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Creating Adventures doesn’t have to Be Complicated!

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Was there ever a simple thing that wowed you as a child? Maybe you were mystified by an automated car wash or excited to put mail in the mailbox. For young children, so much of the world is new to them that even the mundane can be thrilling. What feels like normal, boring errands to you is a mysterious grown-up adventure for your children. Their sense of wonder is endless!

Parents and caregivers can encourage that sense of wonder by helping their children explore their everyday world. With set goal or a simple activity, a walk to the grocery store can become an exciting summer field trip. Erin Buhr provides dozens of ideas for simple summer adventures in her book Little Walks, Big Adventures: 50+ Ideas for Exploring with Toddlers. From zoos to farmers markets, this book offers parents plenty of inspiration for ways to promote awe in their little learners. Try a few of the activities below and watch as your child finds new wonder in the world around them.

Grocery Store

Make shopping an educational adventure by encouraging this simple counting activity as you shop. Pick small, colorful items for your child to pick up and count with you, like fruits and vegetables.

What to Do:

  1. Encourage your toddlers to help you count a certain number of berries for a fruit salad. Counting is an early math skill that engages toddler’s cognition
  2. Count out one apple for each person for lunch or two crackers for each toddler at snack time


Neighborhood Walk

This simple outside activity brings a toy you would normally use inside to a different space to encourage new play. Toy trucks and cars can explore a chalk-drawing neighborhood and visit the same places you and your little learner go!

What to Do:

  1. Draw roads on the ground outside and set out trucks and cars
  2. Talk about driving around your neighborhood and model stopping at stop signs as you play
  3. Add places you and your child go to together like the park or the grocery store
  4. Go on a brief walk around the neighborhood and then come back to reenact it with the cars


Encourage social-emotional learning and dramatic play by taking a stuffed animal to the park! Have your child bring her baby doll or teddy bear and watch as she plays parent.

What to Do:

  1. Bring your stuffed animals or baby dolls along and send them down the slide. This is great for little ones who are interested in caring for animals or babies. It supports their interest in role-playing the parent role. It also adds a gross motor challenge for young toddlers

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