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6 Activities for Toddlers They'll Love (and Learn From)

BY: Groupon Editors | Aug 11, 2014

There's so much happening in a child's development from ages 1 to 3 that it's almost hard to think of activities for toddlers that don't have some kind of benefit for them. That's why it's so important to get your child out into the world—no matter where you go, they'll be expanding their vocabulary, developing their curiosity, and learning how to behave around others.

Still, some activities for toddlers are more beneficial than others. Check out this list of six places to go with 2 year olds for inspiration, then read about some of our favorite examples from across the country.

Explore a Children's Museum

Benefits to kids: Develop imagination, gain exposure to new subjects, promote language development

Featured deal: Admission to Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, CA, starting at $29.90 for two

About Bay Area Discovery Museum: Located just north of San Francisco at an old Army site, this museum affords some of the most gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge. For toddlers, there's the Tot Spot, an indoor play area with two rooms themed around the wetlands and woodlands that serves as a haven away from the big kids. Outside, a cleverly constructed "stream" invites them to play in the water.

Shop this idea elsewhere:

  1. Browse museums near you
  2. In Seattle: Seattle Children's Museum
  3. In Boston: Boston Children's Museum
  4. In Los Angeles: Zimmer Children's Museum

Go to the Zoo

Benefits to kids: Develop environmental awareness, promote curiosity, get physical exercise

Featured deal: San Diego Zoo day pass starting at $44

About the San Diego Zoo: This world-class zoo houses nearly 4,000 animals across more than a dozen exhibits, from Panda Canyon to Elephant Odyssey to Africa Rocks. The best ways to see it all without wearing out your toddler? Hop aboard a double-decker bus for a guided tour, included with every admission. Fill in the gaps in the tour by renting a stroller for $14.

Shop this idea elsewhere:

  1. Browse zoos near you
  2. In Litchfield Park, AZ: Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park
  3. In Horse Cave, KY: Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo
  4. In Cincinnati: Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Visit an Indoor Playground

Benefits to kids: Work on motor skills, get exercise, learn to get along with others

Featured deal: Admission to Ball Factory Indoor Play & Cafe in Naperville, IL, starting at $18 for two

About Ball Factory Indoor Play & Cafe: Count this as one indoor playground where the toddler area isn't an afterthought. Kids under 42" enter their own Parent & Tot section complete with mini-slides, cushioned play structures, and extra-large soft LEGO blocks for developing motor skills. Once the kids get a little older, they can enjoy the rest of the playground, including the pedal tractor area, the obstacle and maze section, and a ball-blasting arena with air-propelled cannons.

Shop this idea elsewhere:

  1. Browse indoor playgrounds near you
  2. In Katy, TX: Hooray Playground
  3. In Brookfield, CT: Tot Town Party & Play
  4. In Fort Lauderdale, FL: Funderdome

Sign Them Up for Gymnastics

Benefits to kids: Develop motor skills and balance, learn to take turns and follow directions

Featured deal: Toddler classes at Hunt's Gymnastics in Midvale, UT, starting at $25

About Hunt's Gymnastics: Kids as young as 3 can take Hunt's Tots classes, which teach not only motor skills and body awareness, but also listening, sharing, and cooperation. The gym is run by one-time national champion and famous gymnastics clown Paul Hunt, who's been coaching gymnasts in Utah since 1974.

Shop this idea elsewhere:

  1. Browse gymnastics classes near you
  2. In Austin, TX: Jump! Gymnastics
  3. In Dearborn Heights, MI: Michigan Academy of Gymnastics
  4. In Auburn, WA: Auburn Gymnastics

Find Another Class

Benefits to kids: Develop creativity, learn to listen and cooperate, gain exposure to new subjects

Featured deal: Family Music Course at MusicalMe in Santa Cruz, CA, starting at $139 for 12 weeks

About MusicalMe: There's no minimum age requirement to participate in MusicalMe's signature Music Together class, so infants can participate with children as old as 5. This mixing of ages is intentional: child development research shows that young kids learn by watching older kids, and older kids benefit from gauging the reaction of younger kids. But the class is as enjoyable as it is beneficial, with kids and parents singing, moving, chanting, and learning to play with instruments.

Shop this idea elsewhere:

  1. Browse kids' classes near you
  2. In Flower Mound, TX: Family yoga classes at Yogi Kids & Fit Family
  3. In Atlanta: Toddler creative movement class at Dance 411 Studios
  4. In Littleton, CO: Toddler art classes at artSPARK Creative Studio

Check Out the Aquarium

Benefits to kids: Promote curiosity, learn about new subjects, develop environmental awareness

Featured deal: Tours at World Aquarium in St. Louis starting at $61 for two

About World Aquarium: The World Aquarium specifically bills itself as "A Children's Place," and it's an especially appealing spot for kids who can't keep their hands to themselves. That's because the aquarium specializes in interactive tours and exhibits that allow kids to get up close to the animals, whether that means touching a stingray, feeding a giant tortoise, or petting a baby shark.

Shop this idea elsewhere:

  1. Browse aquariums near you
  2. In Houston: Houston Downtown Aquarium
  3. In San Pedro, CA: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
  4. In Chicago: Shedd Aquarium

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This article was originally written by Anita Chu and has since been updated by our editors.