There, I said it. I’m a stay-at-home mom to an almost 3-year-old boy, and I hate going to the park. It could be that this germophobic mom can’t handle the dirt… or that the trouble to slather sunscreen on this fair-skinned family isn’t worth the struggle… or that splintery “tan bark” invariably ends up as make-believe spaghetti or cookies to fake-eat (yuck)… or that it’s unfathomable to keep up with my adventurous preschooler on the playground while keeping the 4-month-old safe (ding! ding! ding!). Whatever the reason, when we need a quick cost-effective outing, going to the park is at the bottom of my list.
Without the park as a standby, we need to be creative about other cheap (free) outings that are close to home and require a minimum of preparation. The outing should allow us to get the wiggles out, keep both kids safe and happy — and ideally educated and germ-free — and still be home in time for dinner. And let’s be honest, it should not make me want to scream or cry of frustration or boredom; I scream and cry enough as it is.
I wrote down a list of my favorite quick-outing destinations:
- Public library
- Target (clearly I really dislike the park if I’d rather wrangle two kids in Target)
- Downtown (bookstore/local bakery/ice cream shop)
- Grandma & Grandpa’s house
Is that all? Really? My poor kids.
Then I wrote down a few more ideas that might be farther afield or require a bit of advance planning:
- Gymboree/My Gym/Little Gym free-play time
- Local beach
These would have been great when BB was an only child, but I get a little twitchy thinking about trying these with LB along. No wonder I’m having trouble keeping BB entertained.
Then last week I stumbled across www.rookiemoms.com. Moms who have a book and a website about what to do with your kids to keep everyone from going stir-crazy! What a revelation! What’s sad is that I own The Rookie Mom’s Handbook, even met the authors at a local baby boutique!, but I haven’t once used them as a resource. So, here’s my goal this week: try 3 activity suggestions from the Rookie Moms and report back on how it went.
Have any parents out there figured out how to entertain a preschooler with an infant in tow? Without going to the park?! Please chime in!