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Parents Talk: What to Do with a 1-Year-Old?

We'd like to get out of the house and do a little exploring.

As I write this, my daughter, who recently turned 1 year old, is playing with the lid of a pot on my kitchen floor. Sometimes it's an ovenmitt. Other times it's the rolling pin.

Lucy's always been a curious girl—I assume most babies are—and each day she gets a little more adventurous. This week, she took her first unassisted steps.

Given that we're in the throes of winters, my wife and I haven't found much to do with Lucy that didn't involve stretches of carpet that she's all too familiar with. We've braved a few winter visits to the Minnesota Zoo, but Lucy was confined to her stroller.

We'd like to get out of the house and do a little more exploring.

What are some good winter options in the Twin Cities area to take a 1-year-old to? Or how about the spring and summer when she gets a little bit older?

Julie Deitering January 31, 2013 at 04:16 PM
http://www.mcm.org/ - Minnesota Children's Museum. http://www.mallofamerica.com/attractions/view/nickelodeon-universe
Nicole Hart January 31, 2013 at 04:40 PM
I have a 11 month old and I take her to Southdale Y to go swimming every weekend. It's fun and free (for members) and they have a zero depth pool to make it fun for her to play in.
Valerie Engler January 31, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Julie, I've been meaning to take my 14-month-old to the Children's Museum, but she's not walking yet. Do you think she'd still have fun there? I've never been...
Cindi January 31, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Childrens museum has play areas specific to babaies and toddlers....best place EVER!
Willow January 31, 2013 at 08:35 PM
I second the swimming. With all the germs going around, I feel like it's a little less germy activity to do with a toddler than something where they're touching everything.
Willow January 31, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Shopping malls can be a fun change of pace where the little ones can alternate between the stroller and toddling on their own two little legs. Parents can get a snack and goodness knows there is a lot to see. When you ARE stuck at home, it's great entertainment for little kids if you take a under-the-bed storage box and fill it up with dried corn and some cups and spoons for them to play in. Slide it back under the bed when you're done.
Becca Johnson January 31, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Giggle Factory in Hudson, WI like $6 to get in and a baby play area and you could take her down the side with you as well.
Corey Butler Jr. January 31, 2013 at 10:27 PM
That's an excellent idea. Lucy loves bath time. She may not know what to do with herself if she gets into a larger body of water!
Corey Butler Jr. January 31, 2013 at 10:30 PM
I'm far from a parent who's paranoid about germs, germs everywhere, but Lucy has been consistently sick the past few months between daycare, the weather and being kept inside just about every hour of the day. I'm assuming that places meant for children, like the museum, are pretty good about sanitizing anything and everything, but are germs ever a concern for you?
judy Erdahl February 01, 2013 at 03:38 AM
Come visit Minnetonka Preschool and ECFE (early childhood family education) We have parent and child classes we offer on a sliding fee scale. We also have a free Coffee and Play the first Friday of the month. There's one tomorrow from 9 to 10:30 at the Minnetonka Community Education Center. 4584 Vine Hill Road, Excelsior. When you daughter gets just a bit older we also have Open Gym for 18 months to 5 every Wednesday from 4 to 5 and Saturday mornings. The Open Gyms run from late October to the end of March. It's a great way to meet other parents of children 0 to 5 have fun and get some exercise in our frigid Minnesota winters.
yomammy February 01, 2013 at 12:28 PM
just dont start wearing kleenex boxed on your feet....
Connie Karls February 01, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Early Childhood Family Education in district 11 & 16 have open mixed age playtime. They have art projects, and rotate and sanitize the toys. Cost is $2-3 dollars per child for about 90 minutes.
Jeanine Woods February 01, 2013 at 01:37 PM
I have to tell you that yes, germs are a concern, but they are inescapable during the winter months. Don't keep her at home because of germs. Her immune system will build up and when she goes to school she'll be sick less often. Take her to the indoor places, wash her hands before she eats/when you leave, and give her a bath when she comes home. :)
Jeanine Woods February 01, 2013 at 01:38 PM
And by the way, the Maple Maze has a toddler area that is fun.
stjevet February 01, 2013 at 05:32 PM
If you are looking for activities for toddlers there are: MOA, Toddler Tuesdays, Tuesday mornings at 10am, there is a different theme every week and kids eat free at some of the restaurants. Eagan Blast: They have a room with slides and tunnels and a small area for toddlers. They also have a gym to run around in with balls, mats, and other toys. Inver Grove Heights Veterans Memorial has toddler swim mornings Tues and Thurs mornings from 9-11 (they turn off the water works and have toys for young kids to play with) Edinborough park is always a great place to go in Edina. They have a huge play structure with a nice toddler area, plus a gym. They also have concerts on Thurs. at noon with entertainers like Bob the Beachcomber. As for germs, yeah they are everywhere, but most places have sanitizer dispensers now and really it is important for toddlers and young children to build up their immunity system, and they can't do that if you always avoid germs.
Lindsay Cook February 01, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Williston Fitness Center in Minnetonka - indoor splash pad and indoor treehouse play area with lunch tables!
jackie Kuehn February 01, 2013 at 08:29 PM
, Get a sled, find a small hill, take them sliding -so you may have to pull them up the hill or carry them & pull the sled. Get one that you can sit on with them. Go out & help them make a snow man if weather permits. So you may have to do most of it yourself but just getting out & getting some fresh air helps every one. Put worm mittens on them & leave them crawl in the snow even if just for a short time. Show them how to make snow angles the snow won't hurt them. Just dress them worm & have fun it doesn't cost any thing. I even took my daughter skeying =, I put her on the flying saucer tied the rope around my waist & pulled her behind me. It's winter It's Minnesota get out & enjoy it.
ronda February 02, 2013 at 02:33 AM
ECFE classes were so much fun. Lots of opportunities for families. Contact your school district for information.

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