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Summer in Wisconsin is relatively short, so it's important to be intentional (and realistic) about planning and scheduling. But when you have a toddler, planning those adventures and balancing a laid-back summer with a scheduled one, can be a bit tricky. So, remember that even the most basic of activities can bring such enjoyment for your toddler (and you).

A simple summer bucket list:

· Laying in the grass and watching the clouds or the stars

· Dancing in the warm rain

· Running in the park

· Catching fireflies

· Planting a garden

· Digging in the dirt

· Picking fresh strawberries

· Backyard picnics

· Eating ice cream on a hot day

· Splashing in a kiddie pool

Looking to explore? Try these destinations and events:

· Milwaukee County Zoo: Always a fun trip, the zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer months. For more information, visit milwaukeezoo.org.

· Wisconsin State Fair: The State Fair is scheduled for Aug. 4-14. Be on the look out for admission deals at wistatefair.com.

· Lakefront Fireworks: This year's Lakefront Fireworks display is scheduled for July 3.

· A Milwaukee festival: For a list of the top family-friendly festivals, visit metroparentmagazine.com/festivals

· Beach trip: Explore the beaches of southeast Wisconsin! For list of beaches as well as wading pool, big pools and splashpads in the Milwaukee area, visit metroparentmagazine.com/beaches.

· Outdoor movies: Nearly every night of summer, you can find a free outdoor movie. For a list of spots, visit metroparentmagazine.com/outdoormovies.

Share these ideas with your toddler and see what she might like to do. Involving your toddler in planning a bucket list will give her some control over the decisions. Even just a few of these things will make a memorable summer.■

Jeanne Labana of Milwaukee have been an educator for more than 25 years.


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