Top 10 things to do with your toddler!
Cornwall has recently been voted the most family friendly holiday destination in the world thanks to its world class beaches and huge variety of child friendly things to do. You may be thinking of taking a trip down but are not quite sure what to do with the little ones…look no further than this comprehensive guide, which offers tips and inspiration on how to keep them occupied (and the adults too for that matter!)
A Cornish tale to spark their imaginations…
The excitement and anticipation of a holiday is half the fun, so why not get their imaginations going by reading them a classic Cornish children’s tale, perhaps the night before you set off, or even earlier? We would personally recommend ‘The Mousehole Cat;’ a moving Cornish tale of a cat and a fisherman who brave the stormy seas to save their village, or ‘The Magic Ointment’ which is a volume of Cornish legends and tales. What a wonderful way to keep you both entertained, and to enjoy a special moment together before your Cornish getaway.
A classic car game, who could resist?!
Undoubtedly one of the best ways to avoid hearing “are we there yet?!” every now and again during your journey, and reduce the use of tablets – which don’t exactly inspire family ‘togetherness’ – is of course a classic car game!
The question and answer game is easy to play with the youngest children because they can point as well as answer verbally. One player says, “Find a … ,” and the other players look for it. Things to look for: Cows of course, as well as birds, horses, big trucks, tractors, police cars, fire engines.
Animal Antics is also a good one; in this game, each person takes a turn making an animal sound, while everyone else tries to guess which animal it is. With the youngest children, it works best to start out making the sounds yourself and having them guess. Once they get the hang of it, let them try making the sounds for you to guess.
And the most popular – I Spy! This one can keep all ages entertained for hours!
Once you’ve arrived, unpacked and perhaps had your first night’s sleep in your holiday home, then of course the obvious option is to take the little ones to the beach! Smooth sandy stretches and lagoon-like seas are inviting, as well as the presence of countless rockpools on some Cornish beaches, which gives the tots an activity to get stuck into, and also an opportunity to learn about the creatures that inhabit our oceans.
Beaches that we can recommend are Gyllyngvase and Castle Beaches in Falmouth, Treyarnon Bay near Padstow and Watergate Bay in Newquay.
Crabbing is also a fantastic activity – all you need is a fishing line, a bit of bacon at the end of it and patience of course! Padstow, Mullion Cove and Coverack have some great harbour walls to go crabbing from. Take care and resist the temptation to throw any crabs on the BBQ – they aren’t edible!
Arts and crafts
Crafting is not necessarily the obvious choice for an activity to do in Cornwall, but it is surprising how popular and fun it can be, particularly on those rainy days. There are several places where you can take your toddler that cater towards crafting; Truro Art Club offer workshops, clubs and ‘arty parties,’ and Cornwall Gold (between Porthreath and Porthtowan, just off the A30) offers a world of creativity and exploration for all the family.
The National Maritime Museum in Falmouth is a must-do for anyone holidaying in Cornwall. Not only do they offer a range of interactive exhibits on local history but they also cater towards a younger audience. Every Monday during term time you can drop-in for Museum Minnows; a lively half hour of stories, songs and rhymes (this is free with your museum entry ticket – pay once and get in free for the rest of the year!) The Awesome Adventurers Play Zone is a brand new area for the Museum too, where kids can act out historial events or slide down the waterfall, explore an underground cave, and even hop around on giant insects!
Helston Museum also offers ‘Krafty Kids’ sessions which are free of charge, where you can incorporate historical interest with arts and crafts for the little ones.
Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay
A really interesting and surprising aquarium overlooking Newquay’s Towan Beach, this place is bound to make all of the family wide-eyed. Book online for reduced entry and spot the ‘nemo fish,’ walk through the tunnel where it feels like you’re underwater or just watch the turtles and octopus getting fed. Go to the daily ‘Rockpool Encounter’ session to learn all about the amazing animals you can find in Cornish rockpools.
There are plenty of places to hire bikes in Cornwall that offer a range of equipment, so whether your little one isn’t fully confident yet and needs a little trailer or can cycle along quite happily using stabilisers, it still gives the adults the opportunity to take in Cornwall via the scenic route.
The Camel Trail offers bike hire, and is a lovely level track where you can cycle from Padstow or Wadebridge.
The Bissoe Trail goes from Devoran near Falmouth all the way to Portreath on the north coast, and has a varied gradient. You can also hire bike equipment here, and the great thing about these trails is you can go any distance you feel like.
There is plenty to see and do in Cornwall, and if you are looking for something low-effort and crowd-pleasing then there are some local attractions you simply must visit.
The Eden Project is an obvious choice and is fun for all the family, but their parent and toddler club is great for rainy days. This weekly club is set in Eden’s magical wild perimeters, where the great outdoors is celebrated through games and stories, quests and hunts, making and creating, and campfire cooking.
Paradise Park in Hayle has everything from penguin feeding to a fantastic indoor play centre with a toddler zone to exotic summer gardens and is open every day of the year, bar Christmas Day.
Take your toddler to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in the Helford Estuary and learn about how injured seals are cared for as well as get the opportunity to meet the seals and sea lions who live there permanently. Other popular animal attractions are the Screech Owl Sanctuary and Dairy Land Farm World.
Gardens in Cornwall
There are numerous beautiful gardens dotted around Cornwall, each offering different plant life and activities. Some are run by the National Trust and some are private.
Trebah Gardens is a sub-tropical garden with a spectacular coastal backdrop, and is one of the most family friendly gardens in Cornwall. Under 5’s can explore Fort Stuart (for cowboys and cowgirls) which includes a slide and rocking horses in a secure area on sand. There are also adventure trails for children to follow including Mr Frog’s Wildlife Trail where children can try and find Mr Frogs friends!!
Glendurgan Garden is National Trust and gently slopes down through a peaceful and exotic valley and offers activities such as the ‘I-Spy’ trail; great fun for small children.
Eat ice cream!
Cornwall is known for its ice cream. Try hedgehog ice cream (yes, you read it right!) at the famous Chapel Porth Café in St Agnes or visit the Roskilly’s Farm in St Keverne to take a look around the farm before sampling some of their famous ice cream.
Cornwall has so much to offer for those big and small, so take your pick of family friendly holiday cottages available throughout the year and book your Cornish break through Forever Cornwall today!