Since Little SB isn’t in preschool yet, I’m always on the lookout for fun and engaging activities for her. Whenever I do a google search for activities there are a lot of things that come up, which can be overwhelming because I’m not sure if that activity or program will be enjoyable for her. That’s why I was so happy to find out about Toddler Camp through the founder of my mommy & me group.
Toddler Camp is a once a week class where toddlers 15 months – 3 years (must be able to walk) participate in age-appropriate activities, crafts, and play. They’re usually in the mornings for about an hour to an hour and a half, and each week has a “theme” such as oceans, animals, etc. where the activities/location correlate with that theme. A healthy snack is provided and a grown-up must attend the class together.
Here are some of the things we have participated the past two falls at Toddler Camp in Orange County:
Irvine Park Railroad – We took a trip to the pumpkin patch and was able to ride the train, go in a bounce house, have fun in a hay maze and took tons of pictures! Little SB enjoyed the train ride because we were able to get a great view of the park!
Bola Chica Wetlands – We took a nice hike along the coast with our toddlers and explored the habitats of various animals that live in the ecological reserve. We also went to the interpretative center to learn about the different animals that can be found in the wetlands. They also had a few exhibits of sea life and reptiles. We even got to touch them!
Child Creativity Lab – This community maker’s space offers a variety of STEM based workshops for children, teens and adults. It houses the “CCL Depot for Creative Reuse.” They have reclaimed and reusable material sourced from various businesses throughout Southern California which can be used for educational projects, arts and crafts supplies, home decor, and DIY needs rather than filling our landfills. We were able to create our own art project using these supplies which turned out so amazing! Little SB really had fun with this.
Aliso Beach Park – We were able to make sand art using crayon colored sand and glue. We also played on the amazing playground! Little A had a great time digging in the sand. We didn’t go near the water because this was when she was a bit younger and I wasn’t comfortable trying to chase after her near the waves.
Orange Head Sports Academy – We went to a local park with a playground where the Orange Head Sports Academy came to teach the kids how to play soccer and basketball. The toddlers did some stretches and practiced kicking a soccer ball and bouncing a basketball. I personally think this activity is better suited for older toddlers, but it was good to get some exposure to different sports.
Anaheim Equestrian Center – We participated in a puppet show, sang some songs and had a pony ride at the Anaheim Equestrian Center. We also saw a goat and got to milk her. They even gave the children an opportunity to take turns brushing the pony’s coat. It was the first time Little SB got to ride a pony and she was scared but enjoyed it!
Exploro Ocean – This science based ocean museum was a great introduction to marine life and ocean animals. We read a few ocean stories, explored the touch tanks, made an ocean craft and had a science experiment where we made “snow.” This was probably one of Little SB’s favorite things. She had so much fun touching the “snow!”
Tanaka Farms – We visited this working farm and got to run around the pumpkin patch and see the animals in the petting zoo. We also got to pick our own vegetables and take them home! We even rode in a tractor and got a tour of the farm.
W H A T I L O V E A B O U T I T
It gets us out of the house. Participating in Toddler Camp has helped us to get out of the house and do something other than our weekly Disney trips. Little SB and I are able to explore different venues around where we live that’s kid-friendly. I never knew that some of these places existed!
I don’t have to plan anything. Most days as a SAHM, I have to plan out what we are going to do for the day, how long we are going to stay there, what we are going to eat, etc. On the days I go to Toddler Camp, I just show up to the location and the program is already all planned for me as well as the snacks!
Little SB gets exposed to new experiences and learning. As I mentioned before, some of the places we went to are places that I never knew existed. If I did enough research I probably would have discovered it eventually, but that is very time consuming. I love that Toddler Camp provides Little SB with a new experience and she’s able to learn new things in a different environment. Because each week is at a different location, it’s engaging and exciting to her since it is at a new place! When we participated last fall, Little SB was one of the younger toddlers and she learned a lot from just watching the older ones and how they acted. This time around, she is one of the older ones and it’s amazing to see how much she has grown and matured in just a year.
We get introduced to new products, brands and local services. Toddler Camp provides snacks each week and through that Little SB has sampled different types of snacks which have become some of her favorites. I’ve also learned about different programs at the venues from camp and plan to visit them again with friends in the future.
Toddler Camp has groups throughout Southern California – mostly in the Los Angeles area. They also have some groups in Northern California, New York, Florida, and Illinois. They are always looking to expand and start groups depending on interest, so just because there are none around your area doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future.
Have you participated in Toddler Camp? Is there something similar in your area?