Ready to shake up your routine? Rain or shine, weekday or not, Kent Island, Maryland, is awash with activities for you and tot. The hard part is not finding something to keep you busy, but finding the time to fit in all the fun. Full of parks and farms and surrounded by the salty waters of the Chesapeake Bay, Kent Island is a toddler wonderland.
Kent Island has a ton of parks for your little scientist to investigate. Stevensville favorites include Old Love Point Park with its playground just for toddlers and Batts Neck Park, which has a quiet little playground and two ponds to explore. For an utterly wild experience, check out Chester's Ferry Point Park. It's surrounded by wetlands and teeming with deer, waterfowl and turtles. Matapeake and Terrapin Parks provide beach access, but are best for a weekend outing when you can bring along hubby or a pal and your picnic cooler. All parks are open from sunrise until sunset. Contact the Queen Anne's County Department of Parks and Public Landings (parksnrec.org) at 410-758-0835 for more info.
Do you have a little Yao Ming, LeBron James or Lisa Leslie on your hands? The Queen Anne's County Department of Recreation (parksnrec.org) has just the thing for your little slam-dunker: Kiddie Basketball! The January-through-February program welcomes 3-to-5-year-olds to Kent Island Elementary School (qacps.k12.md.us/kie) on Saturdays at 9 a.m. If your tot's more of a kicker than a dribbler -- no surprise, of course, after all those boots to the belly you got while pregnant! -- how about Indoor Kiddie Soccer? The recreation department holds two four-week sessions at Matapeake Elementary School (qacps.k12.md.us/mes) between September and December. Open to 3-and-4-year olds, the hour-long sessions usually take place on Mondays at 6:15 p.m.
Whether you’re a marathoner or not, you can support local charities and encourage your tot to be active by signing up for an area kid's run or mommy-and-me race. Matapeake Elementary School hosts a One-Mile Fun Run for little sprinters in May. And the Miles for Moms (milesformoms.weebly.com) race that takes place in September at Terrapin Beach Park invites participants to "Run like a Mother" -- stroller and all. After-race events include face painting and kiddie games. For a competition of a different scale, the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association (mssa.net) holds a Kent Island Youth Fishing Derby at the Romancoke Pier in Stevensville each August. The youngest entrants compete in the 3-to-5-year-old age group.
Get out and be a part of the community at one of the many local events geared to families. Each year in May, the Kent Island Heritage Society (kentislandheritagesociety.org) celebrates the island's founding with the Kent Island Day festival and parade in Stevensville's historic downtown district. There's never a shortage of kid activities and new sights to hold the little one's attention. Kent Fort Farm (no website; 135 Eastern Ln., Stevensville; 410-643-1650) hosts several seasonal festivals, including the Peach Festival, held annually on the first Saturday in August, and a pumpkin patch each Saturday in October. Both events offer free admission, hayrides and a petting zoo -- and the homemade peach ice cream served during the Peach Festival is amazing!
Don't forget about the Queen Anne's County Free Library (quan.lib.md.us) on lazy or rainy days. During the summer, the library's calendar is jam-packed with kid activities and story times. Once school gets rolling, most of the toddler activities at the Kent Island branch are scheduled for Thursday and Friday mornings with programs designed for infants to 5 years. The calendar varies each month and includes everything from nursery rhymes and sign language classes to holiday-themed story times and dental health presentations.