In March of this year, I became a mother of two. Baby George is now almost six months old and Toddler Teddy is almost two and a half. They are close in age and, for a spell, I juggled and weaved my way through the obstacles of the dreaded ‘two under two’ assault course!
The age gap has (obviously?!) remained the same, and I have had to come up with some idea of how to keep them both entertained whilst still catering to their different needs and wants. Not to mention taking the weather into consideration as well as money and time…. the whole ‘What shall we do today?!’ topic basically takes over my mind of a morning. And, after sitting and staring into space for quite a few of them, I finally got up from the sofa and just got out and tried different places out. And here’s what I have learnt:
Places to Entertain a Toddler and a Newborn on Rainy Days
- Garden Centres. I know they are filled to the brim with older folk who risk tutting at you whilst your toddler has a meltdown over a garden fork. But. There’s always so many interesting things for you to show the little ones ranging from plants, to fish ponds to Wendy Houses. I even found one the other day that has livestock outside to look at! Some sell pets too so its like a free zoo. Result.
- Talking of which, Pets at Home are also a sure winner. Pop in there to take a look at the rabbits and gerbils and don’t pay a penny. I may have had to purchase cat food a couple of times to dissuade a guilty conscience attack, but on the whole it is another free zoo! Sorry Pets At Home.
- Soft Plays and Play groups. I know, so generic and obvious. But, for the sake of letting the toddler run off steam whilst the baby feeds and snoozes then they are definitely worth a look. Plus, of you’re lucky, you may be able to drink a hot cup of tea! Win win.
- Libraries. Gone are the days where you could barely speak above a whisper and there was a rather scary looking broad at the desk with her hair in a tight bun and glasses on a chain perched on her pointy nose. Nowadays, they welcome mums and kids with open arms and can’t be smiley or helpful enough.* Must be all those kindle downloads changing things a bit. Anyway, myself and the boys love stopping in for an hour or so to break up the day, soak up books and then take home our favourites.
* This is just my own view after past experiences in Libraries so am generalising. Just on case anyone comes after me with a pitch fork for mocking librarians. I love them really. Am even friends with one!
- At Home. You don’t have to go out anywhere. Not unless your child is the type that really has to get out of the house and run off steam, or you yourself feel the walls closing in if it gets to 2pm and you still haven’t set a foot outside. I get it, in those cases go for it. Get out. Maybe venture off to one of the places listed above? But if you are only going out because Mummy Guilt Fairy is sat on your shoulder tapping her foot and whispering crap like “You have to go out… they will be bored cooped up in here? You are so selfish for not wanting to face the rain!.” Then tell her to kindly piss off and remember that its ok to stay home. Make dens, play games, paint pictures, bake cakes and (controversially perhaps) watch some telly! Cosy days are only cosy when it is wet and/or cold outside.
- Cafes. Hot chocolates, cakes and lunches. Grab a friend and face it together. You can catch up over the feeding fiasco!
Places to Entertain a Toddler and a Newborn on Dry Days
- Farm parks – find your nearest one, chuck on some old jeans and a t shirt and go have fun. I used to worry about bugs and germs and all sorts but you can always pack the anti bacterial gel, they always have hand washing facilities and the look of joy on your toddler’s face as they race from one pen to the next is priceless. We went to an awesome one recently called Springbarn Farm . It had so much to offer that we didn’t even get round it all on the day that we went. Will definitely be returning.
- Parks. Any size. Anywhere. Any time. If there is a patch of wood chip with a swing or slide on it, we are there. I usually perch on a bench and entertain the baby with a feed whilst his older brother runs around and plays. It’s lonely and boring at times but I busy myself with taking pictures if that sort of mood heads my way. Am relishing it at the moment. In a few years I shall be running around trying to prevent a trip to A&E as they scale the climbing frames!
- Country walks. Makes me sound as if I am referring to a dog but a good run around in nature means an almost fool proof run at bed time. Fresh air and exercise, a Mum’s best friend.
- Seafronts and Piers. More fresh air and lots to see and, if you are bloggy like me, excellent photo opportunities. And if you have a sandy beach then all the better for making sandcastles! If its the summer then you can top up your tan and get ice cream, on a crisp winter’s day you get rosy cheeked and a good excuse to stop for hot chocolates or fish and chips.
- Fly a Kite! We live just by the Sussex Downs and they are amazing for kite flying! You can pretty much guarantee a breeze strong enough to launch a kite into the air and resist the urge to burst into a Mary Poppins Classic. Talking of which….
- Feed the birds! Find a pond full of ducks or a town square full of pigeons and go nuts. Peas are a good idea for ducks as bread is actually bad for their tummies, and if you are at a Garden Centre on a rainy day then pick up a bag of bird feed for pigeons. As for seagulls… well… they’ll eat anything won’t they? With or without you offering. Ha!