We’re in a new phase of parenting. Gone are the days of diaper changes, formula feedings and a baby content to pass the time between naps in a swing by the window. While those days went by in a blur that both made my head spin and caused me to wonder if it would ever be over … the new normal is a blur of a different kind. Someone is always wrestling, bickering, flying a paper airplane, talking incessantly about Minecraft, and/or asking for a snack. My husband and I are constantly wondering how to keep the fellas occupied in meaningful activities as opposed to just trying to survive the day. I don’t like living in survival mode. It makes me feel selfish and ungrateful. At the same time, we aren’t supposed to constantly entertain our children, either. So. Not that we have it all figured out, but here are ten activities that get the boys away from their much-coveted Minecraft app and occasionally elicit a “wow” on a weekend.
1. Explore a State Park. My husband has made it his mission to instill a love of the outdoors in our boys. Everything is better when you are outside. When we lived in the Northwest, this meant camping in a yurt to stay dry on a rainy weekend. He started them young and labels it an ‘adventure’ and off they go …
2. Visit a Children’s museum. There’s something for everyone here and our boys still love to go. My all-time favorite is still the children’s museum in Everett, Washington.
3. Play in the sandbox. Our city parks have sandboxes in them, which I think is brilliant. It takes a little coaxing, but after a few minutes their imaginations are running wild and everyone is having a blast. A giant plastic bin filled with rice works just as well in the garage or a basement if the weather outside is frightful.
4. Audio books. This is a rare occurrence at our house, which might be why it holds their attention. Have you tried it? A story that you listen to must engage a completely different part of your brain because I find that I really have to concentrate to listen to the narrator. Now that we can borrow from the library both physically and virtually, there’s a whole new world of options available.
5. Our kids attend school on a year-round calendar, which means 45 days in and 15 out. We need a few unique events to look forward to, apart from our annual vacation. Lego Kidsfest is one of those “wow” events for us. Go here to see when Lego Kidsfest will be in a city near you.
6. Visit a zoo or aquarium
7. Check out one of the many frozen yogurt shops that have popped up recently. A variety of flavors, with a toppings bar, semi-unlimited access to whip cream in a can … Always a crowd pleaser for our kiddos.
8. Sit quietly and read the paper, lingering over your coffee and have an intelligent conversation with your spouse. Neither one of you are allowed to mention Minecraft. We strive for this on Saturday mornings. It’s a challenge. The boys get to watch TV in order for us to make it happen. But we try.
9. Dust off the stomp rockets. Available at a toy store, it’s a relatively inexpensive investment that’s durable and fun to play with. You put a foam rocket on a stand which is attached to a hose and an air-filled bladder. When you stomp on the bladder, the air forces the rocket off the stand and into the air. Much giggling ensues. Rocket retrieved. Rinse. Repeat.
10. Rent a boat. The size and scope of this adventure depends on water access, of course. Whether it’s a paddle boat at a city park or a larger craft on a huge lake, there’s just something about being out on the open water.
I’m linking up with Northwest Mommy today and her fabulous Monday Listicles. So tell us how you like to spend your weekend, link up and share.