Before having my daughter Sydney, Fall simply meant, I got to take out all of my cute boots and start layering my clothing. It also meant the start of pumpkin spiced everything edible! Now with a mobile toddler, for the first time, fall marks an impending winter. While I know that winter is still a couple of months away, the cooling temperatures have me asking myself, what are we going to do to keep from going crazy inside this winter and inspired me to come up with this list.
Local library – The library has always been a place that we’ve been able to seek refuge in cooler temperatures or when it rains. Libraries are also great because they often have baby/toddler themed reading/sing-along sessions. Even if your library doesn’t, if your child is anything like mine, he or she will be happy exploring new books and running around in an open space that’s not home.
Take a class – We, fortunately, live in a time where there are lots of options for classes for babies to take and those classes often cater all the way to the toddler years. The best thing about these classes is that they range from music to reading to gardening to yoga, giving you not only a large variety to choose from but also serve as a great tool for learning what your baby is into and for meeting other moms that are stuck inside the house too.
Play dates or play groups – Playdates have become my new best friend when there is inclement weather and I imagine will become an even bigger part of my life as winter nears. You can go on play dates with friends that you have that are close by that also have kids or you can set up play dates with moms you meet in the classes you take. Sydney is always thrilled to explore new toys so going to someone else’s home yields hours of entertainment as she plays with new toys and having other people in our home is also entertaining for her because she gets to show off her toys to her new friends. Kids also have an incredible knack for regaining interest in their old toys, once someone else takes an interest in them!
Indoor play spaces – Indoor spaces are everywhere and while there are the ones that charge, there are often ones that you can go to for free like at the mall or maybe a local store that caters to children. In my neighborhood, there are two ice cream shops that have play spaces for kids. While the smaller places won’t provide hours of entertainment, they’re often a nice break up in routine when you need a quick outing.
Swimming lessons – If you’ve been thinking about taking swim lessons, winter may be a great time to do so since most swimming pools are inside. In addition to learning how to swim, it’ll give you a fun activity to look forward to once a week.
Bundle up and go outside – I was asking a friend who’s son is a little older than Sydney what they did last winter and her answer to me was to invest in some warm undergarments and on those days when it's not too cold, rough it out and go to the playground. While going to the playground during the summer may be a trip that lasts for hours, a winter playground trip can be quick and easy. If you’re able to do this every now and again, you can save the indoor activities for the days when it is too cold to be outdoors.
Play inside - If it’s absolutely impossible for you to go outside, remember, your house is full of fun activities! You can paint or color or blow bubbles or take a bath during the day instead of at night or make musical instruments with pots and pans. Sydney has a blast now doing things like throwing things in the garbage or laundry hamper for me and there have been days where we’ve made a game out of that.
One of the best things about the baby/toddler age group is that it doesn’t take much to entertain them! They are in exploration mode and most of the time, if something is new or doesn’t happen often, its fun for them. Lastly, whatever you decide to do, remember that your child will have fun because they’re with you.