Toddler To-do List: Fall Wrap Up

Fall doesn’t technically end until December 20, but our toddler to-do list included mostly seasonal activities. So now that we’ve officially kicked off the holidays, it’s probably time to revisit our list.

Time flies when you’re having toddler fun, amirite?

ToddlerToDoEND

Go to a football game. We took Emme to a Northwestern football game in early September. Here Emme is enjoying a snack in the stands and sporting her new hat. That’s my husband’s leg. He’s a runner.

Check out a local fall festival. Again, we crossed this one off the list early and attended Oktoberfest in Berwyn. But it rained on and off, so we cut our time at the festival short. We talked about going to another one, but never did.

Visit a farm with animals and a pumpkin patch. Did I mentioned how much I loved the Green Meadows Farm in Wisconsin?

goats

Go on a hayride. Done.

hayride

Splash at an indoor water park. We basically had the waterpark at Timber Ridge Lodge in Lake Geneva to ourselves. And we’ve already booked our trip for next year.

water

Decorate a pumpkin. We did this. I don’t have evidence of it.

Go to the zoo. We did end up going to Boo at the Zoo at Brookfield Zoo, but it was not a great day for the toddler, and we didn’t stay long. Maybe we’ll try again next year.

Dress up for Halloween and trick-or-treat. Yep. And yep.

halloween2

Have a dance party or two. Sometime in October, Emme became obsessed with Taylor Swift. We listened (and danced to) Shake it Off about 10 times a night for a week. What I learned is that I do not hate Taylor Swift.

Explore a new playground. We did actually make it to a new playground for a playdate in Western Springs.

Take fall photos. Nope. Not this year. At least nothing fancy.

Visit an art museum. Turns out you can take a toddler to the Art Institute of Chicago.

still life

Visit a children’s museum. We took Emme to Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview.

Kohl

Learn about Thanksgiving. With Gena’s help and my mom’s book selections, we crossed this one off the list, though I’m not sure she “got it.” She told me “Happy Birthday” on Thanksgiving. Close enough.

A Visit to Green Meadows Petting Farm

Back in July, I stumbled across an article on Red Tricycle Chicago that highlighted Chicago-area farms offering family friendly activities. Ever since our outing to Garden Patch Farms in June, I’ve been wanting to take Emme to another farm. The petting zoo aspect of Green Meadows Petting Farm caught my attention, and I became mildly obsessed taking Emme to this Wisconsin farm.

But I needed an excuse to make the trip.
A Visit to Green Meadows Petting Farm in East Troy, Wisconsin. Add this petting farm to your list of must-do activities with toddlers in Chicagoland. Only 90 miles from the Chicago area.

Luckily, my husband had a conference last week in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where he would be staying at Timber Ridge Resort, which features an indoor water park. It was the perfect excuse for a mini-family vacation.

Lake Geneva is less than 90 miles from our home in the western suburbs of Chicago — incredibly easy to get to — and Green Meadows Petting Farm was about 20 miles from our hotel in East Troy, Wisconsin. It was the perfect day trip for Emme and I while Daddy spent the afternoon in meetings.

Welcome to Green Meadow Petting Farm | www.mommysanest.com

The entrance to Green Meadows Petting Farm farm is a bit unassuming, but beyond this yellow building, the grounds blew me away. For $13.50 each (children under 1 are free), Emme and I had access to more activities and animals than I expected. Admission to Green Meadows Petting Farm also included a hayride, a pony ride, and a pumpkin picked from the farm’s pumpkin patch.

Green Meadows Petting Farms| www.mommysanest.com

We lucked out with perfect weather: blue skies, sunshine, and temperatures in the mid-70s temperatures. We took advantage of the picturesque day and spent hours exploring.

Green Meadow Petting Farm | www.mommysanest.comFrom a fleet of Cozy Coups to a variety of bikes, a small merry-go-round, and a learning center with a train set, there was so much to keep Emme busy at Green Meadows Petting Farm that she could have easily played for an hour or more without even bothering with the animals.

Goats at Green Meadow Petting Farm | www.mommysanest.com

I did eventually convince her to move on from the toys so that we could check out the animals.

Green Meadows Petting Farms | www.mommysanest.com

Despite what it looks like, no kittens were harmed in the making of these memories.

We didn’t even go to every pen, but we did manage to get up close and personal with goats, kittens, and chickens. From afar we saw horses, a Texas longhorn, and pigs. Feeding the animals was definitely one of Emme’s favorite parts of the day.

Chicken at Green Meadows Petting Farm | www.mommysanest.com

Playground at Green Meadow Petting Farm | www.mommysanest.com

We wrapped up our visit to Green Meadows Petting Farm on the playground, picked out a pumpkin, and took a pony ride (included with admission). At that point, I was too tired to wait for the next hayride, which runs roughly once an hour.

Pumpkin Patch at Green Meadow Petting Farm | www.mommysanest.com

“It’s heavy, Mommy.”

Pony Ride at Green Meadow Petting Farm | www.mommysanest.com

There was more to do at Green Meadows Petting Farm than I ever expected, and I’m so glad we drove the 30 minutes from Lake Geneva to visit it. We stayed almost three hours and probably could have stuck around longer. Emme loved it, and I’m hoping we’ll have the opportunity to come back.

If You Go To Green Meadows Petting Farm

  • Bring quarters for animal feed. Emme loved feeding the animals, and I had fun feeding the goats and chickens too.
  • Consider packing a picnic lunch. There’s plenty of seating where you can have lunch. Green Meadows Petting Farm does have some food you can buy. I ended up getting Emme baked Cheetos because I’m campaigning hard for that “Mother of the Year” award. I bought myself a cookie because that’s the award for “Mother of the Year.”
  • Plan to spend a few hours. Like I said, there’s a ton to see and do.
  • Go on a weekday if you can. I cannot imagine how busy this place gets on the weekends, especially in the fall when farms visits are on everyone’s to-do lists. There were other people at the farm, but it was completely manageable and there were few lines to deal with.
  • Check the schedule. In the spring and summer, the farm is closed on Mondays. It’s open seven days a week in the fall from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission to the farm ends at 2 p.m.
  • Call ahead if you have a group. There are details on the website about making reservations if you’re planning to come with a group of 20 or more.

14 Must-do Fall Toddler Activities

Happy Autumnal Equinox! If you’re in the central time zone like those of us in the Chicagoland, the equinox happens at 9:29 tonight. So since fall is officially upon us, I wanted to share our plans to enjoy the season and keep the toddler entertained with fun fall activities over the next few months.

14 must-do toddler fall activities for your family bucket list.

1. Go to a football game.

We got a jump on this one when we took Emme to a Northwestern football game in early September. Both my husband and I went to graduate school at Northwestern, so we try to go to at least one game every season. We found out at the last minute that it was Local Heroes Day, and my husband, a police officer, was able to get discounted tickets. We also had the opportunity to go on the field for the national anthem, which was kind of neat. Here Emme is enjoying a snack in the stands and sporting her new hat. I had no idea what to expect from her behavior- and attention span-wise, but she was actually pretty good and seemed to enjoy herself.

2. Check out a local fall festival.

Again, we crossed this one off the list early and attended Oktoberfest in Berwyn. But it rained on and off, so we cut our time at the festival short. Maybe we’ll get to another one in the coming weeks.

3. Visit a farm with animals and a pumpkin patch.

We’re going on a mini-vacation to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin because my husband will be attending a conference there. One of the activities I’m planning while we’re there is a trip to Green Meadow Farms in East Troy, which is about a 20-minute drive from where we’ll be staying. I’ve been wanting to check this farm out ever since I read about it in the Chicago edition of Red Tricycle in July.

4. Go on a hayride.

Quintessential family fall fun.

5. Splash at an indoor water park.

We’ll be going to Timber Ridge Lodge in Lake Geneva, which has an indoor water park.

6. Decorate a pumpkin.

Tiny pumpkins can be decorated with markers. Perfect for tiny people.

7. Go to the zoo.

We’re planning to go to Boo at the Zoo at Brookfield Zoo.

8. Dress up for Halloween and trick-or-treat.

I have given zero thought to a Halloween costume this year. I should probably get on that.

9. Have a dance party or two.

Because duh.

10. Explore a new playground.

Temperatures are dropping, and soon we’ll be stuck indoors. We want to make the most of the mild fall weather and visit a few more playgrounds in 2014.

11. Take fall photos.

Fall means it’s time to update our family photo, just in time for the holidays.

12. Visit an art museum.

We’re planning a visit to The Art Institute in Chicago. I was a little skeptical about this outing, but my husband and I did some recon this week, and it’s far more family friendly than I was expecting.

13. Visit a children’s museum.

There are three to choose from in the western suburbs of Chicago.

14. Learn about Thanksgiving.

Sometimes I underestimate the ability of young children to grasp less concrete concepts, which is dumb and probably partially lazy on my part, but honestly, my first instinct was to wonder if this was necessary. But really, is it ever too early to talk about the meaning of Thanksgiving and how we should be thankful for the good things in our lives? I’m going to start by getting books about Thanksgiving that are age-appropriate. We’ll see if I can come up with anything else.

Want to see how we did with our bucket list of fall toddler activities?