Keeping toddlers entertained can be a constant battle – especially when you’re trying to vary things up so you don’t go mad yourself. Kids are expensive little people, and activities to keep them entertained can really rack up the costs. So, as its coming into the longer days, here are four free things to do with toddlers in Cork City.
Feeding The Ducks At The Lough
Who doesn’t love feeding the ducks? We’re so lucky in Cork City to have The Lough on our doorstep – it’s a little spot of calm so close to the city. For those not in the know, The Lough is a wildfowl preserve, particularly for swans, and has been a protected area since 1881. The Lough is also used for coarse angling (on a ‘strictly catch and release basis’) and is home to fish species such as carp, eel, tench, rudd and perch.
You can buy duck food from the shop (close to Supervalu), or bring your own from home. They do ask that if you do feed the wild birds to not feed them bread – it is found to interfere with their digestive systems. Instead, green veggies or chick feed is best for feeding them.
The perimeter of the Lough is about 1.1km, so you’ll see lots of walkers and joggers doing laps. It also contains a playground suitable for smaller kids, so when you’re in need of a break you can let them run riot in the playground. Do keep in mind that the playground is not fully fenced in and is adjacent to the open water so paying full attention is a must!!
Cork City has a wide variety of playgrounds, which is great for when you want to change things up a bit. We’re a big fan of the one in Douglas, it’s a great size for kids of all ages, even if the height of the slide terrifies me a little. Fitzgerald Park did an incredible renovation two years ago and is now home to a massive playground too. The only aside I would have with that one is that the sheer size makes watching kids a bit of a battle if you’re braving it solo – they vanish from sight quickly! Others we frequent regularly would be in Ballyphehane, the Ballincollig Regional Park (it’s AMAZING) and down by the Elysian. Wherever in the city you are, theres likely to be a playground close by, but these are the ones we’ve found to be best.
Walks in Woodlands
There is nothing nicer than a sunny day where you can get out to the outdoors with kids to get fresh air into their lungs. In Cork, I’ll settle for a day where it isn’t raining or gale force winds. Even better are days where you can head off into what feels like the countryside just outside the city. I’ve mentioned before our love of walks in Ballybrack Woods in Douglas. In recent months since I’ve been on the road, we’ve also been really enjoying Ballincollig Regional Park – massive trails perfect for smallies. The walk along the old Blackrock Railway has been a favourite of ours too for a long time, as it’s not along the road, it’s great to let smallies run on a little bit, safe in knowing they’re not going to run into danger.
Library Sing and Story Mornings
Cork City Libraries host Sing and Story Mornings which are great for smaller kids. We used to go to the one in the Central Library on Grand Parade when E was smaller and found it brilliant. Theres songs, stories, dance moves and as much chaos as you’d expect from letting small kids loose. Prepare to leave with songs stuck in your head after two hours of fun. You’ll have earned your coffee afterwards! Bishopstown Library has it on Friday mornings at 11 during May, but you can keep an eye out for the other libraries here.
Aside from the scheduled story mornings, heading into the Childrens Library is a great way to pass the morning. It’s free to join for both adults and kids, and really good for rainy days in particular!
Those are just some of the things available to you in Cork City, 4 free activities to do with your toddler. I’d love to hear of others that I’ve missed out on, let me know in the comments!
BadMammy is keeping her sanity through the toddler years over on Facebook.