My son is 14 months old, and I swear is half bat. Whenever I pick him up, he wants to flip backwards and hang upside down. Now, I did create this monster by playing with him that way. He loves rough and tumble play- getting tossed in the air, wrestling, being swung around upside down and right side up, sommersaulting, jumping, climbing, etc. He's getting really heavy for these kind of games, and I worry about the safety issue when he wants to hang upside down in the ergo, even when I'm holding his legs, he has bonked his head on doorways before doing this.
Any reccomndations for a safe way to burn off this kind of energy? We try to get outdoors to run around every day, but it's been an exceptionally foul winter. He's not really old enough for the playground, and I'm wearing out being a human jungle gym!
My two-year-old is the same. Do you have a Gymboree or Little Gym in your area? I enrolled DS in Play & Learn at Gymboree a few months ago, which he really enjoys. He gets to run around and play with kids his own age, plus it's indoors. What's not to like? :-)
He is starting nursery school 3 mornings a week in the fall, so that should be great for him. Once summer starts there's sandbox, the pool, digging holes, visiting, etc. There are several places like that around town, I'll have to check them out. I kind of always thought of them as government germ experiments (LOL), but a couple of extra colds is a small price to pay for a happier baby and happier mom the rest of the time!
Anyway, we also have a tunnel, soft balls, etc. and encourage their use in the house... as far as places to go, see if there are any greenhouses or ecotariums or whatever near you, those are fun places to run around a bit & avoid the horrible weather. I also have a group of friends I regularly get together with, and we each bring a couple toys to an empty room (program room at the library, church basement, whatever you can use) and let the kids go nuts. Also, a lot of malls have indoor play spaces (unfortunately none of the ones closest to me though!)
I am curious why you feel your DS isn't old enough for the playground? My DS has been enjoying it since he was ~8 months old. Obviously we didn't go when it was super crowded and I stayed right behind him so he wouldn't fall or get trampled! But you might give it a try if there are indoor playground near you, and definitely the outdoor ones when the weather improves!!
Oh and as far as paid classes, I can't afford to pay for things like that but I have been able to attend a few free Music Together classes and I think that would be great for getting out energy too, they are very much about letting the kids express themselves however the music moves them.
We run around the ottomen ( or laundry basket, or dining room chair) yelling "Run! Run! Run! Just as fast as you can! You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!!" Just round and around.... and he's usually pretty well worn out by the time he's ready to move on to something else.
I second the mini trampoline idea! (I even use it to get my energy out when we're cooped up in yucky weather!) Also, tunnels and slides are great (those little orange slides with the blue steps). We have a playsilk and I wave it like a bullfighter and DS (and Baby, his teddy bear) run through it and I pull it away just enough so it flutters over his face- he loves it and it really gets him to move without being out of control, your DS may not be quite running yet but the same idea could apply. We pretend we're animals (stomp like a... bear? crawl like a crab, stalk like a cat, you get the idea...) When he gets bigger you could get one of those hanging bars that goes into a doorway.
It's a lot easier now- I remember those days being a lot harder when my DS was younger (he's now 2.5 yrs) Music and dancing are also great. It's almost spring!