Playgrounds are often a kid’s happy place, right? Well, I think I have to come to terms with it as my happy place, too or maybe I’ll just call it my *top* secret tool in this parenthood game. I’ve accepted the reality that I spend more time there than I spend in the shower these days so might as well make the playground fun.
Our 3-year-old toddler is a bundle of energy and his little tot brother is too. One of the ways I save my sanity is taking them somewhere to expend energy otherwise I spend a lot of time disciplining indoors as they run, jump, crash, and bump into everything.
Especially, since we don’t have a backyard, a playground is a safe way for the boys to get exercise and often times it provides social experiences since they meet new friends as well.
Let me give some examples of how we cope with the limitless energy, this just might make me seem crazy but here it goes…
When we find ourselves on mini road trips (let’s be honest, anything over 20 minutes feels like a road trip) or even more recently, house hunting, as the boys get a bit restless in the car we
bribe entice them with the promise of stopping at a playground (yes, yes, we actually follow through).
Or when we need to go to xyz event and we hope for the kiddos to be semi-calm, let’s go to a playground first.
Oh, you’re inviting my two boys to your daughter’s sweet princess tea party? How sweet. Whelp, guess we need to stop at the playground first.
You get the point, right? We are frequent playground go-ers and I’m sharing some of my tips to keep it fun. :)
Toddler-Approved Playground Fun Tips:
- Some equipment is developmentally appropriate for different age kids. Try to find playgrounds that have the “right size” equipment.
- I try to follow playground rules that they are expected to follow in preschool. I totally learned this from experience since Eli coaxed me into letting him slide on the “BIG” slide and then I found out his teachers don’t let little kids on that slide. Of course, his response, “but mommy lets me do that!” …he’s a little trickster, I tell ya. ;)
- Check the temperature of the equipment. The equipment gets hot, ouch! We try to go in the morning or evenings.
- Be vigilant. Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s tricky but accidents happen quickly. I felt like a ping pong ball last summer helping my toddler while baby-wearing little brother. This summer is FAR more manageable since my toddler is fairly independent and although my little one needs help, big brother is eager to “help”.
- Bring water. After playing, the kiddos get thirsty so I always try to remember to bring drinks (for mama, too).
- Pack snacks. The boys are crazy about their snacks! I love to pack snacks that are packaged for convenience since it’s easy to just toss them in a bag and head out the door. I grab a few of our faves like Gerber® Lil’ Beanies(TM) and then it’s a picnic wherever we go!
- Keep an inexpensive, plastic tablecloth in the trunk that makes impromptu picnics possible and clean-up easy-peasy.
Gerber® Lil’ Beanies(TM) is a nutritious snack that has 2 grams of protein (9% Daily Value) and 1 gram of fiber per serving. So I feel good about giving it to both of my little ones. Lil’ Beanies(TM) are available in White Cheddar and Broccoli (which we purchased) and original!
Lil’ Beanies(TM) are made from navy beans and naturally flavored with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Lil’ Beanies(TM) are baked, not made with genetically engineered ingredients and have a taste that both my boys love!
We found our Gerber® Lil’ Beanies(TM) at our favorite store….Target!
So what’s your best tip for playground fun and what’s your favorite snack to pack?