1. Race your own 'Cup' at home
If you're scratching your head with ways to entertain your toddler on Cup Day, why not invite a few mum-and-bub friends over pre-race and race your very own 'Cup' at home? Toddlers can dress up in the colours of their chosen horses, and the winner gets a cup themed 'prize' (could be as simple as a toy horse or medal). A good idea would be to run several heats so that there are winners all round and no tears!
2. Run a Sweep-Stake
Who doesn't love a sweep-stake? Make your very own sweepstake at home by putting all horses into a hat, and allowing each guest (toddlers included) to pick a horse at random (no peeking!). If there are more horses than guests, allow each guest another go. Prizes could be set aside for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and last places and be as simple as sweets, flowers from the garden or a pre-loved gift or toy.
3. Bake Melbourne Cup Cookies
Decorating cookies is fun... always! Why not whip up a batch of vanilla flavoured cookies and make some icing sugar in fun 'Cup' colours so your little ones can decorate to their fancy? Toddlers will love getting their hands dirty while decorating their very own treats. Bonus: If you can source a horse-shaped cookie cutter, make them into horse shapes.
4. Have a Picnic
They say that fun is had in numbers, so why not invite your mummy friends and their kids and have a Melbourne Cup picnic on your lawn or at your local park, if permitted? Bring along some snacks for kids, a ball, bubbles, balloons, and don't forget some champagne for the adults and toast to the Cup, whether you have a bet yourself or not.
5. Go Pony Riding
If you're lucky enough to have access to pony rides in your local area, why not stay on the theme of horses and take your toddler pony-riding for Melbourne Cup day? Your little one will love it and you'll also be able to get up and close with a real horse too. Teach your little one about horses and horse-riding in the best possible way!