Here is a list of a few "aces up my sleeve" for those days when you need something for the kids to do and you are running out of ideas. Some of these things are pretty basic, like the library and the park. We are at the park when it is nice out and the library all the time. (Because, you know, they have books. Lots and lots of books. I love books...) You may already do a lot of these, but some are unique, at least I think so. The best part is that all of them are free (or really, really cheap).
- The Bookstore. Our local bookstore, Joseph Beth Booksellers, is a fantastic place. (What can I say? I am a book lover. I go where the books lead me.) They have a cafe, discount kids books area, and an enormous kids section, complete with a little arena. They also have story time each week and have lots of toys the kids can play with. If you are lucky to live close to a bookstore, chances are they offer the same kind of stuff.
- Tape Town. The picture at the top is of J playing with the Tape Town. (I got this idea from Baby Rabies blog.) Take a roll of painter's tape and make some "streets" on your floor by intersecting lines and making random shapes. The boys love playing with the town. We will put buildings on the roads and drive to each one. So much fun. (If you don't have a roll of painter's tape, they just cost a few bucks. So not free but pretty cheap.)
- Water Cups. (I got this idea from Ain't No Mom Jeans blog.) Take a cookie sheet and put it on your kitchen table. Place a couple of different sized cups full of water on the sheet. Viola! Water cups. Sounds simple but J will play for 20 or 30 minutes at a time. (Oh happy day! This is a lifetime in toddler speak.)
- Skee Ball. (Or for those of you old enough to remember, Bozo's Grand Prize Game.) Take a couple of pots, pans or bowls and place them in ascending order in a straight line. Get a couple of balls together so you can throw them in the pans. Tape a straight line on the floor as the starting line. Then, just toss the balls in the pans. J really likes this game. Here's a picture of him just after a toss.
- Obstacle Course. I have mentioned this one before but it is worth mentioning again. You can do this with anything. Pile up pillows, crawl under tables, run in a circle. The possibilities are endless! This is a good one because it wears the kids out. (It also wears me out but it's worth it.)
- Airplanes. We make paper airplanes and toss them from the upstairs to see how long they fly in the air. (You can do this from up on your couch if you don't have a second floor.) J will usually say we need to have a home for the planes so we end up making a hanger for the planes. Then, we have to do maintenance on the planes and eventually the planes can carry "passengers". This is one I really enjoy because I like to see J's creativity in action.
- Bake Something. (This is fun for J and for me!) He is at the age where he wants to help so I let him help me make cookies. We usually make Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies. He can help measure the dry ingredients and mix the batter. And we both get to eat the finished product! It's a win-win.
What are some things you do with your kids? Do you have any "aces up your sleeve" on those crazy days?