Sunday, January 13, 2013

Creative ways to entertain young children

As a working mom, I sometimes feel less-than creative when it comes to entertaining our child on the weekends.  I recently asked Jenny of Cloth Diaper Revival for some ideas of activities I could do with our toddler:

It can be tough thinking of ways to entertain your child or toddler. As a mom, I try not to fall into the TV trap too much, although there are days it happens. If you saw the amount of toys scattered across my living room floor you would think there was no way a child could get bored. Never the less, it happens. They get bored, you get bored. Here’s a list of ideas for you to keep your little one (and yourself) entertained during those long days at home!

  • Local Parks: In the warmer, or mild days, visit a local park. We actually make the rounds to different parks almost daily when the weather is nice. The kids don’t get bored with the same play equipment and each park has something different to offer.
  • Bake: This is one of my favorite activities to do with preschool age and older kids. It’s an educational, fun, and delicious way to spend the afternoon.
  • Board Games: A variety of board games is a great way to spend some time with your child. Chutes and Ladders, Hi Ho Cheerio, and more! Most of these games have some educational aspect to them and you’ll both have fun playing.
  • Library Story Time: Find out what time your local library holds story time. This is a great way to get you out of the house each week and it provides a bit of an outlet for your little one to sing, dance, and interact with other kids.
  • Movie Day: I use this one sparingly, but movie days are great for those days when it’s rainy or you don’t feel well. If your kids aren’t exposed to much TV time, they will especially appreciate this treat. Pop some popcorn and snuggle up on the couch together.
  • Read books: If you have a little book lover, you could spend lots of time cuddled up with a huge stack of books. Stock up on some books they’ve never read before at the library and mix in some old favorites. You could even switch things up and have your child tell you the stories based on the pictures.
  • Lunch Date: Need some adult interaction? Meet up with a friend at a local restaurant with a play area or at a park. The kids can eat and then play, while the adults help each other monitor the kids and spend some time socializing.
  • Craft Time: This is a fun way to encourage the artistic side of your kids. Pull out old magazines, coloring books, paper, crayons, whatever! Work on those fine motor skills and make a collage, story book, or just let the kids color. You could even get some tubs of play-doh and pull out all the cookie cutters.
  • Backyard Play: One of my favorite things to do in between afternoon naps and dinner is play in the backyard. Kick the ball around, ride bikes, and play chase. Outdoor play releases some of that extra energy and is a nice pick-me-up for everyone. This is also a great activity if an older child is awake during a younger child’s nap time: just take the baby monitor out with you. The older child will be entertained and love the one-on-one time. You also won’t have to worry about waking the baby up. Win-win!
  • Museums: Many local museums have children’s areas for children to explore/play. The costs are usually minimal or even free.
  • Mall Play: This is another great cold or rainy day activity. Meet a friend at the mall. Let the kids play in the play area while you get out of the house and a little adult interaction.

Be sure to check for local events in your area. Many big cities have free activities around town. And of course, check with other parents: they tend to know about the hidden gems!

Jenny is a stay at home mom to a busy toddler. She spends nap-time writing about cloth diapers on her blog Cloth Diaper Revival.

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