First off, congratulations. As a dad of teenagers, I find myself looking back wistfully at my kids’ toddler years. Soak up this time of life. But, if you are on vacation to Door County, it might seem as if it’s not the most toddler-friendly place. But, we have you covered. Here are 10 of the best things to dohttps://hellodoorcounty.com/the-farm-great-thing-to-do-with-kids/ in Door County with toddlers.
10 Best Things to Do in Door County with Toddlers
1. The Farm in Door County
Number one on this list is easy. It isn’t even close. The Farm is a blast for the whole family, toddlers included.
The Farm in Door County is “a living museum to rural America.” Even though your toddler might not enjoy some of the historical exhibitions, there is one thing he or she will love: the animals.
From baby goats to kittens to their huge (but gentle) Brahmin bull, your toddler will enjoy looking at the animals, petting them, and helping to feed them.
The animals are always extremely clean, gentle, and lots of fun. This is one of my family’s favorite places to go in Door County.
Read our comprehensive review of The Farm in Door County to learn more about this great attraction.
2. The Beach
The beach is a great place to take your toddler when you’re visiting to Door County. Toddlers love playing in the water and digging in the sand.
Door County has lots of great beaches. You can learn about them in our guide to the beaches of Door County.
Personally, with toddlers I would stick to beaches on the Green Bay side of Door County. The beaches here tend to have warmer and gentler water. That would make me feel best about taking my toddler to the beach.
One beach I would avoid is the beach at Whitefish Dunes State Park. Once I took my kids there. My youngest was still a toddler. There was a strong current that day, and she kept getting washed up the beach, away from me! That made me really nervous.
Whitefish Dunes State Park is still a good place to take a toddler. I’ll explain why a little bit later. I just don’t like to take toddlers swimming there.
The best beach to take toddlers to is Haines Beach. The downside to Haines Beach is that it is in southern Door County, far away from the tourist area. But, if you make the trek, you will find a shallow, warm-water beach. When my kids were toddlers, I felt very safe taking them there.
Hiking is a great activity with toddlers. Most toddlers love being outside and in nature!
Hiking isn’t the same with toddlers as when you don’t have kids, or when your kids are older. You have to be ready to carry them a lot of the way. It’s best to take short hikes and to take it slow.
Still, It’s a lot of fun.
I already mentioned that I don’t like to take toddlers swimming at Whitefish Dunes State Park. But, I do like taking toddlers hiking there.
The first reason I like taking toddlers hiking at Whitifish Dunes State Park is that the trails are pretty easy but still get you out in nature. An easy trail is nice when you are carrying a toddler or when you let your toddler walk part of it.
The other reason I like to take toddlers hiking at Whitefish Dunes State Park is that you can often meet lots of dogs there. Whitefish Dunes State Park has a dog beach. You can often meet lots of nice dogs walking to or from the beach. When I had toddlers, they loved dogs.
4. P.C. Junction
P.C. Junction is so much fun for toddlers. You’ll probably have a great time there, too.
As far as food goes, P.C. Junction serves pretty typical Wisconsin bar food. Burgers, chicken fingers, stuff like that.
But what makes P.C. Junction so fun for toddlers is how they serve the food. They send the food out on a model train that goes around the bar.
My kids especially like when they put an automatic bubble blower on one of the cars.
Give it a try!
5. Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard in Fish Creek
Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard is a great place to take your toddler in Door County.
Of course, your toddler will love the frozen custard. But, there’s much more to do than that.
Not Licked Yet has a really great playground that’s fun for toddlers. Your toddler will get a lot of her energy out here and hopefully give you a great night of sleep in return!
But, the thing your toddler will probably love the most is feeding the ducks. You can buy a bag of popcorn and go down to the creek. There, you’ll meet some (rather portly) cute ducks just waiting to be fed by you.
You’ll have a blast with your toddler tossing the popcorn to the ducks and seeing them race to gobble it up. He’ll probably eat some of the popcorn, too.
6. Farm Markets
Most people think only about buying jams, jellies, and baked goods when visiting a farm market. You can certainly get those things at Door County’s several farm markets.
But, most of the markets have fun activities for kids as well, like playgrounds. You might be surprised about how much time you might spend at a farm market with your toddler.
7. Strawberry Picking
Speaking about agritourism, strawberry picking is a great thing to do with toddlers.
Door County is famous for cherry picking. Cherry picking is a blast! And, you can have fun cherry-picking with your toddler.
But, strawberry picking is even better suited to toddlers. That’s because strawberries are down on the ground, while cherry-picking is up in a tree.
Your toddler will love searching for ripe red strawberries underneath the leaves. It’s like a treasure hunt for food.
Your toddler will probably help fill your picking bucket. More will probably end up in her mouth. It’s okay. The strawberry field owners won’t mind.
Strawberry picking season is usually in mid- to late-June.
Go to the library on vacation? Sure thing!
Most of Door County’s villages have a library with a kids’ section. And, programming like story times is often available for toddlers.
The library is a great thing to do with toddlers in Door County.
9. Go to the Park
Door County has lots of parks besides just its famous state parks. Many of these parks have great facilities for kids, like playgrounds and swing sets.
Check out our comprehensive list of all the parks in Door County to find one that works great for you!
10. Go to a Parade
Parades are great for toddlers. There are so many interesting things to see. And, the candy that gets thrown out at them is great, too.
Door County has lots of fun parades. Some of these are more traditional parades. The primetime for those parades is the 4th of July weekend.
But, there are lots of parades throughout the year as well. There’s even a goat parade in May!
More Ideas for Activities with Toddlers
These are a little more generic than our list above. You can do these in Door County, but you can also do these at home!
Take your toddler on nature walks to parks, gardens, or nearby nature trails. Let them explore the outdoors, observe insects, collect leaves, and enjoy the fresh air. Nature provides a wonderful opportunity for sensory exploration and learning about the world around them.
Arts and Crafts
Engage your toddler in simple arts and crafts activities. Provide them with safe materials like crayons, washable markers, finger paints, and child-safe scissors. Encourage their creativity and let them express themselves through art. It’s not about the final product; it’s about the process and the joy of creating.
Music and Dance
Put on some music and dance with your toddler. Toddlers love to move their bodies and feel the rhythm. You can also introduce them to musical instruments like shakers, drums, or xylophones to create their own little band.
Read books together with your toddler. Choose colorful picture books with simple stories or rhymes. Reading aloud helps build their vocabulary, stimulates imagination, and fosters a love for books.
Organize playdates with other toddlers. Social interaction is crucial for their development. It teaches them sharing, turn-taking, and how to communicate with their peers.
Set up sensory play activities at home. You can fill a tub with rice or pasta for them to explore, or create a sensory bin with water and various toys. Sensory play enhances their tactile and cognitive skills.
Encourage imaginative play by providing toys that promote role-playing, like dolls, action figures, toy kitchens, or dress-up costumes. Participate in their play and let their imagination lead the way.
Engage in simple outdoor games like tag, hide-and-seek, or blowing bubbles. These games help them develop gross motor skills and burn off some of that boundless energy.
Involve your toddler in simple cooking tasks. They can help mix ingredients, pour, or decorate cookies. It’s a fun way to bond and teach them basic kitchen skills.
Visit Child-Friendly Places
Take your toddler to child-friendly places like children’s museums, zoos, or indoor play areas. These places offer interactive exhibits and activities tailored to their age group.
Remember, the key is to keep activities fun, engaging, and age-appropriate. Toddlers learn through play and exploration, so let them lead the way while providing a safe and supportive environment. Enjoy these precious moments with your little one!
Tips for Planning Activities with Toddlers
Always prioritize the safety of toddlers. Ensure that the activities and materials are age-appropriate and free from any choking hazards or potential dangers.
Simple and Engaging
Choose activities that are simple and easy for toddlers to understand and enjoy. Activities that capture their attention and keep them engaged are ideal.
Toddlers learn best through hands-on exploration. Opt for activities that allow them to touch, feel, and interact with their environment.
Toddlers have short attention spans and can be unpredictable. Be prepared to adapt or change activities if needed based on their mood and interests.
Patience and Encouragement
Toddlers may take time to grasp new concepts or complete tasks. Be patient and offer encouragement and praise for their efforts.
Look for activities that have educational value, such as learning colors, shapes, numbers, or introducing basic concepts like cause and effect.
Outdoor and Indoor Balance
Include a mix of outdoor and indoor activities to cater to different needs and weather conditions.
Routine and Consistency
Toddlers thrive on routine and consistency. Try to incorporate activities into their daily schedule to provide a sense of structure.
Group and Solo Activities
Plan activities that can be done both in groups and individually, as toddlers may have different preferences.
Follow their Interests
Observe what excites and interests the toddlers, and try to incorporate those themes or subjects into the activities to keep them engaged.
Remember that each child is unique, and what works for one toddler may not work for another. The goal is to create a positive and enjoyable experience while fostering their development and creativity.
Summary: Things To Do with Toddlers in Door County
- Fun things to do with toddlers in Door County include The Farm, going to the beach, and strawberry picking.
- Fun things to do with toddlers anywhere include hands-on art, music and dance, and playing outside.
- Every toddler is different, but consistency, outdoor and indoor balance, and flexibility are key traits to successful toddler activities.