, Sunday Closed
Meetup with other mommas and toddler from breakfast! (Around 9:30/10am) I know it sounds crazy but breakfast is the cleanest and least busy time of the day. Toddlers can play in the play area without having to worry about being trampled by bigger kiddos and moms can enjoy coffee/sandwich at the nearby booths. Then, this is the best part…you go home and guess who is so tired out from their morning activity? Both of you! Lol! Yep, nap time!!
Barnes and Noble Fallen Timbers Storytime & Craft (FREE)
Address: The Shops at Fallen Timbers, 3100 Main St #1400, Maumee, OH 43537
Phone: (419) 878-0652
When: Thursdays @ 10am and Saturdays @ 11am
I so looked forward to Thursday mornings, I would keep the baby in the stroller, grab a coffee from the Starbucks in the store then stroll over to the story time in the children’s area. This is probably one of the best story times in the area…kiddos listen to a story, move, do a craft, and most importantly everyone is understanding of the fact that littles don’t always sit still! Story time was probably when my love affair with Barnes & Noble started…I crave those bargain books, lol! So be sure to pack some extra willpower when you go! 😉
Wildwood Preserve Toddler Trails
Address: 5100 W Central Ave, Toledo, OH 43615
Phone: (419) 407-9700
When: Varies- Click on the website for upcoming Toddler Trail events (usually 10am-11am)
Cost: Varies but usually $2-$5 Registration is required
This outdoor, multi-sensory nature play and exploration introduces your toddlers up to three years of age to the natural world and promotes preservation. Parents accompany and assist in their child’s experience at the program. Register toddlers only. (They always have fun themes and hand-on activities)
Toledo Zoo & Aquarium (Nature’s Neighborhood)
Address: 2700 Broadway St, Toledo, OH 43609
Phone: (419) 385-5721
Hours: 10am-5 every day (Sun.-Sat.)
Cost: Adults $19, Children (2-11) $16, Under 2 Years FREE
I always let the kiddos pick one animal to see and then we lived in Nature’s Neighborhood for the rest of the time. Thanks to the membership I never felt obligated to see EVERYTHING, we could always go back later in the week. My personal favorite part about the zoo in the winter time is the fact that no one is there, it is the best! I am not a huge fan of the zoo in the summer, it is WAY too crowded. So soak up the secluded retreat while it last. Go see an animal then park the stroller at Natures Neighborhood. (We would even pack lunch and eat it there in the kitchen area). For more info click link, https://www.toledozoo.org/natures-neighborhood/
Learning Express Events/Crafts
Address: 5577 Monroe St, Sylvania, OH 43560
Phone: (419) 885-3959
Learning Express offers fun simple, seasonal crafts for toddlers. Dates & days vary; they currently don’t have anything posted but be certain to check back in February for a fun winter/ Valentine craft for littles.
Added Tips for living with Toddlers:
Always pack bubbles-quickest way to get your toddler attention is to blow bubbles, truth!
Leave the house early, around 9:30am so that you can get to places right when they are open, that is when they are the cleanest and since toddlers love touching everything, and sometimes licking things, this is the best time to avoided maximum germ exposure/ germ lollypops.
Always have a change of clothes for yourself in the car…because puke, spills, and bloody noses happen!
Never run out of wine! 😉
Enjoy it! Take LOTS of pics, it goes by WAY too fast!
Do you have a favorite local spot to take your Toddler? Please share. Lets make this a great resource for all toddler parents to reference.