I’ve been working the part-time schedule now for a few months. My kids are home with me two days during the week and in school the other three days. With the exception of one day when my 1 year old had a fever, I have planned outings for my kids during every “home” day thus far. It took me a while to find activities to do with them, but I have enjoyed mixing “free” activities with paid activities. As you all know, a physically and/or mentally exhausted child means a healthy afternoon nap and a very thankful mama (or papa)! Below is my go-to list of things to do to keep my babies active.
Public Library Storytelling
All of our local public libraries host ‘storytelling’ times for children. They usually have multiple back-to-back sessions and group them by the age of the child. Although my kids insisted on eating the entire time we were at the library (I think I’ve conditioned them, Pavlov Dog style, to eat whenever we’re out), they enjoyed the outing.
Free Local Entertainment
Our local mall brings in children’s entertainment (a kid’s band) once a week for an hour. We try to go every week and then eat lunch at the mall afterwards with friends. My kids love dancing to the music.
Last week they brought in a different performer, who incorporated science/lab projects into the entertainment. It was a different spin on the usual routine, but the kids thought the puffs of “smoke” (the entertainers made sure to mention that the powder was non-toxic) in the air were quite thrilling.
We also have an indoor train that the kids love to ride, as well as a carousel, in our mall. If I’m out of ideas, we go for a few rides on the train and/or carousel.
Yesterday morning my husband mentioned that the temperature outside was warmer than usual. So I bundled up the kids and headed to the park to meet a friend and her son. We weren’t ten feet out the door when I realized that our trip to the park was going to be frrreeezing. After a quick 20 minute play date, we were ready to call it quits and head straight home for hot chocolate.
My kids still took a 3 hour nap in the afternoon.
I signed up for a half-price punch card to our local sports bounce during the last Groupon / LivingSocial offering. Our Sports Bounce is a warehouse full of moon bounces and other activities that allow our little ones to bounce their energy away.
Although I haven’t yet ventured to our local ice skating rink, several of my friends have taken their kids ice skating this year and have enjoyed it. Because my second daughter isn’t old enough to skate, I don’t think I can handle taking both of them to the rink myself. This would be a wonderful weekend activity to do as a family.
I just found out that my 3 year old is old enough to sign up for group swim lessons without mom and/or dad in the water. I plan to sign her up for ‘beginner’ lessons twice a week for 30 minutes. I would love for her to learn some survival skills (i.e. how to hold her breath under water) so that I can try to manage both kids by myself at the pool this summer.
I have taken my daughter to open gymnastics classes and she loves them. Unfortunately, the Little Gyms and the likes in our area are very expensive ($400 + a $40 membership fee/semester per child) and not in my part-time working budget. However, I’m sure if I did more research I could find a lower-cost alternative at a local recreation center.
Arts and Crafts
We’ve been blogging about arts and crafts that we’ve done over the past few months, but one of the activities that both of my girls love to do besides coloring is “paint” with watercolors. This activity usually gives me enough time to prep and start cooking dinner or clean up after breakfast.
I usually tape a coloring page to the table for both girls and give my 3 year old watercolor paints, a paintbrush and water. My 1 year old gets a paintbrush and water. She hasn’t realized that when she “paints,” it’s only with water. Even though the watercolors are non-toxic, I still don’t want her putting them in her mouth.
What activities do you do with your little ones to keep them physically and/or mentally stimulated?
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