I don’t know about you but I’m always in search of activities to do with my three year old. I feel like things were simpler when she was younger because she wasn’t that mobile so she would be content laying on the floor playing with toys or she might even be sleeping during a play date with our mommy friends. But now as a three year old, I feel like she needs more to keep her active and engaged. Play dates are also not as simple because we now have a room full of toddlers that like to explore, be loud, and run around so it’s important to find a safe place where they can do all those things.
Aside from places like Pretend City, Disneyland, Aquarium of the Pacific, Discovery Cube and Knott’s Berry Farm, here are some other places around Orange County to take your kids or meet up with your mommy friends. Alternatively, if you are a Cultural Care Au Pair that’s relatively new to the area or babysitter/nanny, some of these places may be a good spot for you to bond with the children you are looking after.
1.Irvine Park Railroad – An amazing park to go with friends or with your family. They have seasonal activities during Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. During the rest of the year you can go and visit the OC Zoo, go on a pony ride, rent bikes or paddle boats or go on a train ride. They even have beautiful peacocks that roam the park near the horses and zoo.
Little A at the petting zoo inside the OC Zoo.
2. Irvine Spectrum– not only can you get some shopping done but your kids can also have fun! They have a small playground and splash pad near Target which the kids can play in. They can also ride on the giant ferris wheel, train or carousel for a small fee. We love going here because it is so spacious and stroller friendly.
One of our favorite places to go for a few hours during the day is Disneyland or Disney California Adventures. We are only about a 20 minute drive from the theme parks so we can pop in there for a couple of hours on any given day. We usually stay for 3 hours max, depending on nap schedules. A few local mommy friends have passes too, so we have Disney days often. It’s nice to go with other moms who have young children so that the kids can play together and the moms can chat while we wait in line.
We purchased the premium annual pass which gives us access to the park anytime with free parking, as well as up to 15% off dining and 20% off merchandise in select stores. It was pricey but after doing the math and knowing that we would go often, it was a better purchase than paying $99 for an adult ticket and only a 2-3 hr stay with a toddler (children under 3 are free). View Post
Today was the actual 60th birthday of Disneyland! I was not going to go to either park because I thought it was going to be too crazy and crowded but I looked on the Mousewait app and the crowd index seemed manageable so I decided to take Little A. I’m so glad we did!
Parking was a breeze in the parking structure. Even the bag check line was nonexistent. We arrived around 11:30am and we had a great time. I mainly went for the experience and for the many photo ops that were available. Even though Little A will not really remember any of it, she will have these pictures to look back on.
To celebrate Little A’s second birthday, Mr. C and I took her to a character dining experience at the Disneyland Hotel. Little A LOVES LOVES LOVES Minnie Mouse. Who doesn’t? I thought that she would love eating breakfast with some of her favorite Disney characters and boy did she have fun!
Reservations are recommended so that you don’t have to wait 30 minutes or more depending on how busy they are. It’s quite easy to make a reservation online. Be aware that they have a 1-day cancellation policy where you will be charged $10/person if you cancel within 1 day of the reservation or do not show up.
About a month after Little A was born, I began researching mommy and me programs or activities I could do with her. There was really nothing that was close to my house but I did come across a program called OC Mommy and Me. I was intrigued because it sounded exactly like what I was looking for- a support group for new moms with children that were around the same age. As an older mom, most of my friends have kids who are already in grade school or middle school so I really wanted to be a part of a mommy group with kids that are the same age as mine. I hoped that this would be what I was looking for. I quickly signed up and waited for the first class to begin. My daughter was going to be about 8 weeks old by the time the first class started and I was able to get another mommy friend (who I didn’t know that well) to sign up with me.
Little A & friend at their first class.