Today was a short day at work, only two hours to be exact (and gym before hand). We had planned an outing to the museum and it was great, for the most part. My sister and nieces joined us and the kids seemed to have lots of fun. Except for the occasional crying, tripping, fighting, screaming, and a little stubbornness from both kids and parents (well, really from me but I can’t take all the blame).
It was an important day because I usually can’t join them due to work so I’m glad I took the day today and was able to enjoy my family. I want my children to know that mommy is there for them at all times. I must say that I had forgotten how tiring walking around the museum was, specially when it was 80 degrees outside. The museum has an inside area and an outside, larger playground. And with such a beautiful weather outside, we spent most of the time out.
Our children are very active and we like it that way because I don’t want them in front of the TV, a computer, or a cell phone all day long. So my husband usually has an activity for them in the morning, and we do another one together in the evening after I get home from work. The kids are still little, I guess they’ll always be little for me, but they are relatively small and so they can’t do all the jumping and running around as an older kid can. So we have to find activities that are safe for them to do and fun.
Every time we went to their well child check-ups, we were reminded that they should watch no more than 2 hours of TV a day. And they should get at least 1 hour of physical activity per day. And so that’s only 3 hours, my question has always been, what does a one-year old and a two-year old do the rest of that time while awake? I searched Pinterest for hours trying to find activities fit for toddlers but I thought some were too complex for my little ones. I guess now that they are getting a little bigger, they are trying new activities and we are making sure that they utilize their body and mind when engaging on what they are doing. But a few months back, we weren’t sure what to do with them.
So here’s a list of a few activities we do with them and most of them are free:
- Go outside. I know this one is pretty obvious but I know of people that don’t want to take their kids outside their house because of bugs or mosquito bites. But I think it’s great for the kids to explore. My husband built a couple of swings for them, a see-saw, and we have other games outside that they get to enjoy. And they also enjoy walks up and down the driveway, so something as simple as walking is fun for them. We also have a few soccer balls that they enjoy kicking around.
- Go to your city park. We have at last 5 parks within 15 minutes from our house and they visit a couple of them a week. Some parks have playgrounds, others have walking trails, and one even has a lake with ducks and a pond with very colorful fish. My children love to feed the ducks and watch the fish. They also like swings a lot.
- Go sight seeing at a mall or other large store. During the evening, most of the parks and museums are closed so we tend to go walking to the mall or the grocery store. At the mall closest to us, there’s a merry-go-round so they get to enjoy that as well sometimes. Now don’t take your wallet or otherwise you’ll end up spending money but it’s nice to be indoors when it’s cold or when there are too many mosquitoes outside.
- Have a play date with family/friends. My niece is one year older than my daughter, so they love to play together. We try to get them together at least once a week and it’s nice seeing them share. We also have friends that have little kids and we try to get together a couple of times a month to catch up and they enjoy playing.
- Dance. I like to dance, I’m not really good at it but I enjoy it. So a few times a week, when we don’t go out during the evening, we dance for about an hour in our living room. I have a Youtube playlist with some dancing videos and my children really like watching them. And my daughter dances along. My son is smaller so he doesn’t dance much but he’s starting to feel the music.
- Visit a museum. We have a share membership to our local museum with my sister, so we do pay for this one but it’s not too much. And we get unlimited access to their facilities. My children love, love to go to this one There are so many things they can do and they engage their creativity as well. This is the one we did today and it was lots of fun. There are also free museums but they are about 40 minutes away from us and I think it’s a little far.
So here you have it. We structure our week around these activities to get them moving every day. Of course, when they are not jumping around, they are playing with their building blocks, or trying to color something (even the walls) so they also do other activities. But they are used to walking and running and actually get bored if they are inside all day.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on activities with your little ones, they are not very demanding and will enjoy spending time with you. I’m also trying to get my daughter to do yoga with me and she’s starting to follow the directions I give her so I’m going to start implementing this as well as she gets a little older. But if you have older kids, doing exercise with them would be very beneficial to both of you. Or doing a sport would be a fun activity to do as a family.
I hope you enjoy the list and use some of these activities for your little ones.