During the long summer months, your busy toddler will enjoy some activity and stimulation beyond your house and yard. Monroe, Michigan offers a variety of activities your little one will love, and you will benefit by letting him burn off some energy. This picturesque town is close to Detroit, on the shore of Lake Erie, and features the lovely River Raisin, originally called River Aux Raisin by French settlers due to the abundance of grapes in the area.
Downtown Monroe (downtownmonroemi.com) will keep you and your little one busy exploring. The Riverwalk, which runs along River Raisin, is a fun way to check out nature and people. St. Mary’s Park, also along River Raisin, provides playground equipment for your child, and picnic shelters. The Bandshell at St. Mary's Park offers several family-friendly concerts and festivals with an open grassy area. Pick up some fresh produce that your toddler will enjoy June through October at the outdoor Monroe Farmers Market.
Sterling State Park
Sterling State Park (michigandnr.com) offers a plethora of outdoor summer activities in a beautiful setting. Situated on Lake Eerie, your toddler will enjoy the mile-long beach and might like a walk on the over 7 miles of trails. There is a playground to run around and gain important social skills. For the overnight adventurer, campgrounds are available. Picnic shelters offer the perfect area for birthday parties or to break for refreshments during your busy day.
The Monroe County Library System (monroe.lib.mi.us) offers "Small Fries" story time, an interactive program for toddlers. After the story, children participate in an art activity. Scheduled playgroups are also available at library branches, where you get a chance to meet other parents while your little one socializes and plays with other children.
Gymnastics and Dance
Aerial Express Gymnastics and Dance (aerialexpressgymnastics.com) is an 18,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art studio, featuring a separate, 1,800-square-foot preschool gym. "Mommy and Me" gymnastics -- for tots ages 15 months and up -- allows you to crawl, stretch, cartwheel and tumble with your toddler. Viva Dance Company (vivadanceco.com) offers tot and parent classes for students 2 1/2 years and up, including dance and tumbling.