I think it’s safe to say that summer is upon us. And not a minute too soon. If you’re like me, you’re itching to get outside and stay outside for as long as possible to soak up the best of this all-too-short season.
Speaking of short, you might dreading wearing them-shorts that is, not only because you don’t look quite the same in them as you did at 21, but also due to the bumps and bruises that come along with living in a small space in the city and being mom of a toddler who bumps into you just as often as you bump into the corner of the table.
This year I’m taking a different approach to my summer—both in terms of my plans and my shorts.
For the plans, rather than doing my best to make sure every day with my son is filled with activities, I’ve vowed to ease up and instead take little, digestible adventures.
As for the shorts, I’ve already packed a bottle of Boiron’s Arnicare cream, which I discovered last year to be pretty close to a miracle when it comes to clearing up bruises once I got tired of both myself and my son looking like someone had painted us with a blue bingo dapper. Arnicare for the win!
When it comes to how we spend our days together, I’ve learned through many trials and errors that when I set out to fill my son’s day up with activity and stimulation, most of the time I end up setting us both up for failure.
If you make a plan to do something big—for example, take a day trip to a beach a few hours up north with a group of friends and their children—the problem is that when that day comes and your little one is just not in the right mood for it, you feel like you can’t back out. It’s too important! We’ve been planning for so long! So you force yourself to follow through and disaster ensues.
Enter: The Micro Adventure.
The beauty of a micro adventure is that it takes less time, less money, and less planning than a big trip, but still gets you outside and allows you to discover things you might not otherwise have known about right in your backyard.
I think as a mom I tend to forget that for my son there is magic in everything, everywhere but I’m learning how important it is to see things from his perspective and keep it simple. So now I’m planning summer adventures for my family and taking care to leave space to enjoy the little things.
Ready To Plan Your Own Micro Adventure?
Here are a few ideas for tried and true micro adventures in the city:
Your Local Conservation Area
Most urban areas have a dedicated nature reserve where you can get the best of nature right in the heart of the city.
One of my absolute favourite places to take a micro-adventure in Toronto is Evergreen Brickworks. I’ve been going there since I was pregnant with my son, huffing and puffing it up the ravine. And since he was born, it’s proven time and again to be a source of endless adventure for him and for me, from the fish pond to the children’s garden, to the trails with local flora and fauna set against the city’s backdrop. And the best part? It’s no more than a 20-minute drive from just about anywhere in the city and the only cost is for parking.
The Petting Zoo
Petting zoos tend to be overlooked in favour of the larger, flashier municipal zoos but they’re a great visit, especially if you have small children. Toddlers are entertained for hours by feeding the goats and the sheep and it’s more intriguing for them because they get to interact with the animals.
Here in Toronto there is Riverdale Farm, which is an actual working farm open year-round that’s free and set within a park in Cabbaggetown. I’ve spent more hours than I can count at this farm with my son, chasing him back and forth between the horses, the sheep, and the pigs, on repeat, in that order. But after an hour he’s satisfied, tired, and ready for lunch—essentially, a mother’s dream.
This may seem obvious, but I don’t mean the local park that you go to all the time. Go to a new park! Make a picnic, head out in the morning to discover a new park and just watch your kid’s face light up as if they’ve just been let into an undiscovered world.
Last summer I took my son to a new splash pad park in the suburbs and it nearly blew my mind, let alone his. It was more of a compound than a park, with soaring fountains shaped like palm trees and elephant trunks, several different kinds of swings (who knew there could be more than one kind of swing?!) and the ground was laid with this squishy foam.
The thing all three of these adventures have in common, aside from their fun-factor, is their potential for boo-boos.
When I took my son to the incredible splash park last year, he still managed to get bruised up despite the squishy foam floor to cushion his falls. Which is when I first discovered Boiron’s Arnicare cream. When we got home, I was digging around my medicine cupboard looking for something to put on his bruised and cut up legs and found a bottle of Arnicare Cream my mom had given me (mom always knows best!). Preferring this to anything else I had lying around that was laden with chemicals or preservatives, I rubbed it all over his legs. The next day the bruises were faded to almost nothing! Seeing that, I tried it on a few bruises of my own and like magic the next day they were nearly gone.
Although for my son it’s not a vanity issue as it is with me (we all have our things), Arnicare is definitely going on all our adventures great and small this summer because, more than anything, I prefer my son’s little legs to have more rolls—less boo-boos.
This post is sponsored by Boiron Canada and is part of a series of several campaigns in partnership with Boiron throughout the year. As always, experiences and opinions are our own.