Fun Places for 1-Year-Olds

By Leah Williams
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Being a 1-year-old is an exciting time. Finally mobile, these toddlers are no longer left to view the world from their parents' arms or from a stroller. They can touch, feel, walk, run and see things for themselves. Many different places ignite young children's minds while still providing educational opportunities to further their growth and development down the road.

The Park

Mother and young child at park
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Perfect for a sunny day, parks are great go-to destinations for parents who want to let their young toddlers play. What is available depends on the community you are visiting. Swings, slides and other playground equipment help make the environment fun and exciting for toddlers. Another great idea is to pack a picnic lunch that the two of you can share after an exhausting day of playing outdoors. Your child will enjoy the bonding time that you share with one another.

The Zoo

Underwater fish and shark tank at zoo
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Let your little one's mind go wild with a day trip to a zoo. Zoos are perfect for meeting lions, tigers and bears, and introducing your 1-year-old to other aspects of nature. Some zoos have activities geared specifically for the younger set. For example, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo has an Australian-themed children's area called Wallaroo Station, where children can brush a goat's fur and feed birdseed lollipops to parakeets. You can also have a giraffe snatch a cracker right from her little hands. Another fun activity is walking down a path where kangaroos and wallabies hop right in front of passersby. Lowry Park is also the only zoo in the country with an accredited preschool and kindergarten on-site.

Children's Museums

Young toddler at children's museum
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Children's museums offer a variety of activities to help stimulate young minds, and your 1-year-old can learn about the many different cultures around the world at the same time. For instance, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the largest children's museum in the world. The museum is sectioned off into an underwater coral reef, a dinosaur discovery area and an ancient Egyptian tomb. The museum also has various attractions with games perfect for the littlest of visitors. At the time of publication, an exhibit featuring the Nickelodeon preschool characters Dora and Diego invites young children to gather up pirate treasure and help rescue baby animals from a Rainforest Maze.

Seasonal Activities

Child with pumpkin
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The change of season presents an opportune time to take your toddler and show her a good time. For example, visit a pumpkin patch in the fall. Many patches have hayrides and other games and activities. In the summer, you can go to a local beach where she can stick her toes in the water while she soaks up the sun. Seasonal attractions are also a great way to start family traditions and give you something to look forward to for next year.

About the Author

Leah Williams has written for many newspapers, magazines, blogs and websites, including the "Mt. Vernon Register-News" and "Nightlife." She has her bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University and is now working on her graduate degree. Williams likes to write about parenting, arts and entertainment, education and features.