My question is what do you do for fun if you live in a small town?
I stay home with my 2 girls (10 months, and just-turned-3-YO) in a very very small town. I don't always do so great at this either, but here are some activities I tend to fill my days with:
Long exploratory walks in the baby carrier and/or stroller or wagon.
Playing, and maybe even reading some books(!), at the library.
Backyard play time. We got a Little Tikes swing/slide thing for extra entertainment.
Playing in the mud.
Kitchen floor + mixing bowls + water + cups = endless entertainment.
Frequent grocery / farm market trips. Seems silly, but I shop often in small amounts, so I can keep food fresh, and explore local options, and it can be a fun task to do.
Feed the birds/ducks.
Road trips to special "new parks" and the like. 45 minutes doesn't seem crazy to me for a weekday. Not OFTEN, but certainly once a week or so, I could see hopping in the car right after naptime, playing in the city, and letting DS sleep on the way home in the car.
Those are my first thoughts... Hope you find things that are fun for you and for DS!
I don't have too many suggestions for a small town, I live in a relatively big city. I did grow up in a small town though...so I can imagine your struggles. My one suggestion that my friend who has 2 boys told me the other day is if you have a bunch of little toy tractors/wagons to fill them with popcorn kernels for him so scoop and pour etc. Or you can fill a big plastic storage bin with dried beans and let him scoop and pour those. Another activity could be to let him sit on the counter and "wash the dishes." Kids around that age are big on sensory experiences.
I mainly just wanted to encourage you that are in one of the most "boring" stages of stay at home momness I would say from personal experience. Having just once child who is awake most of the day and needs entertained/played with yet he can't really play all that well yet...that's rough and I remember the going out of my mind boringness of some of those winter days stuck inside. It will get better as he gets older. And hopefully it will get warm soon where ever you live and you can spend most of the day outside on bikes and having picnics etc.
DD 10/06 DS 08/08 DD 07/10
You should check out some of the Montessori blogs too. There are so many toddler activities you can do together, and it might help you to think you are "homeschooling" your toddler, rather than just playing. This week I am going to make a laminated photo book (I bought a laminator for $18 at Costco), DD will start beading rings on a string, and we will probably cook in her learning tower. She just helped with the laundry too. It takes longer to do chores with her helping, but I have plenty of hours to use up in my day, and then I can use nap-time to chill out.
If your library has a dedicated kids' section, they are definitely used to loud kids. My daughter's not particularly quiet! And there are tons of fun things to do outside apart from swingsets...
Easel, paper, paint
Flower / plant / bug ID
dance party (boombox or car stereo recommended)
...and so much more! :)
Scotty: We do the sprinkler/toddler pool, sidewalk chalk, playing catch with the dogs, looking at flowers and birds. His most favorite thing right now is the passing airplanes
One suggestions that I've heard. Fill up a tupperware container with little beans and rice. Supply different sized bowls, cups and spoons and let your little one spend time filling up and dumping the cups. It's the same thing you could do with water, but with beans/rice it's not a big wet mess. Just make sure you put something down if you have carpet because it's super hard to get out of the carpet. Here is a good article about keeping toddlers entertained:
I really like Chasing Cheerios. I have a file foder, and I print ideas as I see them, and put then in a sleeve in the folder. When I am lacking inspiration, I go to the file folder during naptime, since the projects sometimes need 5-10 mins prep.
I love all the ideas here. One other things that I'm really learning to do, is to pursue some of my own hobbies even with my toddler (and other kids!) in tow. My toddler will sometimes sit on the couch and "read" her books while I read mine. Or she'll play with the trainset while I do organizing. When I'm working on a craft project it's still a little tricky, but as long as I have enough materials to share she's happy. I haven't yet tried to sew with her around, but intend to give her my button jar and perhaps scraps of fabric. Same with gardening. I'm really early in this process, but am working to reclaim some of my personality outside of mothering. It's definitely helped me with the boredom.
Oh one other thing is that we sometimes just go to a coffee shop. I get her a snack and a bit of water. We sit for a little bit. Then she walks things to the trash (one at a time!), dances to the music for a little while, and will then settle in with a coloring book or lacing toy. We can spend about 40 minutes there just chilling, and more if I'm meeting a friend. It's been a wonderful way for me to get a little bit of grown-up time in in a way that feels good to both of us.
Married to DH since 2006. Adoptive mom to DD1 (June 2002), DS (Jan 2006), and bio mom to DD2 (May 2009).
i didn't read all the posts as my kids need to get to bed. but have you checked littleacornlearning.com ? it's the best toddler/kindy program out there for nature based creative crafts and songs/verses
Ak Hippie mama Yamia DSD '03 DS '07 DS2 '09 & DS3 '12
I know as I have gotten bored my cooking ha gotten more elaborate lol. I make a lot of stuff from scratch, but then I love cooking. I make bread, pasta, vegetables from scratch ( I used to use a lot of frozen ones) and generally more elaborate food. When I lived in a small town (up until three months ago) I made a point to do one thing a day outside the house, something small, like go to the local (amazing!) bakery and get a treat, walk around the park or visit the library. I took a lot of walks too. We also used to spend a lot of time in our yard, playing with sticks, gathering acorns to make acorn flour (a pain in the butt but a lot of fun! this would probably be really fun if you had slightly older kids who enjoyed it) or airing out his bum :)
I nanny, and it was a hard adjustment. We have 3 days a week with no car seats for the babies, so we're home. We hang out in the morning. After we do an activity, we play more, and then do another fun activity.
When I see them getting stir crazy, I ask the baby to go get everyone's shoes, and we go for a walk.
We like to do marble painting (roll a marble in paint on a cookie sheet with paper on the bottom of it), we love bubbles and getting all soapy.
They enjoy 'washing' the dishes and playing in the kitchen sink, we bake at least once a week.
Coloring eggs, or really putting food coloring in any food makes for fun times.
Checking out craft books or game books at the library is fun to do.
Maybe go to a thirft store and get your little guy some stuff to play dress up with, that might be way fun.
Build a sand box (you can do that for fairly cheap).
Side walk chalk is super fun. Teach him hop scotch. Trace his body and have him color it in.
Let him play photographer one day (give him a camera or your phones camera to take pictures with on a walk or at the store).
Hope that helps some!
DP to Sara, two crazy kids running around, lil dude born 11-1-11 and the new guy is home !! (5/2/12)