The kids in our household range in age from 3-years to 6-months. They don't really say, "Mom, I'm bored", but they get cranky and that's when we know that diversion tactics are necessary.
- Visit the library. Oronzo and I been taking Snuggle Bug to baby and toddler story times since he was about 6 months old. He loves them! Now Boo and Baby Bug are joining in the fun. Oronzo is usually the one that takes them to a couple of different ones each week, since he's the one home with the kids during the week, but occasionally I get to. The story times involve singing, dancing, coloring, playing with other children, and of course, stories. Best of all, the parents get to socialize as well. The kids have fun, the adults have fun. It's a win-win situation. After the story time is finished, I like to take the kids into the children's area of the library and let Snuggle Bug pick out books to read.
- Visit neighbors. We moved into our house about three years ago. It didn't take us long to realize that when we were out walking with Snuggle Bug, neighbors enjoyed stopping us for a chat. We've gotten to the point now where we'll walk over to a neighbor's house, ring the doorbell, and know that we'll be invited in for a chat and a snack. Many of our neighbors are elderly and they dote over the kids and support our fostering efforts.
- Take walks. We love taking Snuggle Bug, Boo, and Baby Bug for walks. We went out and bought a double stroller for this purpose. I make sure never to be in a hurry because it's amazing what Snuggle Bug and Boo likes to explore along the way. A caterpillar inching it's way across the sidewalk can provide several minutes of enjoyment!
- Go to church together. We go to mass nearly every Sunday. Snuggle Bug has always been right there with us, since he was 3 days old and now the girls are with us as well. At 3-years old, Snuggle Bug imitates us by kneeling on the kneeler, looking at the missal, and repeatedly singing "alleluia" with gusto. He loves observing the pianist and the older children singing in the children's choir (we hope one day he'll join), he can't wait for his turn to put our donation envelope in the basket, and even the priest's "clean-up" duties after communion fascinate him. He also has fun flirting with the members that surround us. After mass, we treat ourselves to brunch at our favorite local cafe.
- Go for a bike ride. Not long ago we bought a children's bike seat and attached it to Oronzo's mountain bike. We also bought a children's bike helmet. Snuggle Bug absolutely loves to go on bike rides. Often times we will bike a mile or so to a nearby Starbucks and stop for a muffin and hot chocolate. Biking as a family is a lot of fun!
- Go shopping. Yes, that's right, we purposely take our toddlers shopping with us, and not just when we have errands to run. Sometimes we go shopping just to get out and explore. Because we've been doing this with Snuggle Bug from day one, he's actually well behaved in any store that we go into. The girls are great little shoppers as well! They don't break things, they like to look and touch, but we're careful and so are they. Our favorite place to go is Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts where the kids loves to feel all the different textures of the bolts of fabrics. The varying colors attract them too!
- Cook meals and eat together. It never ceases to amaze me how interested Snuggle Bug is in cooking. Pull a chair up to the counter, tie an apron on him, and give him a mixing spoon, and he's happy as a lark. We try to eat at home often and when we do, we make a point to sit down at the table and eat as a family.
- Read books together. This should be a given, but I'm going to list it anyway. Not a day goes by that we don't read a book to Snuggle Bug and the girls. Despite the fact that he has 3 bookshelves of books all his own in his room, Snuggle Bug also gets more books weekly from the library. He has a huge, stuffed turtle in one corner of his room and that's where he likes to take books and thumb through them. He has books in nearly every room of the house and often brings us books for us to read to him. Snuggle Bug's vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds and I attribute the largest part of that to the time we spend reading with him.
- Go on excursions. We have annual memberships to our local zoo, children's museum, and the botanical gardens. We use those memberships frequently! We also go to parks to feed the ducks or to attend outdoor concerts, school playgrounds to play on the slides, aquariums to pet sea lions, on trails to do some hiking and exploring, and to pet stores to touch lizards, turtles, birds, hamsters, and even snakes. Going to bookstores is a favorite treat as well, even when we don't buy a thing. I find myself looking at our city calendar of events to see what is scheduled each week. This past weekend we attended a local Family Arts Festival that I found listed on the calendar of events.
- Dance, sing, and get dizzy together. Snuggle Bug, Boo, and even Baby Bug loves when we sing together at home or in the car, especially if it involves hand actions (like the Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wheels on the Bus). Most of the time, we sing a cappella and make up the lyrics as we go. As for dancing, he and Boo can shake their bottoms like there's no tomorrow! Oh, and they love when the dance involves jumping, which it nearly always does. Snuggle Bug and Boo get giddy when I make them dizzy by holding their hands and twirling them 'round and 'round in circles until we fall over laughing.
- Have a tickle tumble on the bed. Snuggle Bug, Boo, and Baby Bug love being tickled and our king-sized big bed seems the perfect place on which to roll around and tickle each other. Most of the time, we're still in our pjs and sometimes bopping each other with pillows gets mixed in with the tickles. Laughter swirls high into the air and we take frequent rest breaks where we snuggle together with legs, arms, or fingers, tangled together in a cozy twist. Tickle tumbles are one of my personal favorites!
Relationship building activities that chase away boredom works for me. To find out what works for others, be sure to check out the other links at Shannon's, the creator of Works-For-Me Wednesday!
My past WFMW entries are found here.
Labels: Works-For-Me Wednesday