My children are still very small, but I love to take them out to new places. I truly believe that kids of all ages should experience lots of different things as often as possible. It’s easy to get into a rut when you have two or more kids under school age. You can end up staying at home with only the TV for company and two children that lack enough stimulation.
It’s also very easy to get out of that rut. There are so many wonderful places and activities you can enjoy as a family, no matter what age the kids are. New sights, sounds and smells offer your children a feast for the senses that helps them to learn new things. All you need is a little planning, some all weather clothing, and a great sense of fun.
Being out and about also creates plenty of conversation between you and the kids. They’ll ask about what they can see and hear. They might even tell you what they think it is that they’re seeing. Kids say the funniest things, so it could be quite an eye-opener for you to hear what they’re thinking. How they interpret the world now is quite unique and creative.
The playpark is certainly a favourite of mine. The trouble is, the whole place is so muddy and wet all the time. It gives us a chance to don our wellies and get mucky for a while. Splashing in puddles is a lot of fun, and I’ve been known to join in once or twice! Waterproof trousers over the top of their regular clothes mean they can still sit on the swing or go down the slide. The best thing is that wellies and waterproofs all hose down clean when we get back home.
Bella donning her all in one waterproof suit in 2014!
Walking may be a little way off for my youngest, but I’m keen to give him all the opportunities he needs to try to stand and have a step. If they see something exciting, they’re more motivated to get to it any way they can. That’s why I like to take them to theme parks. There are lots of toys on stalls, and fun rides, even for the tiny ones. It’s great to see them excited about things.
Perhaps one of the best things about visiting busy places like a theme park is that they can both see how other kids behave. They’ll see how they sit at the table when we eat. And they’ll see how they physically move to play on different rides and things. It’s great for their learning. And with half term coming up, you can find theme park tickets at BlackpoolPleasureBeach.com as well as information about what you’ll find there.
There are some very good children’s museums up and down the country that you could visit and some are free of charge. Not all days out have to be expensive! Most local museums have activities for small children to join in with.
If you don’t have a museum nearby, why not try your local library? There are often readings from authors, and wonderful activities for the little ones. Many act as community centres with regular educational groups for tots and preschoolers. It’s a great way for you to meet other families too.
If you live near canals, the river, or the sea, why not take a water ride? Children love different ways of getting about. There is plenty to see while you cruise along, and the movement of the boat will be a novel experience for the little ones. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about water safety too. You might see some interesting wildlife that you don’t normally see. A home-made picture tick sheet can be a great way to engage your kids in this kind of day out.
Taking quite a long car journey with the kids for your day out can be tough. There are plenty of things you can do to keep them amused and well-behaved as you drive. You can download a few episodes of their favourite educational TV program to watch on an in-car TV screen. Some children enjoy playing counting and letters games on the tablet too. A CD of their favourite nursery rhymes gives them a chance for some singing. And plenty of stops along the way gives them a chance to stretch their legs.
Bella wants to drive Daddy's car!
While you’re out and about, it’s a good idea to tell your kids what they can get up to when you all arrive. But make sure you and your partner have some fun too. Taking turns is a good life lesson for the little ones. First you might do something for one child, and then it will be the other one’s turn. Then it might be time for Mummy to do something she likes. It’s the best way to make sure everyone is happy and included.
Of course, there are plenty of activities you can do indoors on a rainy day. You can try a themed day. Pick a topic like vegetables or transport. Then you can tie in lots of your activities to that theme. For example, you might look at the shapes of lots of vegetables. A carrot is a little like a triangle, and a turnip is like a ball. You could look at the colours too. Eventually, the little ones may even get around to eating a few!
If you picked transport, you might head out and try some of the ones you have access to. The bike, the buggy, the scooter, and the car are usually the most accessible. A trip to an airport or museum may take care of the rest. You can then make shoebox cars for teddies, or even a cardboard box space rocket to play in. A sing-song of ‘Wheels on the Bus’ would also go down well.
Getting out with the family is a great way for you all to spend quality time together. New experiences and lots of new activities help your kids with their development too. Hope you have a great day out :)