Home SoCal Nine Summer Activity Ideas for OC Toddlers

Nine Summer Activity Ideas for OC Toddlers

by lovestalgia

 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.

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.

3. Indoor Play Spaces– there are many indoor play spaces that are popping up all over Orange County where kids can play in a safe place filled with slides, jumpers, toys, ball pits, and more. Children and Adults must wear socks to keep the area clean. Some of our favorites are:

Little A on her 3rd birthday at Kidz Spot.

  • We Play Loud (Lake Forest)– $15/2 people
  • Playland Cafe (Irvine) -$14/2 people, $9/2 people with toddler child (under 2),
  • Seascape (Anaheim Hills) – $10/child (1-17yrs), adults and children under 1 are free (but that child must be accompanied with a paying child.)
  • Kidz Spot (La Habra)-$12/child, adults are free
  • Jumping Fun Kids (Buena Park)- $10/Ages 4 and up, $5/Ages 3 and under, $3/adult, Free for 18months and under.
  • Chubby Cheeks Cafe (City of Industry)- $8/child (Age 2 and up) for 2 hours of play, adults can enjoy a meal while their kids play. They even have a balloon artist that makes swords or animals!

4. Beaches– With over 30 beaches in Orange County, there are plenty of places to soak up some sun and have fun with your little ones. Here are some of the most kid friendly ones.

5. Splash Pads/Parks– Orange County is known for its clean, amazing parks and finding ones that are either gated or essentially closed in are great places for play dates so moms can (sort of) hang back and chat while littles run themselves wild just in time for a great nap when they get home! There are so many local, city, neighborhood parks to choose from! Some parks even have splash pads so your kids can cool off during the hot summer days. Due to the drought in California, some of the splash pads have closed unless they use reclaimed water which means they recycle the water. Make sure kids don’t drink the water when they are playing at these splash pads! Most splash pads are open from May until Labor Day. Here are a few of the bigger ones that are still open.

6. Once Upon a Storybook – This quaint bookstore in Tustin offers story time for kids of all ages. They also offer summer camps for school age children and have special events throughout the year. (Update 5/4/18- It’s closed now!)

7. Nature Centers– There are several nature centers throughout Orange County which provide programs or trails for you and your play date group to enjoy!

Fullerton Arboretum

  • Environmental Nature Center (Newport Beach)-vThere’s a Discover Room with neat things to touch and explore. There is also a Butterfly House you can go explore.
  • Fullerton Arboretum (Fullerton)- A huge botanical garden located in Fullerton, it’s home to over 4,000 unique and unusual plant structures from all over the world. You can take a guided tour or walk the grounds yourself to enjoy the lush grounds or the children’s garden
  • Shipley Nature Center (Huntington Beach)-You can go on a self guided tour of the center and even participate in a Parent and Me program which is on Wednesdays at 11am for $3.

8. Group Classes– There are so many different places to sign up for classes. My group of mommy friends signed up for gymnastic classes as well as Music Together music classes. It was enjoyable to meet together and learn a new skill. Some community centers also have classes that you can take. Here are some of my favorites.

Little A at her Tumble N Kids class when she was almost 2.

9. Farms– There are a couple of local farms where children can tour a real working farm.

Strawberry tour at Tanaka Farms in March.

  • Centennial Farm– Located on the OC Fair Grounds, this working farm is open to tours on select days. Check here for the schedule. Children can see pigs, chickens, and cows! Every year in the Spring, they also have an event called Imaginology which focuses on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.) They have various activities, exhibits, and displays. My toddler had a great time exploring!
  • Tanaka Farms– Located in Irvine, this farm has guided tours throughout the year where you ride in a tractor pulled wagon and see how fruits and vegetables grow. You also get to sample some vegetables that are in season. You can even pick some to take home! They have a Strawberry Tour in the spring (our favorite!) and a Watermelon Tour in the summer. In the fall, they have an amazing pumpkin patch where you get to pick your own pumpkin to take home.

Are there any other places in Orange County for fun play dates or activities with your kids?

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14 comments

Morgan @ Managing Mommyhood July 27, 2016 - 6:21 am

Love this! I have a 2 year old who is in a stage of, “We need to do something everyday to tired him out” so these are great!

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lovestalgia July 28, 2016 - 2:49 am

LOL! It doesn’t get any better at 3! I’m always looking for stuff to do with my daughter. Hope you guys get to check out these places and have fun!

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Juliet @ Bowl of Cherries July 27, 2016 - 2:01 pm

Oh my goodness! I am an OC native with two young children and didn’t know about Once Upon a Storybook. I’m definitely putting this on our list of things to do this summer. Great post ❤︎

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lovestalgia July 28, 2016 - 2:52 am

OH! you have to check it out! It’s SOOO cute and they have new investors so they have even more activities and events. They almost closed earlier this year. I’m glad that it didn’t because it is such a charming place!

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Emily July 27, 2016 - 2:29 pm

Your post made me miss OC so much (I used to live there). There’s so many family-friendly places! Great post.

Xx, Emily

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lovestalgia July 28, 2016 - 2:53 am

You did?!?!? There’s quite a lot to do now with kids.. or maybe I just know more about them since I have a kid now. lol. Thanks for reading!!! Come visit!

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Shortsweetmom.com July 27, 2016 - 3:20 pm

I do not live in Orange County but if we travel there this is a great list of things we could do with our munchkin. ?

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lovestalgia July 28, 2016 - 2:53 am

Thank you! You should visit if you can! It’s a great place and the weather can’t be beat!

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Amanda July 27, 2016 - 4:55 pm

These all look so fun! I am always in search of something to do with my toddler, you guys have great options!

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lovestalgia July 28, 2016 - 2:55 am

Thanks! Me too! I think more and more places are popping up for kids (especially the jump houses) since those seem to be the most popular. Kids can have so much fun while parents supervise. Thanks for reading!

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Shahla July 27, 2016 - 5:35 pm

What cool spots!! OC is so kid friendly!! What fun splash pads!!

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lovestalgia July 28, 2016 - 2:55 am

Thanks Shahla! You should check some of these places out when you visit!!

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birdieandjack July 28, 2016 - 5:13 am

There is so much fun stuff to do in the OC. Once upon a storybook looks amazing! I would love to take my kiddos there.

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lovestalgia July 28, 2016 - 2:48 pm

There is! You should totally come and visit!!!

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