Here, you will find stories from our day-to-day life with a toddler / preschool kid. If you’re looking for ideas for things to do or destinations to go, come rain, come shine, you’re in the right place. We talk about our games outside, our trips, our arts and crafts, or solo or group play activities, our Montessori toys, etc.
Click on the links to get from the snippets to the articles!
What’s it like to…
… Play in Teepees in the Forest With a Toddler?
Montessori education values outdoor play and exposure to plants and animals. We often take trips into the forest, where Lyons Cub can play with wooden tents, collect rocks, acorns, chestnuts, and other kinds of seeds, and listen to birds (and even to parrots, which once were released and have since multiplied there in a certain region). He observes insects in their natural habitat. Occasionally, we visit the horses, donkeys, goats, geese, ducks, and chickens. Watch Lyons Cub explore the outdoors here.
… Carve a Pumpkin With Your Toddler?
Watch those knives… but otherwise, let your tot have fun helping to carve a pumpkin! How big his eyes will be when he sees the inner life of the pumpkin–Lyons Cub was astonished by the smooth seeds and the slimy stuff. We drew the face on with a marker, and mommy cut the shapes out and guided his little hand. He liked to take the lid off and put it back on. Our pumpkin had a happy face. But we went around the neighborhood and also looked at all those scary pumpkins on the doorsteps. And the reward for the work is a tasty, hot, cinnamon-flavored pumpkin soup!
… Disguise for Halloween With Your Toddler?
Germans love to celebrate “Fasching” or “Karneval” exactly 49 days before Easter Sunday. Thus, we actually have a second day besides Halloween that we get to wear disguises! On Halloween 2020, at school, all teachers had to come in disguise that day (and all German teachers were witches). This was Lyons Cub’s third time to disguise himself, and he was Gecko Boy from PJ Masks (the first time was Halloween 2018 in Clarksville, TN, where he was a little dragon. For Halloween 2019, he got a policeman’s uniform and whistle, but it didn’t fit him yet). Wonder what he will be for Halloween 2021…
… Build a Snowman With Your Child?
Winter is there with a fresh, white sheet for making snow angels and snow men, women, and animals? Get out those warm stockings, water-proof clothes, gloves, and boots and let your creativity run free… and your toddler, too! Find your sleds stored away in the basement, dust them off, and get them ready for a race down the hill. Afterwards, come inside the warm house, put on your cozy socks, and drink a hot chocolate with your children. Every season is beautiful, and winter has red cheeks, snow crystals in the hair, visible breath, and the wonderful anticipation of baking cinnamon cookies, assembling gingerbread witch’s houses, and decorating the Christmas tree. Enjoy the white pureness while it lasts…
…. Go to the Splash Park with Your Toddler?
Admittedly, one of the first times we went to the splash park, Lyons Cub caught a bug and was sick for a couple of days afterwards, but it was among our favorite summer outings when he was between 1-2 years old. It definitely strengthened his immune system. Do you have a tot who loves the water? Lyons Cub is fearless. He ran right through the sprinklers. It was a good activity for a tot who cannot swim yet, and a mom who was too anxious to try deeper water than just covering the feet. Every few minutes, the sprinklers all shut down for a while, and he figured out quickly that you could run to a yellow column and beat on its top to make the water come on again.
… Have a 1st Birthday Cake-Smashing Party?
Is your heartbeat’s first birthday coming up? Have you looked at all the lovely Pinterest ideas for themed cake-smashing photo sessions yet? Lyons Cub went to our local photographer, Daphne Treadway in Clarksville, TN for his cake-smashing party, and we got great memories out of it that we will admire for the years to come.
… Feed Chickens With a Toddler?
His aunty’s hens like currants! Lyons Cub was busy picking the tiny, red berries and throwing them through the wire fence. Most of the time, they fell down close to the fence, so that the chickens couldn’t reach them. However, he learned to throw them further into the cage. It was an excitement for him to go inside their enclosure to peek into the hay of their coop and collect the eggs. Some were greenish, some white, and some brown. He also got to collect old bread, dry it, and crumble it to bring to the chickens as a gift. Feeding animals is such a wonderful, gentle, and caring activity for a toddler who is learning to respect and love animals!
… Go to the Nashville Zoo with a Toddler?
When Lyons Cub was one and a half years old, he went to the Nashville zoo for the first time. Here, he was admiring the feeding of the tortoises. It was a great exercise to introduce him to animals, their sounds, their food, their smells, and their habitats, and also to widen his vocabulary.
… Visit the Duesseldorf Aqua Zoo With a Toddler?
On our 2019 trip to Germany during the summer break, Lyons Cub got to visit the Aqua Zoo in Duesseldorf. Although he slept through some of it, he saw exciting, huge fish and tiny, colorful fish, alligators, and all kinds of other creatures. He had fish at home in our fish tank, and he was used to helping to feed them already. Fish are a good entry-level pet to teach responsibility regarding maintenance, feeding, and cleaning, and can provide lots of teachable moments when it comes to having babies and rearing them…
… Raise Your Child With Classical Music?
Whether or not you believe listening to music makes your child smarter and creates new connections in the brain or not — emotionally and culturally, raising a child with classical music is a wonderful thing. Lyons Cub’s daddy was a professional pianist (and mommy got to know him when he performed her children’s song compositions), so it kind of lies in the family.
… Baptize Your Baby?
The biggest celebration in Lyons Cub’s life so far, except for his birth, of course, was his baptism at half a year of age. We traveled to Europe for that occasion, so my relatives could participate. Since he was so small, he looked like a newborn. Three babies were baptized in the Catholic church that day; the other two were nice and quiet, and mine screamed like crazy until the water hit his head, which he loved!
… Potty Train Your Toddler?
For us, it isn’t an easy road. Lyons Cub was almost potty trained at 2 years of age, because his Montessori kindergarten insisted on using the potty and wearing training pants, not diapers. However, when we moved and switched to daycare, they didn’t even put him in the pull-ups I had provided, but my son got home wearing another child’s baby diapers! He was 3.5 years old! So no matter what I tried at home, as long as it was not enforced during his kindergarten time, there is no progress, just regress. But this summer break, he will go without in the back yard and wear only underpants (I have the slight hope that his Paw Patrol underpants will be more enticing than the black ones…).
… Get Your Baby a Haircut?
Lyons Cub loves the hairdresser, especially when he’s allowed to hold the big broom afterwards, sweep up his own cut hair, and put it in the machine that “eats it.” How exciting! He doesn’t really hold still, so if you need some mom hacks how to keep your baby or toddler more quiet at the hairdresser’s, read on… After all, you wouldn’t want a crooked haircut, or your babe to get pierced by the scissors because he or she is moving around so much. What can mommies do to make it easier for little, impatient kiddos and those who are afraid of the scissors and the razor? Although sometimes, you’re really lucky and get a hair stylist who’s really good with little kids, like ours in Hopkinsville…
… Do Pretend-Play on the Mall’s Ride-On Cars?
What can one do on a rainy, stormy day during the pandemic to keep toddler entertained? We went to the Mall, which was relatively empty. Lyons Cub got to ride on the ride-on machines for the first time since Corona struck. Now that the summer break has started and most kids are on vacations, he was the only child wanting to take a ride, so he got to ride on an ice-cream truck (his favorite) and sell invisible ice-cream, a Bob the Builder digger, and a minion spaceship. He had a blast, mommy got her shopping done, he got a haircut in between, and everyone was happy while the necessary things for the day got done. That’s a win-win!
… Bake With a Toddler?
Come and see for yourself… Your kiddo might not make as much mess as mine and may still have as much fun! Get out some measuring spoons, measuring cups, flour, sugar, eggs, pots, a mixer, and whatever you want your toddler to experiment with. If you have a lot of counter space (we had practically zero), you could invest in a learning tower. We actually got one, but worked mostly on the kitchen floor, because Lyons Cub could not stand still, and I didn’t want him to fall off the tower. Also, he would inevitably drop things. Once he was on the floor, I thought at least he and his utensils cannot fall down anymore 😉 Witness the wonder of baking brownies and chocolate muffins… (and the not so wonderful clean-up at the end)!
… Ride the John Deere Tractor Go-Kart?
Go-Karts are fun for energy-laden, adventurous kids who need movement, movement, movement… Just make sure there’s a safe space with little to no traffic. Lyons Cub’s tractor became the attraction of the neighborhood. Boys and girls alike asked him to be allowed to ride his John Deere, and he willingly conceded. He wore his big cousin’s helmet with pride. Alas, his go-kart isn’t one that can pull a trailer (or, maybe, I should be relieved about this, because the neighborhood kids would certainly have put the smallest one in there — no good!). He had lots of fun zooming around on it, and racing the bigger kids on their bicycles and inline skates.
… Go to the Funfair With a Toddler?
When the carnival is in town, you might want to introduce your tot to fast rides 😉 Lyons Cub loved riding the merry-go-round. Haven’t we all done that as kids? Be honest. I remember begging our daddy, “Just one more ride!” Now, my own child is begging, and of course, I’m giving in until I run out of coins. After all, such an event happens how often, once a year? Make the best of this opportunity.
… Find a Lime Hawk Moth Caterpillar?
Just an ordinary day at the playground, but one doesn’t find a big, wiggly lime hawk moth caterpillar every day, right? Time to observe it and discuss what was seen. Cool to watch it move and hold on to its weeds. Can you count its red spots on each side? With a little luck, we’ll see some lime hawk moths flying around next year in May/June. It’s too late for this season already; they’re flying south to warmer areas soon, and the larvae will dig themselves into the soil to pupate and emerge next spring. What an interesting day that was!
… Entertain Your Tot With Bubble Wrap, Cardboard, And Mesh Foam Sleeves?
Do you have packaging material that the recycling crew hasn’t picked up yet? Any cardboard boxes standing around (are you also an Amazon-addict?)? No worries, kiddo will find a way to use your wrapping waste for play. Here’s how to make cardboard castles, planes, and trains, and create clothes out of foam mesh sleeves. Ever tried running on a race-track made of bubble wrap? Endless fun for kiddo when you don’t want to buy expensive toys but rather re-purpose some stuff that’s been lying around unused…
… Create Beautiful Pics with the Kaleidoscope App?
Yes, toddlers also enjoy visual arts! And they can create stuff on the computer, if you let them (under supervision, of course). Lyons Cub learned how to make beautiful pictures of his own photos with the kaleidoscope app. It was great to watch his amazement as the pictures changed in front of his eyes as he moved the dial on the screen to change the relations and angles. Check out his movie! Now, if I only could explain to him the math behind it… 😉 Not gonna happen. Maybe one day, he’ll understand that himself.
… Climb With Your Kiddo?
An insider tip led us to a park with amazing climbing animals… Lyons Cub tried out an elephant, a giraffe, a hippo, a rhino, and a monkey. It was not easy to get up there (and down again, even for mommy) 😉
… Go on the Jumping Spider with Your Toddler?
Lyons Cub already loved the Jumping Spider in the Governors’ Mall in Clarksville, TN when he was 2, so he was elated to spot one outside today as we made a city trip to the market place. It was quite expensive, 6 bucks for one go, but he needed to try it out and see the world from above!
… Make Chestnut Animals With Your Toddler?
On a recent trip to the city of Leverkusen, Lyons Cub got to pick a basket full of chestnuts and walk across a bridge over a train station. He saw and heard the trains coming and leaving, which he found very exciting. When we returned home, we stopped by grandma and picked her up, and together, we made cute chestnut animals with matchsticks and googly eyes. Afterwards, he got to play with them (what can you play with a giraffe, a hedgehog, a horse, and a dog… he clearly preferred to roll in a cardboard box filled with chestnuts! It’s fun for the littles; try it out…).
… Explore a Real Fire Engine With Your Toddler?
The siren wasn’t on, and he wasn’t allowed to climb on the ladder, but Lyons Cub still enjoyed exploring the inside of the fire truck and seeing the safety vests and what else was there. Outside, there was live music, and lots of residents had assembled in the street to cheer on the musicians. Another cool trip for a curious little guy! He even met “Grisu, the little dragon,” who sat in front of the hood of the fire engine.
… Train on Exercisers With Your Kid?
The sun is shining, the October sun has the last warm rays for us, and a day at the park it was! Luckily, there’s the “seniors’ parcours” with the exercisers, and Lyons Cub, Lyoness, and grandma lion were working off the calories from a delicious lunch at grandma’s. Even when your feet are too small to fit the training shoe molds and your arms too short to reach the handles, you can still make a great sportsman 😉 Tiny but mighty!!!
… Ride a Toy Helicopter?
What’s better than to enjoy the incredible weather by riding a toy helicopter and eating an ice-cream? The beer garden is open, there’s no mask mandate outside right now, and after three playgrounds and lots of climbing and running around, Lyons Cub finished a busy day with this fun activity.
… Paint with Your Toddler?
Lyons Cub loves to paint. This huge painting here he did in kindergarten, and it fit just perfectly onto our living-room door! Follow us on our journey of painting, and maybe get some ideas for your kid, too. At home, we use painting to calm him and keep him occupied when he is “bored” and doesn’t want to play with his toys. We use it to teach him what primary colors become when you mix them. We explain shapes. It’s a great “bad weather occupation,” too! Right now, his pictures are still very abstract, but one can already discern early outlines that he explains as “volcano,” etc. Mommy was very good at painting and started oil painting at age 13 (and sold portraits in her high school and college years). Let’s see how junior develops 😉
… Play With a Ginormous Wooden Marble Run Table?
The little ice-cream cafe in a Mall we recently made a trip to has a new toy for the children who cannot sit still while the parents want to enjoy their shake or ice-cream: a giant wooden marble race track table! Of course, Lyons Cub had to try it out. Standing on his tip-toes, he could even reach the highest entry space for the marbles. It was great fun! While the Haba toys are generally too expensive for my pocketbook, he already owns a wooden Eichhorn marble run, so I ordered the big, yellow metal bowl for him for this Christmas (shhh, don’t tell!!!), so he can combine them to make new constellations. He doesn’t need the table (we wouldn’t have any space left to put it, anyway); we’re going to play on the floor. I hope he’ll enjoy his present… Can’t wait for him to see it! Two more months, yay!!
… Go to the Wild Animals Park With Your Toddler?
What an adventure today! At the Wildpark in Leverkusen, Lyons Cub got to feed sheep and goats, and to observe porcupines, gray herons, geese, horses, an owl, seagulls, turtles, deer… We saw a bee hive and a huge ant hill, as well as a pond covered with pond moss. Only the otters and the big cats were in hiding, and the foxes were nowhere to be seen. As compensation, there was a big playground! And we could have gotten the typical German bratwurst there, too. (We had packed our own picnic, however.) There were stations where one could buy little green packages of pellet food for 2 Euros, and Lyons Cub got two boxes to distribute among the many heads peaking out between the fences. He had a blast!!!
… Meet the Real Llama Llama Red Pajama?
I bet almost every child knows and loves the book series Llama Llama Red Pajama… my son surely did when he was smaller. It was a big treat for him to see these animals for real—especially the baby that was nursing from its momma! He’s at an age where he wants to know whether he was in mommy’s belly, and whether he drank milk (and, according to my son, juice!!!) out of her breasts. To see a baby animal nurse in front of his eyes was a rare adventure. Alas, a chicken stole its thunder 😉 Read on to see how…
… Observe the Otters at the Animal Park With a Toddler?
Finally, it was one of those days where the otters were out to play and frolic in their pool. They didn’t go down their slide, but at least, my son had a lengthy time to observe them swimming on their bellies, diving, and digging. They were so cute!
… Make Friends With a Porcupine?
Feeding time at the animal park!!! Lyons Cub got to observe the porcupines eating salad and carrots! They were munching and snacking; too cute! Through the low glass windows, the little kids were able to observe the animals eating. I didn’t like him to lean so far over their habitat (didn’t want him to fall down on a prickly-prickly)… My son had a blast! And if you don’t own a cute and educational children’s book about porcupines yet, check out our recommendations. Porcupines are great to teach self-acceptance, acceptance of different people, and friendship.
… Get to Feed the Fish in a Pet Store?
What an excitement today for Lyons Cub! We visited a couple of pet stores, because it was too wet outside to walk through an animal park. He still got to see bunnies, budgies, & co., and a nice clerk allowed him to feed the goldfish. The garden center was also a perfect place to visit during bad weather, since it already had its Christmas displays out, and he likewise got to see rabbits and fish. We didn’t buy an animal, but we got a beautiful orchid for grandma, who has a birthday coming up.
… visit the Wuppertal Zoo?
Has your toddler been to a zoo yet? Lyons Cub has been to the Nashville Zoo before, but back then, he wasn’t even 2 yet and didn’t quite appreciate it as much as now. Thus, grandma and I took him on an adventure trip to the Wuppertal Zoo. He saw elephants, a brown bear, deer-pig, scarlet ibises, pelicans, penguins, seals, zebras, and other creatures, some of which he had only known from books so far. Due to the pandemic, the big cat house was closed (corona could be transferred over to the lions and tigers), and the monkeys weren’t outside, but we wouldn’t have managed to see everything on one day, anyway. He was so tired afterwards that he fell asleep in the car 😉
… Make a Gingerbread House With Your Toddler?
It’s always been our family tradition to have a gingerbread house at Christmas time. I had one as a child, and now, Lyons Cub gets one. He had one in 2018 and 2019, and we made it ourselves (well, a kit from ALDI did the trick). This year, he can be a much bigger help already (not just plucking everything off, but actually building it). Looking forward to this time together!
… Have Saint Nicholas Come Visit Your Toddler?
My child still believes in Saint Nicholas…. He comes on December 6th in Germany (Sankt Nikolaus) and brings good kids gifts from his bag (while bad kids get black coals from his mean companion, Knecht Ruprecht, or “Krampus”). Lyons Cub has no idea that the pompous Saint Nicholas who visited him last year was actually my sister’s husband. He took him by the hand and showed him our apartment and his toy kitchen 😉 Then, he went straight for the bag and wanted to unpack it!!! Of course, Saint Nicholas had to say his verses first (whether he had been a good kid, etc.); finally, it was time to open the bag and distribute a few smaller presents (not the important ones; those are left for the Holy Night, December 24th. Yep, German kids have Christmas a day earlier than American kids!). Lyons Cub is already looking forward to Saint Nicholas coming to him this year.
… Wash Your Car With Your Toddler?
Lyons Cub loves water, and he loves shiny cars. So it was only natural that he loved washing mommy’s car! Especially in summer, when it was nice and hot outside… Our bright, red Toyota was our pride and joy. We once had a 10k loan on it to pay for our IVF to have Lyons Cub, and you can read the story here.
… Drive Through a Gantry Car Wash in Germany?
Staying seated in your car while having it cleaned in a German gantry car wash is very exciting for Lyons Cub. The brushes come close to your face when they scrub the windows and sides of the car, and the noises are really cool, too (except for the beeping of your car when the sensor notices obstacles around it…).
… Take Your Tot to the Car Repair Place?
S*** happens… On our drive home from kindergarten, the warning light went on and complained about low tire pressure. Mommy thought, “easy fix,” and drove to the gas station to pump more air into the tires. It didn’t work. They needed 2.5 bar, but had only 1.2. Two nice man who were filling up their garbage truck came over and tried to help Lyoness and Lyons Cub, but they couldn’t get the tires inflated, either. They assumed that mommy had driven over a nail! So the next morning, we set off to the garage. At the car repair place, Lyons Cub saw our car FLOAT!!! Big excitement. Mommy was even more excited, because there was no puncture in any of the tires. The pressure pumps at the filling station must have been empty. The repair guy filled the tires with no problem. Now, we’ll wait and see… If the warning light switches back on, we’ll be back, too!
… Make a Gingerbread Train With Your Toddler?
In 2021, ALDI didn’t have a gingerbread house but a train!!! No problem, Lyons Cub loved it just as much. And this Friday was no kindergarten (they had planning session), so Lyons Cub stayed with grandma while Lyoness worked, and the two had mega fun building their gingerbread choo-choo (although he ate so much that some parts were missing)! ALDI South in Germany had this gingerbread train, and ALDI in the U.S. had Benton’s Gingerbread Train Set.
… Make a Gingerbread Witch’s House?
Today was the big day: we made the gingerbread witch’s house given to Leander by mommy’s friend from work, a wonderful lady running an interpreters’ and translators’ agency.
Since we both have a cold, mommy couldn’t work and Lyons Cub wasn’t able to go to kindergarten (they’re short on staff because almost everyone is sick), so it was the perfect time for a big kitchen project. We worked on a yellow trash bag to keep the floor clean. Our egg white and powedered sugar mixture, the “glue,” was a little runny, so we did end up getting our clothes and hands messy. Didn’t Leander’s house turn out nice? In Germany, we have a sugary Hansel, Gretel, and witch in the front of the door, but in the U.S., our house had a candy Snoopy 😉 Oh well, clash of cultures…
… Bake Christmas Cookies With a Toddler?
Tomorrow, Saint Nicholas is coming to our place, so we want to be well prepared and serve him and our visitors freshly baked Christmas cookies. Alas, our cookie cutters and rolling pin that we used last year have miraculously vanished (they’re probably in with his playdough and hidden in some toy cube). Oh well! So we called grandma, and she came to rescue, bringing her utensils. What do you do when you have a tiny kitchen with no counter space vacant to use? You work on the floor 😉 Safest place for a child, anyway. Lyons Cub got to make moons, stars, flowers, mushrooms, bells, and some other shapes, and from the left-over batter, he made a worm! The cookies turned out delicious, and he got to taste some of them immediately. Mommy put the rest of them on a big plate to cool off.
… Celebrate Saint Nicholas Day in Germany?
It worked like a charm, just like last year–Lyons Cub received a visit from Saint Nick (who had left Krampus at home and brought him and his cousins many gifts)… He did not notice that it was his uncle. And it looks like this year, when the sack was empty, Saint Nicholas put my son into it and took him with him 😉
… Go to a German Christmas Market?
Come with us on a trip to a genuine German Christmas Market, with ice-skating, merry-go-round, booths, Christmas trees, and a light festival! Despite Corona and the rain, Lyons Cub and mommy had some fun tonight in the city center, with extra precautions, of course. For him, it was a first, since the Weihnachtsmarkt 2020 had been cancelled.
… Visit the Dinos in the Naturkundemuseum in Münster?
Not only dinosaurs, but also a humongous woolly mammoth were the attractions of the Naturkundemuseum in Münster, Germany. This was my son’s pre-Christmas gift. He’s a big fan of both dinos and mammoths, so it was worthwhile the two-hour drive in each direction (in thick fog) to get there. We spent about three hours in the museum, and there was so much to see! Lyons Cub learned about the early humans and their weapons, housing, and burials. He saw their clothes and their domestic animals. He admired lots of different dinosaurs, meat eaters and herbivores alike, including a mommy dinosaur sitting on a nest of eggs and a couple of chicks. There also were a huge whale and several modern animals, such as a polar bear. What a wonderful, educational trip!
… Get a Tonie Box and Tonies for Your Kids?
For this year’s Christmas, my son got his first own Tonie box and several Tonies. So far, they exist in German and English only (however, the Creative Tonies can have your custom-made recordings in any language you want). The awesome Tonie shelf is from an artist on Etsy. Now, when my son can’t fall asleep at night, he can listen to mommy’s voice on his Creative Tonie (onto which we record books we read together) or to stories about Bee Maya, The Sandman, The Owl With the Bump, or Masha and the Bear. No more “mommy, I can’t sleep!!!”
… do Arts and Crafts with Polymer Clay with a Toddler?
For all you crafty mommies out there, have you tried arts with polymer clay with your tots yet? It can be boiled or baked in the oven (thus, not air drying or self-hardening). Once hardened, it’s almost indestructible and keeps its beautiful, shiny colors. Lyons Cub and Lyoness created a whole army of dinosaurs and several volcanoes. What a great way for a child to learn fine motor skills, such as rolling balls and sausages, and to insert tiny pieces, such as eyes, spots, claws, and crests into the right spots! It’s also a great way to learn about primary and secondary colors. My son always has lots of fun crafting with polymer clay and got a whole new box this Christmas.
… Play Starbucks Barista with Your Preschooler?
Today, I needed an occupation for a sick child… Lyons Cub came down with the stomach flu, which found its way from kindergarten into our household. While he was very tired and weak yesterday, he was much better today, but still in quarantine and not allowed to play with grandma and other children. Thus, we took a long walk in the forest with the stroller and then went home for role play with his pink coffee machine from Ernsting’s Family. He enjoyed making cappuccino and latte with REAL milk, watching it come out of his machine with authentic coffee grinding noises and filling the little, white cup. Then, he put some chocolate powder, cereal, and sugar unicorns on top to serve it to mama! Hmm, delicious 🙂
… Play Doctor with Your Son?
As soon as my son had gotten over the stomach flu, HE wanted to be the doctor and nurse mommy back to health. While she almost passed under his care, he gave her a shot, took her temperature, listened to her heart, checked her for cavities, plucked a thorn out of her foot, measured her blood pressure (which was zero), and put a blue toy kitchen dish on her forehead, mistaking it for an ice pack. Needless to say, mommy is all better now!!! Check out his cute video and his doctor’s coat and accessories for kids costume play! The stethoscope’s batteries are empty; otherwise, you would have been able to hear a cough and a loud heart beat 😉
… Follow the Learning Path on ABCmouse with Your Preschooler?
During the pandemic and frequent bouts of homeschooling, Lyons Cub enjoyed his ABCmouse subscription even more, which he started at the age of two. He has passed Level 1 and received a certificate for it, and is now exploring his language and math lessons at Level 2. He has enlarged his vocabulary and has become more secure in counting and simple addition and subtraction. We will continue on his Learning Path until after second grade, when the program stops. It’s great fun and very educational!
… Take Your Son to an Art Gallery?
Today was Lyons Cub’s first time visiting an art gallery. He even acquired two beautiful paintings, a Pikachu and a Mario & Luigi from Ivan Beslic from B-Brothers Store. If we manage to sell enough of his Daddy’s baseball trading cards, maybe we can afford another painting 😉 I loved Simba, but not in gray. My son was right in picking the cheery, colorful characters he chose.
… Visit the Baby Goats in the Wildpark?
On one of the nice weekends in between rain and storms, we visited the Wildpark again, and oh wonder!, the goats had kids 🙂 Lyons Cub got to feed the baby goats and watched one of them nursing from momma goat. Another wonderful educational outing! Check out our video of feeding the baby goats here.
… Visit the European Wildcat at the Animal Park?
Yay, it is there!!! On top of the bushes!!! Basking in the sun… It took us about a year to get lucky and see the shy wildcat at the animal park. This time, it didn’t mind the visitors and was just quietly licking itself and enjoying the good weather.
… Visit the Dinos at the Jurassic Live Show?
What a cool day! Lyons Cub went to a “Jurassic Live Tour” with several-meters-long dinosaurs that could be touched and “fed” by the children in the audience! Check out the scary giants and the cuties in the egg!
… Take Your Preschooler to the Circus?
This was Lyons Cub’s first visit to a circus! He saw jugglers, tightrope walkers, acrobats, clowns, ponies, goats, camels, donkeys… It was a great show and lots of fun. The best parts were the feeding of the animals during the break and the pony riding after the show.
… Take Your Kid to Kinderland GeckoFun?
Lyons Cub loves climbing. This was the first time since Corona that we visited an indoor gym again. GeckoFun is a cool inflatables gym in the city of Burscheid. They have bouncy castles, an inflatable dragon that swallows kids through its mouth and lets them slide out of its behind; they sport climbing walls, GoKarts, competitive, timed runs through obstacle courses, trampolines, suspension bridges, and, and, and… It was worth the trip!
… Visit Legoland With a Preschooler?
For Easter, Lyons Cub got a double ticket: Legoland and SeaLife in the city of Oberhausen in the Ruhr river area. He had a blast! At Legoland, he rode in a LEGO Merlin magic merry-go-round, sat in a ghost train while shooting LEGO monsters with a laser gun, learned how LEGOs are made in the LEGO factory, played on a huge LEGO pirate ship playground, and bought Mario and Minecraft LEGO sets in the Legoland shop. What a day!
… Visit SeaLife With a Preschooler?
For a kid who loves all things water and whose favorite books are the Pout-Pout Fish series, SeaLife was a huge treat! He saw sharks swimming overhead and right next to him, big stingrays, starfish, lionfish, crabs, seahorses, and countless other sea creatures. Outside in the big pond, he admired well-fed carps, ducks, and geese. The weather was great, the sun was shining, and he had a fabulous trip.
… Color Easter Eggs with the Magic Egg Decorator That Plays Christmas Music?
The title says it all… With Jingle Bells in the background, Lyons Cub created nicely striped Easter eggs with the Magic Egg Decorator. The quality of the eggs was convincing; the quality of the music not so 😉
… Visit the Solingen Bird- and Animal Park?
What’s better on a sunny spring day than to go to an animal park with a petting zoo, a kiddie train, a picnic place, and a huge playground? Solingen Bird- and Animal Park offers all this, and we had plenty of fun. We went with our new friends and Lyons Cub’s BFF, and together, they enjoyed the swings, petting a goat, eating ice-cream, and playing with their PJ Masks figurines in the sandbox.
… Go Sight-Seeing in Cologne with a Preschooler?
Have you ever been to Cologne, Germany? If you take a trip there, you should absolutely do the following things: 1) panorama boat trip on the Rhine river, 2) visit the Gothic cathedral, and 3) go to the Chocolate museum. And there are many more destinations; for example, we also visited St. Martin’s church and descended to its crypt to see the “church below the church,” and found lots of stonemasons’ marks. If you’re interested in our trip, read on…
… Visit the Gasometer in Oberhausen With a Preschooler?
How can you combine climbing a high, eerie tower with gazing at the globe, illuminated by thousands of planes flying their night routes from country to country? Easy — visit the Gasometer in the city of Oberhausen in the Ruhr river area, famous for its former coal mining and a center of industrial culture. And if the kids are not fascinated by this, there’s Legoland and SeaLife next door!
… Explore the Nature Adventure Trail in Landschaftspark Rheinbogen?
If the weather is nice and you want to do something outside with kiddo and are in the Rheinland, I recommend the Landschaftspark in Monheim at the Rhine river. There are lots of things to do there with the littles: playing on two playgrounds, getting thoroughly wet at the splash park, riding with a go-kart through nature, sitting on the famous tree swing, and — in our case — go to a fun fair that happened to take place that day. In the evening, we saw the golden “Stolpersteine” in memory of the Jewish Nazi victims in WWII.
… Attend the Medieval Festival in Witten With a Preschooler?
On a nice, sunny May Sunday, we set out to explore the medieval market in Witten with tents full of armor, ancient instruments, furs, weapons, and food. Many people wore medieval costumes, and Lyons Cub got a wooden sword, axe, and shield to paint at home with water colors. We also saw a moated castle (Haus Kemnade), which now is a museum, and went onto Lake Kemnade with a paddle boat. Although he hurt his finger when playing High Striker, he was happy with his prize and the excursion in general. What an eventful day!!
… Go to a Railway Construction Fair?
Well, this one was just for the grownups. But mommy needs to do something by herself some time, right? How interesting this railway construction fair (iaf) in the city of Munster was!! Mommy was allowed to climb into real tamping machines, sit in the cabs, check out the hydraulics, watch demonstrations, play the tamping game, learn about the history of railroads in different countries, and collect lots of freebies to bring home for Lyons Cub.
… Visit the Peace Museum at the Bridge of Remagen?
Whether or not you know the movie, if you have the chance of visiting the city of Remagen (and the other side of the Rhine, the village of Erpel with the opposite bridge towers and the railroad tunnel and basalt rock formations), you should come see the Remagen Peace Museum. This is where the 9th tank division of the American allies crossed the Rhine with dry feet at the end of the Second World War. There are numerous artifacts, nice hiking trails, a cool ferry ride, beautiful river banks, and fun and education for the whole family.
… Attend the Siegfried Spectacle in Xanten?
Knights, horses, dragons, towers, windmills, armor, food, and activities — what’s cooler than a medieval festival in the only German city starting with an “X,” where Siegfried the dragon slayer was born, according to the Nibelung saga? Treat your family to the Siegfried Spectacle in Xanten, a fascinating adventure that they won’t forget any time soon!
… Visit the Albino Deer at Fauna Park in Solingen?
Another nice destination for education, fun, and relaxation is the Fauna Park in Solingen, which features a few different animals than the bird and animal park in the same city, such as albino deer, nandus, leafcutter ants, peacocks, zebus, etc. It also has a playground and an imitation Stonehenge!
… Climb the Lego Pirate Ship in Legoland?
At his second visit to Legoland, Lyons Cub explored the huge Lego pirate ship with its nets, bridges, canons, pirate with wooden leg, torches, barred windows, starfish, crabs, towers…. so much to explore!!!
… Play at the Sand and Water Park?
What’s better on a hot June day than to wade in water, make sand castles, and build a canal and dam in the sand? Langenfeld Freizeitpark makes it possible…
… Go Bull Riding at the Sparkassenfest?
Lyons Cub’s little friend drove by some inflatable toys, and her parents texted us… So we ended up at the Sparkassenfest (125 years celebration) with its bouncy castles, wheel of fortune, beer crate climbing, and bull riding attraction. There was a Sparkassen run for caritative fundraising, too, and we saw several firemen and -women in full attire, including oxygen tanks, running along the street in the summer heat. Lots of fun for the whole family!
… Climb on the Hoplop Indoor Playground in Cologne?
We’ve tried a smaller indoor playground, GeckoFun, before, but Hoplop, a Finnish indoor playground chain that opened a branch in Cologne Pulheim in 2018 was definitely something else!!! It was gigantic with its inflatables, climbing towers, slides, volcano, go-karts, trampolines, ninja run, and dining area. The lunch was good, too (we had chicken nugget baskets). Lyons Cub and his friends enjoyed it a lot, and he wants to celebrate his birthday there.
… Visit the Irrland Amusement Park in Kevelaer?
This was Lyons Cub’s first excursion to a theme park! He loved Irrland Amusement Park in Kevelaer near the Dutch border. There were so many attractions that we spent three days in the park without seeing them all…
… Go to the Forest Pool in the City of Hilden?
On a hot summer day, Lyons Cub loves to go splashing in a public pool hidden in the forest of the city of Hilden. There are a kiddie pool with spraying toys, three slides in an adventure pool, a swimmers’ pool, and a pool with different jumping platforms.
… Watch the Fire Act at Project Circus Proscho?
Lyons Cub’s second circus visit was phenomenal! There were no animals this time, but lots of fire stunts, tight-rope dancers, high-rope acrobats, clowns, jugglers, and, and, and… Project Circus Proscho visited our town, and since it is a participation circus, school-aged children who had been in the summer project were able to partake in the acts after the official show. Lyons Cub wants to do that, too, when he’s six years old. Yay, two more years to go and he can “join the circus”!!! 😉
… Play on the Splash Pad in the Landschaftspark in Monheim?
The splash pad in Landschaftspark Rheinbogen is a great family destination during hot weather!
12 Cool Things to do in Irrland Amusement Park in Kevelaer
On our second day in Irrland park, we climbed the high air traffic control tower at Irrland International Airport. It was so scaaaaary!!! At least for this mommy. Lyons Cub had no problems going down the highest slide of all…
5 Attractions to Visit in Irrland Amusement Park in Kevelaer
On our third day in Irrland theme park, we built a human-sized LEGO house with furniture, fed goats and donkeys, and tried out lots of different slides and playground equipment.
… Hold a Snake at Circus Florida?
My brave boy held a huge, heavy albino royal python at Circus Florida the other day… He had an amazing trip to the circus, riding a pony and a donkey, admiring high rope artists, a fire stunt, different acrobats, a clown, and feeding horses, camels, dromedaries, goats, and kangaroos during the break. “Its face was very close to mine,” he said about his snake experience.
… Climb the High Ropes Course at Oki Doki?
After having gone to the indoor playgrounds GeckoFun in Burscheid and Hoplop in Cologne, Lyons Cub tried out Oki Doki, and this one was special, because in addition to all the inflatables and bouncy castles, towers, and slides, it also featured a high ropes course! I have a brave boy 😉
… Visit the Duisburg Zoo?
This was my son’s third zoo visit (after the Nashville Zoo and the Wuppertal Zoo), and he loved the Duisburg Zoo. We saw elephants, giraffes, lemurs, a lynx, wallaroos, chickens, white wolves, goats, donkeys, pheasants, camels, alpacas… and we played on two playgrounds. It was a great excursion!
… Go to the Fall Festival?
The fall festival is in town, and although we didn’t know about it in advance and it was rainy, Lyons Cub had lots of fun at the bungy jumping place, on the merry-go-round, fishing plastic ducks, and winning prizes. Happy fall, y’all!!!
… Visit the Cologne Zoo and Ride in a Gondola over the Rhine River?
The Cologne Zoo is worth a trip!! Not only were there many interesting and exotic animals, we also took a sightseeing train through the city all the way to the Gothic cathedral and rode in a gondola across the Rhine River! After Wuppertal and Duisburg, this was the third German zoo Lyons Cub has experienced, and he loved it. Our favorite animals were the baboons.
… Visit Circus Traber?
This was Lyons Cub’s fourth circus visit, and he loved this one very much: Circus Traber had it all — animals, petting zoo, pony riding for the kids at the end, acrobats, clowns, jugglers, high rope artists, even a contortionist. Well, there wasn’t a fire act, and one didn’t get a little sack of food to feed the animals during the break, but apart from that, it was a well-rounded circus experiences with LOTS of interaction with the audience. There was a bonus: A power outage at a very sensitive moment…. But read on!
… Visit the Aquazoo in Duesseldorf?
This was our second visit to the Aquazoo in Duesseldorf, the city where mommy went to high school once. It was nice to be back and take a walk through the familiar North Park with the great playground. In the Aquazoo, Lyons Cub enjoyed the interactive learning stations, such as the Cartesian diver and the measuring station for salt content in different water samples. He also liked the touch and feel stations, and of course loved looking at the fish, amphibians, penguins, reptiles, insects, and fossils. What a very enjoyable and teachable day today!
Halloween Party with the Family
Halloween 2022, we spent with our family. Lyons Cub was Sonic the Hedgehog, mommy was a witch, grandma was Yoshi, and big cousin was a business woman. The others didn’t feel like wearing costumes 😉
Decking the Halls
In November, we actively started preparing for this season’s Christmas celebration. We visited a local baked apple market, where Lyons Cub and mommy purchased some pretty hand-crafted items, such as a Christmas wreath with knitted people with sleds on it, as well as jewelry angels, and ornaments for our tree. In December, we frequented several Christmas markets to buy decorations and gifts. Vacations will start soon. We’re ready for this season!
… Watch the Cranes Fly South?
Nature had a great spectacle in store for Lyons cub today: He watched the cranes migrating with skillful arrow-like formation and lots of noise, right over his head! As his reward for a long walk through the forest, we went to the forest playground.
… Go Ice-Skating at the Christmas Market in Monheim?
For days, Lyons Cub has been begging me to go ice-skating, and today was finally the big day! We drove to the city of Monheim at the Rhine River to go to the Christmas Market and try out our skills at the ice-skating rink, which also had sleds looking like seals that the parents could push. We had a fantastic time and didn’t get hurt 🙂
… Go to Tiki Kinderland in Solingen?
We went to yet another indoor playground. Tiki Kinderland even had a little lake with two boats on it that Lyons Cub tried out. It also had minigolf as a new attraction we had never tried before. In addition, it featured a bowling alley. The rest was pretty much the usual: An inflatable toy, climbing constructs, scooter tracks, trampolines, hit-the-gophers game, foosball tables, and a very low rope course for small children. It was nice and different!
… Go to the Hugodrom in Remscheid?
This is the sixth indoor playground Lyons Cub has experienced so far. The Hugodrom had a couple of new things to offer, like a climbing wall, twistball, huge rubber balls, and scooters as well as roller skates and skateboards for rent. In the front part of this former factory hall was a store where the parents could actually buy scooters, trampolines, skates, skateboards, and other sports gear. However, there were too few attractions to satisfy a bigger group of kids. We were lucky, we were basically alone here today!
… Celebrate Carnival in the Rhineland?
Carnival in Germany is great, but in the Rhineland, it is very special. After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Lyons Cub attended his first ever carnival parade in the Rhineland on February 18th, 2023. He went in his new Bowser costume from Mario Bros. and insisted on riding there on his Hudora stunt scooter that he had gotten for his birthday. Despite the rain, we had lots of fun, saw amazing costumes, and collected lots of candy. Helau and Alaaf!!!
… Go to the Dortmund Zoo?
Lyons Cub has been to more than a handful of zoos and animal parks already, but Dortmund Zoo was definitely one of the most beautiful ones we ever visited. If it hadn’t been so cold and wet today, and if we had taken a couple of trains earlier, we would have been able to see even more animals. At least, we visited the lions 🙂
… Visit a Dripstone Cave?
This was Lyons Cub’s first time ever inside a cave far, far below the ground. It was a little spooky with the blue and red artificial lights, and there were even a few ghosts displayed for the kids. Leander loved the Dechenhoehle in the city of Iserlohn! He saw beautiful stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and flowstones. One formation looked like an organ being played by a giant hand! This place is really worth a visit. It includes free entry to the adjacent cave museum, where one can admire taxidermy cave lions and bears, fossils, bones, and semi-precious stones.
… Visit Castle Drachenburg and Ride the Drachenfels Bahn?
Castle Drachenfels in Koenigswinter was a great sight to see. One could climb onto the towers and had a splendid view over the Seven Mountains (Siebengebirge). For the way up and down the mountain, we used the antique Drachenfelsbahn (Dragon Rock Train). In the gift shop, Lyons Cub bought a talking plush dragon that repeated everything he said.
… Visit the Galileum in Solingen?
Have you been in a planetarium with your preschooler yet? The Galileum in Solingen doesn’t only explain what’s there to know about stars, planets, and galaxies but also connects educational content with stories the children know from kids’ books, such as Lars the Little Polar Bear, one of my son’s favorite books…
… Ride the Suspension Monorail in Wuppertal?
The so-called “Schwebebahn,” the suspension monorail in the city of Wuppertal, was a great sight to see with my son. He rode it from start to finish, and when we saw a fun fair from high above, we got off at that station to ride the Ferris Wheels and participate in the activities.
… Visit Burg Castle in Solingen?
“Schloss Burg,” or Burg Castle in the city of Solingen is a museum containing many interesting artifacts, from shiny armor, a falcon, model castles to swords and daggers that are being demonstrated by a gentleman knowledgeable in the art of fighting. Artisan shops sell hand-crafted items. The view from the tower is splendid, and the ancient toilet is — well — err — see for yourself 😉
… Meet a Waitressing Robot in a Chinese Restaurant?
For lunch, we went to a Chinese Restaurant in the city of Leverkusen with a friend from Virginia. They happened to have a waitressing robot that my son loved. It brought us our drinks, but when we placed our money on it, the real waitress came running and took it herself 🙂
… Visit the Neanderthal Museum?
What an exciting excursion for a preschooler, to see the famous Neanderthal Man and other predecessors of homo sapiens, as well as a mammoth baby and other artifacts from times past… The Neanderthal Museum in the city of Mettmann is a great educational museum for old and young.
… Go to a Summer Festival at a Schrebergarten?
In this blog post, you will learn what a German Schrebergarten is, what it is used for, and what you can do there. We went there for a summer festival, games, play, a lottery, and food. It was fun!
… Go to the Best Playground in Solingen?
The best playground in Solingen (well, that’s what its sign says, but we think so, too!) is Engelsberger Hof 9. It is on a vast area with plenty of barbecue options and features climbing structures, a steel locomotive with climbing nets and tows, swings, slides, animal rides, and plenty of other fun things. There are lots of benches for the parents and grandparents to relax on and watch. One could spend a whole day there! It’s worth the long drive through badly paved forests 😉
… Visit the Botanical Garden in Solingen?
We have seen several parks and gardens already, but the botanical garden in Solingen is special. We went in July when the outside part was in full bloom, but the most exciting things were the orchid house and the succulent house. Lyons Cub loved the different, prickly cacti. It’s worth a family visit!
… Visit an Interactive Drop Forge Museum?
The “Mitmachmaschine,” an interactive drop forge museum in the city of Solingen, is a reminder of past industrial times and educates young children about the process of making scissors and other metal things. The kids create artifacts that remain in the museum, for others to admire.
… Go Swimming in the Calevornia in Leverkusen?
We went swimming both inside and outside the Calevornia in Leverkusen today. It’s not my favorite place (I prefer the Waldbad in Hilden and the Hildorado), but it was a fun-filled day for the kiddo. The big, yellow waterslide is the main highlight!
… Go to the Fire Department’s Open House?
Today, we went to the local fire department for its open house day. Volunteers explained to the children how they should close the doors in a burning house, so the smoke doesn’t go into other rooms. The kids could also extinguish real, small fires with fire extinguishers, ride little toy fire trucks, take part in a lottery, and watch a reenacted scene of firemen saving a man from a burning house. In addition, there was a bouncy castle and a lady doing face painting. Lyons Cub became Spiderman!
… Go to a Bouncy Castle Festival?
This is a wandering exhibition, so if you live in North-Rhine Westphalia, chances are it’s coming to your town, too! Lyons Cub had fun at the Altano bouncy castle outdoor event. It was rainy and muddy, but he and his friends loved to climb, jump, bounce, slide, and splash in the water. There were some other attractions, like bouncy balls and ride-on machines, bobby cars, merry-go-rounds, and see-saws for the littles. The adults could sit under tents, and there were food stands, too.
… Care for a Carnivorous Plant?
Little kids and meat-eating plants go well together 😉 Lyons Cub used to feed his Venus Flytrap, although this is not necessary. He learned that it loves rain water fed from the bottom through a dish and dies when being watered with tap water from above. He also cares for his pitcher plant. Educational videos by David Attenborogh about how carnivorous plants catch insects are very exciting for him. Does your child have a green thumb?
… try out a Tamping Simulator on Tag der Schiene?
On Friday, September 15th, was Tag der Schiene in Germany, and Lyons Cub got to sit in different simulators to pretend to be a tamper or front cabin operator! He also received instruction at the hydraulic racks. It was quite an adventure!
… Go to a Precious Stones Fair?
The precious stones fair in Cologne was a great sight to see. It was relatively small and accessible with younger kids, and one could use the teachable moments when showing them fossils and amber. Kids love glittery stuff, anyway, so I’m glad we went 🙂
… Bake Edible Chestnuts?
Arghhh, what a mess we made!!! Our chestnuts behaved like popcorn and jumped around in the oven, soiling everything. They did taste good, though. Next time, we’ll make sure to make a cross-shaped cut into them before baking. If you’re not sure what edible chestnuts look like compared to non-edible ones, check out our blog and our funny video of popping them 😉
… Get a Visit from Saint Nick on December 6th?
As it is our annual tradition, in 2023, Saint Nicholas came to our house, too. This is probably the last year Lyons Cub will still believe that he’s “real” and not recognize his uncle. He had invited his friend and her little sister to attend the party, and all kids had been good and received plenty of presents.
… Watch the Fireworks on New Year’s Eve?
When your kid is finally old enough to stay awake to watch the fireworks and great the new year… 😉 There was quite a bit going on, and it was a great teachable moment to talk about the invention of fireworks and also how to protect animals (and oneself) from pyrotechnics. Happy New Year 2024!!!
… Play with LEGO at the Megabricks Store?
I didn’t even know this was a thing, but at the Megabricks store in Monheim at the Rhine River, kids can meet and play with LEGO (in the LEGO Duplo pit for the toddlers and with complicated buildings and tracks for the big kids) while the adults can buy LEGO sets and assemble more difficult things, or just sit on a bench and enjoy a soft drink and the quiet….
… Go to a German Carnival Parade in the Rhineland?
It’s that time of the year again where people disguise and take to the streets to catch candy thrown from the floats and shout “Helau!” and “Alaaf”… Here in the Rhineland, with Cologne being the carnival stronghold, we celebrated the carnival season wildly and crazily. Lyons Cub was Green from Rainbow Friends, and mommy was a witch (a good one, naturally). Check out this post if you want to learn about the German custom of carnival 🙂
… Visit the Aquarium in the Cologne Zoo?
We’ve been to Cologne quite often, but we never knew that entry to the aquarium is free when you have a ticket to the famous zoo! We saw amazing fish there, and in addition, they had spiders, centipedes, and lizards of various kinds. It was an amazing and educational trip.
… Visit the New Megabricks Location in Monheim?
Our favorite Megabricks playland in the city of Monheim has moved — now, it’s in a much bigger place that also contains a LEGO store! The kids spent half a day there, assembling dinosaur and garden house sets and playing with various LEGO cars, figurines, and buildings. What a fun day!