I'm not in a good place emotionally right now - so let me just preface with that.
I have a 2 yo and a 9 yo. Nine yo NEVER wants to do anything. Two year old has spent 2 straight days watching TV this weekend. Thank god he goes to day care tomorrow and I go to work or I wouldn't know what to do with him.
I really should be able to figure this out on my own, but what should I DO with the kids on the weekends? It's hard for me to think of things to do with both. Even harder to think of free things. Nine yo has LOST $40 worth of library books from school and public library so she's not allowed to take any more out.
I have a DH but he's no help. Just parks kids on front of TV while he watched football.
Do you have a frisbee golf course in your area? They're usually free or cheap, and it could be a fun hobby for your nine year old and a nice walk for the little one. My daughter gets a kick out of it. It's like a hike with a fun activity along the way.
Our mall has a children's play area that's free, and a total life-saver in the colder months.
Hopefully you'll get some other good ideas.
Find a website that deals with the going-ons in your state or town...we have several and in addition to that the park groups have their websites up. There are always free/close to free events going on that both would enjoy (I know my 2 year old loves to do things that our older ones do..) there are museum events that are free, historical farm days, classes or nature walks etc...
I take my two ice skating ( 2.9yr old and 10 yr old). It works a bit better if we invite another 10 year old / friend, more fun for my son (the 10 yr old). (two year old is just learning to skate, so its a bit of work for me, but the fresh air and exercise and concentration/distraction is for good for me - although I wish I could just skate around with my 10 year old.)
This age gap is tricky, I relate. BUT best try to do something. Your 9 year old, I would think, even if he doesn't want to do anything, that you should make plans and do something with them it will be good for you, and then you can all come home a veg out in your own ways ... but feel good about it because of the earlier outing. Bring a friend along for the 9 year old. Museum, winter festival, easy dining place, play area, a walk/hike with the stroller. I tend to try to do something for the three of us, with the promise of a play date for the 10 year old later. Or, the 10 year old can now call up some buddies, meet at the park and play, and then I walk down there with the 2 year old 15 mins later or so.
ANd it is ok to do nothing on the weekend, after working all week. But a bit of an outing is always good for the emotional state. Do little outings with each one, individually; let your husband watch one, and go do an age friendly thing with your son - rebond w/ him and then set up a play date in the afternoon for him, and then come home and then go run an errand or do some age friendly thing with the little one while older one is playing with friend or while your husband watches the him.
Oh, and Chuck E Cheese's is the bomb. It's pretty reasonable if you don't eat there
Baking is a nice child/parent past time too - let the kids crack the eggs and mix and stir and add the ingredients.
Make/Decorate a gingerbread house. (the 10 year old did the building and decorating (w/ my help), the two year old LOVED watching it become a house and she tried sticking candy on it too - i was actually surprised that this occupied both of their interests)
Prepare a crock pot meal together.
(when baking/cooking, I plop the 2 year old on the counter and give her the spoon to stir and add some things. the 10 year old, measures and pours and cuts and stirs)
Right now, seems to be a good time for finding things - check your local paper - art gallery and museums seem to host some kind of festive outing (gingerbread house display, christmas tree decoration show), hit the local craft sales, christmas lights to view, pull the toddler around on a sled (if you have snow), walk through downtown and look at the window displays (or pull kid on sled), get hot chocolate, go to a tree farm and cut the tree down yourself w/ kids, make christmas decorations together (pompoms, string popcorn), craft stores often have a free or cheap craft thing for kids to make, home depot & lowes has workshops for kids - oh look its free "FREE hands-on workshops designed for children ages 5 - 12 offered the 1st Saturday of", sledding.
I have a 3 yr old and 10 yr old and they play kindergarten together. My 10 yr old loves being a teacher to her :p It lasts about an hour before they do something else. They also play with dolls together but mostly do it independently while in the same room. I let my watch t.v. at times (movies) but if the t.v. is off they are more likely to find something to do. They both have great imaginations and will just pick up things and do it. The 3 yr old likes to ride her tricycle in the kitchen and carry stuff around and hang it on the cabinets, etc. I have made playdoh with the children before too, they love that. They are always doing something it seems!
Single (divorced), self-employed working, college student MOM to:
17 yr old
11 yr old
4 yr old