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As a quasi-stay-at-home mom to a daughter who hates to nap, I spend a lot of my daytime hours occupying my little one. This summer, I’m looking forward to taking advantage of her mobility (she can explore on her own a bit!), comprehension (she has a certain understanding of what we are doing!) and age (she’s old enough to do more!) and try some new activities during our time together.

Here is my bucket list for this summer:

Finally make that beach trip

I used to feel guilty for not bringing Nora to the beach last summer in her first year of life, as if I was depriving her of some experience. But to be honest, I was afraid of a meltdown, literally and figuratively. I felt overwhelmed by the thought of having her in the heat and sun for so long, didn’t know what gear I needed, and wasn’t sure how to handle the situation if she skipped her nap as usual and lost it in a semi-remote location. Add to that the fact that we were still nursing very regularly and the challenge seemed more than I wanted to tackle.

Now, a year removed from that summer, I don’t feel the same guilt. Nora has plenty of time to become a beach baby! I now know what to pack to make our trip comfortable for everyone, I can plan our trip around a car nap (the only way to get her to sleep) and we now nurse so infrequently that I know she won’t miss it while we are out having fun.

I’m not looking for anywhere exotic to visit, so Connecticut beaches, here we come!

Picnic in the park

I want to break from our daily routine and take our lunch outside this summer. A nice walk followed by a fun meal on a blanket? Sounds like a great afternoon to me. Bonus points if we do this on Farmers’ Market day and buy our lunch from the local vendors.

Feed the ducks

Nora loves animals. We’ve taken her to several petting zoos and she’s been to the aquarium with her grandparents. But her interaction with animals to date is typically through glass or fence. I want to buy an inexpensive loaf of bread and watch Nora chase the ducks this summer.

Make ice cream

I always remember this as a fun activity in science class. And while my daughter is far too young to understand the how or why of it, rolling a can full of ingredients back and forth to make our own ice cream could turn out to be a delicious experiment!

Pretend to mini golf

Because watching her chase around a small ball with a too-big club will be entertainment for us as parents, too.

Have some old-fashioned sprinkler fun

Nora has access to a pool at her grandparents’ place, but there’s nothing like running through a sprinkler as a kid. Followed by a popsicle or two, and that’s a winner of an afternoon right there.

Explore a new playground

I go to the playground with my daughter. A lot. But the other day when driving around I decided to swing by a playground I’d heard good things about but had never been to. We had a blast! Nora had fun exploring the unfamiliar equipment and I enjoyed a change of scenery. This summer I plan to find another playground we’ve never been to and find new ways to play.

Channel our inner artists

Auntie Gena and Uncle Lenny gifted their niece some awesome sidewalk chalk for her second birthday, and I can’t wait to get out there and get our draw on. I might make it a full-on artsy day and paint with water, too.

Jump in puddles

Nora can’t resist tiny bodies of water on the sidewalk. But she’s hardly ever wearing her rain boots when we’re out (especially now that it’s getting warmer) and while I sometimes indulge her, I’m usually curbing her fun because I don’t want her to ruin her shoes. Buzzkill, I know. Which is why I want to head out in the rain with intent one afternoon, booson, and jump around. Besides, I’d like to get some more use out of those boots before she outgrows them.

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