Monday, January 19, 2015

10 Ideas for Family Time with a Toddler

Jan 2, 2015 photo IMG_4475_zps6567c3ac.jpg 

 We live in a crazy bustling, loud house with these three kids.  They are always up to something, or into something!  Especially the littlest one.  That little 3 year old has more spark and spunk than his Mama can keep up with.  And although he keeps us laughing, sometimes it can be hard to balance his needs with the needs of my 7 and 9 year old.

So the challenge becomes how do you balance family time with older kids and toddlers?

These are just a few ways we're enjoying family time with our little man:

1. Take a walk--When the weather's nice, it's always fun to take a walk before or after dinner.  Taking a walk (or bike ride) around the block is a great way to connect and talk about our day.  And it's fun way to introduce your child to new vocabulary and ideas.

2. Go to the zoo--Who doesn't love going to the zoo?  I know all three of my kids do.  It's fun to walk around looking at all the animals and learning about their habitats.  Can you pick out which one has the craziest face?  Or which one runs the fastest?

3. Go to the park-- We do this often.  It's a great way for the kids to run off some energy.  And it's a great way for the parents to act like kids again.  Take some time to laugh with your kids on the swings.  They'll love it as much as you do.

4. Kick the ball in the backyard--Kick the ball back and forth... play keep away... try to score a goal on Daddy... however you chose to play, there's sure to be plenty of laughter.  Especially if you have a toddler just learning to kick the ball.  :-)

5. Craft Night--It doesn't have to be anything elaborate... making cards for the neighbors, painting pictures, or crafting a family project is a fun way to spend time together and get creative.  And just watch your toddler jump in with both feet.

6. Go for Ice Cream--This one's a favorite.  Going out for ice cream gives each kid a change to pick their favorite.  And while it takes a little more money than ice cream at home, it's fun to watch their personalities come out in what they chose.  It's sure to be a treat that will be remembered.

7. Host a Family Movie Night--We like to host a movie night once a week.  Every Friday night, we pick a movie and pop some popcorn.  It's become one of those constants in our week.

8. Get in the Kitchen--I don't always have time to cook with the kids, but when I do, it's definitely memorable.  Mixing, stirring, cracking eggs, helping measure ingredients... almost dumping in twice as much salt as the recipe calls for.... yep, memories in the making.  :-)

9. Create a family band--I have a video from when the two oldest kids were toddlers.  They created a Two Man Band.  One of the funniest things I've seen.  Since then, all three still love creating music.  With a collection of tambourines, bells, cymbals, and a hand drum, it gives us all a chance to let loose and be creative.

10. Plant something--There's something about getting your hands dirty and watching something grow.  It's a great way for kids to learn about plants, where food comes from, how plants grow, and working together for a bigger project.  For little ones, it's a good idea to include something that grows quickly such as beans or lettuce.  And always include something they can eat!

Looking for ways to creatively spend time together is a constant consideration.  As Noah and Lydia get older and play more sports, spending time together as a family with a toddler becomes more and more important.  These are 10 ideas that are working for us right now and helping us build memories as a family.

How do you create family time with a toddler?

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