Need help entertaining a toddler? Here’s fun toddler activities in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter. The toddler years can be equally fun and challenging. You need fun excursions to keep them interested but not too long for their short attention spans. Here’s 12 local toddler activities to try.
Visit Newcastle Museum
Take them to Newcastle Museum. For toddlers, there is a small indoor play area Mininova featuring soft mats to keep them safe while they toddle around. You can also drop by for Tuesday Tales storytime. For more information, visit the Newcastle Museum website.
Visit a “toddler-friendly” playground
There’s loads of parks and playgrounds around the area. For toddlers, you want playgrounds that offer age-appropriate equipment, soft ground coverings, steps they can try to climb up and fencing for those kids who love to run. Check out the Newy with Kids list of toddler-friendly playgrounds for a description of different parks. (Parks that are fenced are highlighted in the article)
Get on transport
Toddlers love the fun of a ride so go for a train ride, ride the Stockton ferry or even ride on the Newcastle Famous Tram. [Coming in 2019, they can ride on the light rail in Newcastle CBD].
Go for a walk with your toddler
With little legs, go for a short walk with your toddler. Not only do they get to enjoy being outdoors, it tires them out! Choose flat sections of the Bathers Way such as Bar Beach or Merewether, Queens Wharf to Honeysuckle, Lambton Park circuit and short parts of the Warners Bay to Speers Point walk.
Sign up for children’s programs at your local library
Introduce your child to the wonderful world of books with special programs for toddlers. All of the local libraries including Newcastle Region Library, Lake Macquarie City Library and Maitland City Library organise programs. Most have special baby packs for parents to borrow as well so your toddler can “read” along.
Visit the animals at Blackbutt Reserve
It’s always a great day out visiting the animals at Blackbutt Reserve. There’s koalas, emus, wallabies, wombats and peacocks and lots more critters. A series of boardwalks make it easy to push a stroller and let young ones view the creatures up close in the enclosures. Older children can participate in the Koala Encounter (extra charge) every day at 2 p.m. where they can get up close and personal with one of the resident koalas. (Admission free, car parking charge). You can also enjoy the Black Duck playground at Carnley Street entrance. For more animals, visit Oakvale Farm or Hunter Valley Zoo (admission costs apply).
Join a playgroup
Go to playgroup and make some new friends for your child or yourself. Join a local playgroup in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie or the Hunter. Playgroup is an informal session where mums, dads, grandparents, caregivers, children and babies meet up in a relaxed and friendly environment and enjoy crafts, songs, and other kid-friendly activities. Here’s a list of local playgroups in the Newcastle region.
Go to a movie session for kids
Introduce your toddlers to the movies. Designed for children under the age of 5, Event Junior at Event Cinemas is a modified family-friendly cinema experience. Event Junior is the perfect destination for parents to allow their kids to be kids and enjoy their first cinema experience. To cater to a younger audience, the sessions include no ads, limited trailers, the lights on dim, sound lowered and some toys down the front to play with. They also have an intermission for toilet breaks.
Have a play at an indoor play centre
Indoor play centres are a great option during the week when it’s hot or rainy. Toddlers can play in age-appropriate areas while parents enjoy a coffee or catch-up. Locally, there’s Megamania in Charlestown Square, Chameleon Play Cafe in Cessnock and Tin Lids Play Centre in Morisset.
Get out among the Wetlands
Get out into nature at the Hunter Wetlands Centre. There’s reptile talks, birdfeeding talks, walking and cycling tracks. You can take the kids dipnetting to find bugs in the mud or do the Discovery Zone treasure hunt. Kids under 3 free.
Eat at a local cafe or restaurant where kids eat free
Go out for lunch at a toddler-friendly place. Here’s a list of venues with kids playgrounds to keep them happy. Also, toddlers can be fussy when it comes to food so don’t spend lots of money on their food when you go. Here’s a list of local venues where kids eat free.
Go to the beach or a pool
In summer, take little ones down to the beach. The Canoe Pool at Newcastle Beach, the shallow area at Merewether Beach and Granny’s Pool at Blacksmiths Beach are ideal spots to take toddlers. If you would prefer a pool, there are shallow toddler pools at Lambton Pool, Wallsend Pool, Charlestown Swim Centre, Speers Point Swim Centre, Swansea Swim Centre, Morisset Swim Centre and Maitland Pool.