We’re singing in the rain … and visiting the museum, Butchart Gardens, and more!

Over the past few months it feels like we have seen a lot of rain. Victoria has been known to experience its fair share of rain … but I feel that this year has been a bit extreme! Baby E has even taken to lifting up the blinds and peering outside in the morning, reaching for her rain boots as she asks me “is it raining Mama?”

It can be a bit trickier finding fun things to do with a toddler when the grass (and slides!) are soaking wet, and a lot of your regular outdoor activities aren’t possible. Our family loves to go on little “adventures”  – usually on Saturday mornings, packing up and heading out as soon as we are up and ready, returning back in time for Baby E’s nap! Here are some of the adventures we have enjoyed during the rainy Fall/Winter season, as well as some of our favorite ‘At Home’ rainy day activities.

Out and About

  • Royal BC Museum: we purchased season passes for the first time a few months ago, and we have certainly been getting our money’s worth! Baby E loves our museum visits. She is almost 3 years old, and this seems to be a wonderful age for the museum. She loves running around to the various exhibits, visiting the Woolly Mammoth, exploring Old Town (waiting in the station for the train to arrive, catching a silent film at the movie theater), and seeing the animals in the forest exhibit.
  • Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre: this is another rainy day favorite of Baby E’s! She enjoys looking at all of the various sea creatures throughout the aquarium, searching for the elusive octopus, and suspiciously eyeing (never touching!) the sea cucumbers and other creatures in the touch tanks. We have also been to a few of the Tot Tuesdays (for ages 3-5), which have been a lot of fun. Tot Tuesdays have a different theme each week, and include stories, activities, and crafts related to that theme.
  • Various events at Mary Winspear and other locations on the Peninsula: we have recently attended a few events at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney (remote control car races, Family Day activities, etc.) which Baby E really enjoyed. If you live on the Peninsula, it’s worth having a look at their events calendar to see what’s coming up. MyPeninsula Events Calendar is also a good place to check for upcoming family activities, as well as ChatterBlock Community Events listings.
  • Butchart Gardens: we recently purchased season passes to Butchart Gardens, in hopes of starting a new family tradition of exploring the gardens at Christmas. We also can’t wait for picnics on the grass in front of the bandstand when the weather gets warmer! But for now, even on those rainy/cloudy days, we have been going for walks around the gardens (they supply umbrellas!) culminating in the main event for Baby E … a few rides on the Rose Carousel! We recently learned about the Carousel punch card for Seasons Pass holders, which means no more worries about having cash for the rides, and one free ride for every 10. The carousel is a huge hit with Baby E, and a perfect rainy day activity.
  • Butterfly Gardens: this has always been a favorite place for Baby E. She loves the flamingos, turtles, fish, squawking birds … but isn’t too keen on the butterflies flying around!
  • Swimming and skating at Panorama Recreation: these two activities are both favorites of Baby E on a rainy day. Although she hasn’t exactly mastered skating yet … she sure does love being pushed around in the little toy car on the ice!
  • Music and dance classes: we just finished our 4th session of a program called Music Together. This program is incredible! Offered around the world, it is an amazing way to introduce your baby/toddler to the world of music and rhythm. Each session is structured around a particular instrument, and includes a CD of 25 fabulous songs. Weekly 45-minute classes give the opportunity to sing these songs with the group, and explore various instruments and dance/movement. I am convinced that this program has had a huge influence on Baby E’s language development. At the age of 3, she also now knows over 125 songs, partly due to this class!  As well as music, we just completed our first Little Dancer class through Dansko Studios. This was a wonderful program as well, which Baby E really enjoyed.
  • Kindergym: Our local recreation center offers a Kindergym session 3 morning a week at Greenglade Community Centre. Children aged 1-5 years (with a parent) can enjoy ride-on cars, tumbling mats, toys and activities, a bouncy castle, and more. We have also heard that Tumblebums in Langford is a great place for little ones to play, but we have yet to check it out.
  • Local library: we love trips to the library, where we sit together and pick out new books to read before nap/bedtime. We have discovered many new favorite books this way! We are also always on the lookout for library events such as puppet shows, story time, and other activities for children.

 

At Home

  • Floor puzzles: We bought the PetitCollage Alphabet Kingdom floor puzzle for Baby E last Christmas, and it’s now a favorite activity of ours. This cute, colorful puzzle is fun to work on together, and Baby E is learning both her letters, and which animals start with each letter.
  • Musical instruments: Baby E has the Melissa & Doug Band in a Box set. We love to sing songs (or play a CD) and add our own musical sounds using the instruments!
  • Painting wooden shapes: Baby E has discovered a love of painting! As well as painting masterpieces on paper, I recently found inexpensive wooden items from Michaels Craft store that are perfect for painting – butterflies, birdhouses, dragonflies, and more. I can usually find them for a few dollars each, and Baby E will often spend a good 30-45 minutes on each project.
  • Toilet Paper Tube crafts: everyone has toilet paper tubes, and there are lots of fun and easy crafts that you can find online. Baby E and I recently made these butterflies, and we’ve been eyeing this list for our next project!
  • Other Pinterest kids crafts: I’ve found myself getting a teensy bit addicted to Pinterest lately, and a good majority of my pins are related to Baby E. I have a whole board dedicated to kids activities/crafts, and these are two of the projects I’m looking forward to trying with her next: Handprint art, and Fingerprint Drawing.
  • Kitchen/restaurant: Baby E still loves the DIY kitchen that we made her, and the latest favorite is playing restaurant. I am in the process of making a menu (cutting out pictures of food from flyers), and fabric money that we can use in Baby E’s restaurant!
  • Playdough: Always a classic favorite. Baby E loves to create things with playdough, or have me create animals for her to guess what they are. Great practice for Cranium, one of our family’s favorite board games! There are a number of recipes online for homemade playdough, and making it is half the fun.

 

Today the sun was shining and I was hopeful that our rainy streak was over. When I checked the weather tonight, the forecast showed clouds rolling in on Saturday, and rain starting up again on Sunday. If you have your own favorite rainy day activities for toddlers, I’d love to hear them!

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