Where can we go as a family at night besides shopping? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are a family of 3 - me, DH, and 2yo DD.

There are plenty of places to go during the day - the park, the community playground. We'll start taking her to the library soon, maybe.

But I work until 6pm or so, then we have dinner. Then it's night. If we want to get out of the house, all we can think of to do is go shopping.

This is expensive (we cannot seem to go to Target or whatever without spending $50) and also commercialistic.

On the other hand, I still like it better than sitting around the house ALL the time.

All I can think of besides shopping is eating out (expensive and not fun for toddler), and bowling (we'd be willing to pay for this but not fun for toddler).

Other ideas?

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#2 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 12:03 PM
 
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Going out for ice cream after dinner, cheaper than Target or going out to dinner.

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
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#3 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 12:06 PM
 
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we've been taking DS to the library since before he could walk, he loves picking out his own books, and the children's sections are tolerant of little ones who cannot modulate their tone of voice as well as the rest of us.

As long as we can (until it starts to get dark early) we will continue going to the park after work, it's a great way for us to unwind, one parent goes home and makes dinner and the other takes DS to play.

We generally walk the dog as a family after dinner too, just around the block.

Frankly, weekday evenings that's all about as much excitement as I can take!

Mom to DS 5/05 and DD 9/08
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#4 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 12:08 PM
 
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Does your area have any museums that have one late night a week?

Is the library open late a couple nights a week?

Visit friends who have kids who are night-owls? (Mine would have been conked out by 7 at that age!)

Swimming? Skating?

Go to a field and kick around a ball?
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#5 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 12:32 PM
 
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Swimming!

We go swimming at night quite a lot. There’s a great indoor community pool in our town that stays open until 9 p.m. It’s awesome, because DD loves swimming, and after we’re done DD is sparkly clean, happily worn out, and ready to go to bed. It’s the perfect evening activity for us, and the weather doesn’t affect whether or not we can go since it’s an indoor pool.

Good luck finding something that fits your lifestyle!

"Mama, thank you for my little brother!" DD 7/05 DS 6/09
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#6 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 01:48 PM
 
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We like to take a "flashlight walk" but my youngest is almost 4, and she gets a little scared of the dark.

We've often enjoyed going to one of the large bookstores for coffee and browsing. The kid sections can be fun (some have toy tables or mini stages and a romp area), many also offer storytimes by children book authors. Check their websites.

It's also a good time to go visit someone for an hour

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#7 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 02:17 PM
 
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We live somewhere where shopping after 6 isn't even an option. I'm also a WOHM and get home around the same time as you.

At night, we take walks, work in the garden/yard, do art/crafts, read, play in the kitchen while one parent cooks. Often, we have dinner with friends and their children (in either ours or their homes).

We do a lot of short hikes in the summer, and I imagine we'll play outside in the winter snow. This really depends on where you live, though.

Swimming is a great suggestion! As is the library or book store.

mama to dd 2x Our sweet boy is here! 7/27
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#8 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 02:19 PM
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outside activities are fun if you live in a place where you can safely walk with a kid after dark.

we go into bookstores all the time without buying things. the chain places usually don't mind if you sit with your kids and just read stories to them. it's also good practice for the library because you're expected to be kind of quiet there but the rules are a bit more lax.
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#9 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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The library or a bookshop (particularly those with a built-in cafe!) We have one nearby that closes only at 11 p.m. and it's ideal for that.
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#10 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the suggestions! It's difficult because we all have such different lifestyles, so many things that are perfect for one family are problematic for another. I was intrigued by the suggestion of swimming in an indoor pool, though. Our local college has a pool available for alumni. Unfortunately it's deep (meant for swimming laps), but DD might like it anyway (being held in arms). We can check it out.

I'd still be interested in other suggestions if any mamas have other ideas. For me, anything outside in the dark is not an option because I have serious vision issues. And I'd love to do the library but we're a small town and it closes at 4pm every day (and at noon on Saturdays.. eh... I'm usually not DRESSED by then!). But in any event, all suggestions are welcome, even outside-in-the-dark ones, since maybe other mamas will be interested.

Visiting friends is a good idea... too bad I don't have any!! LOL

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#11 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 05:20 PM
 
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OK, you work late, and you have a 2 y o DD you want to have some quality time with. I get it. But when does your DD get to bed?

This is maybe not what you want to hear, but maybe you could consider having quality time with her in the mornings. Get up an hour earlier, then you can go to the park, playground.... Both of you will feel more alive and refreshed and in a good mood after a nights sleep. And you will have some great quality time with DD, without having to rush.

I am sooooo a night person, and we used to keep DS up late. When we switched to getting him in bed by 8, it meant getting up at 7 (early for me), but it was sooo worth it. He sleeps better now, and gets more sleep, and we have a great morning routine.
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#12 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't want to put my life story in here because it was just supposed to be an idea thread and I didn't think I was the only mama in the world who would like to go out every now and then, and I didn't want to give a bunch of limits. But if I'm going to be criticized for wanting to get out at night, I guess some more information is needed.

DD goes to bed around 11pm or midnight. She's a night person like her daddy, and I'm not, but now I stay up late with her because it's that or struggling with her night after night (I've tried it before).

Getting up an hour earlier would not meet any needs. She wakes up every hour at night to nurse and I've been so drained these last couple of years. Also she does NOT like to get up early. I can't drive, so I would have to wake my husband to take us anywhere, which he would not appreciate after working his night shift.

But in any event, getting up earlier doesn't really meet the need of getting "out" from time to time. DD goes to the park with her daddy every day (at least when it doesn't rain) and I go with them on weekends and sometimes at lunch if I can. I don't feel rushed, and I don't feel like I lack quality time, I don't remember mentioning those. I just want to get out occasionally.

Thanks for the suggestions I received. I shared the swimming idea with DH and he was intrigued. We'll probably go tomorrow night.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#13 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 06:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
We are a family of 3 - me, DH, and 2yo DD.

But I work until 6pm or so, then we have dinner. Then it's night. If we want to get out of the house, all we can think of to do is go shopping.
This kind of describes my situation. I get home from work about 6 and sometimes DH (WAHD to DS) can spend a little time with me and DS if he doesn't have to rush out the door to meet with a client.

I too have a night owl with with an 11:30pm bedtime. (DH lets him take 2 hour power naps during the day : )

But it's HARD when YOU are tired from working all day and you have a wired up little one...I've done all the things PP's suggested (including Walmart, Target)

Barnes and Nobles was a BIG hit with DS at night (think Thomas the Train Table) but turns into a disaster each and every time when it's time to LEAVE...the last time, he screamed nonstop...all the way home...and continued screaming because we had to go home. The store was closing!!!!!

Sorry to vent...

I have another idea, do you have family nearby? How about visiting some relatives (who wouldn't mind the late hour)?

I wish I had relatives nearby who wouldn't mind evening visits to kill time.

Plus, if your child is like mine, she'd fall asleep in the car on the way home and then all you'd have to do is just transfer from Car to Bed.

Oh! I saw on Supernanny...every night at bedtime, a Dad would load up all the kids (3 I think) in the van and just drive around the city until they fell asleep. (unpopular here of course...but an idea no less).

Good luck!!
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#14 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 06:37 PM
 
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Bowling might be more fun for a toddler than you expect (unless you've tried it and she just didn't like it, in that case ignore me )My son has always enjoyed it, he's 3 1/2 now but we took him at that age. Candlepin (little balls) is good for younger, but we can take him 10-pin now and they have kid balls that are about 6 pounds, and he can roll those just fine.
ETA-he also likes some of the simpler arcade games that are usually in a bowling alley.

We are also more night people than mornings, we have made good use of bookstores open late. DS loves the train table, dh and I look at books/magazines, maybe get a snack at the cafe, read to ds.

We've gone to the mall to use the play areas and little rides (those quarter operated things). This is cheap if you can avoid shopping while you're there.

Could you do dinner as an outdoor picnic? That might be a fun change in routine.
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#15 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thomas train at B&N is a great idea! Got the thumbs-up from DH as well.

And yeah, we can try bowling. It was only an assumption that she wasn't old enough to have fun with it yet. Great idea!

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#16 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 07:00 PM
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Putt-putt!
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#17 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 07:00 PM
 
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I was also going to say that bowling at that age is a hoot!! My DD started bowling around 18 months and has a blast.

How about an indoor play area at McDonalds/Burger King? You don't have to eat there, but just go and play. Maybe get a yogurt or ice cream if you feel like you need to buy something.

We also have a Chuck E Cheese that we go to in the evenings. Many times, we eat dinner prior and then just buy $10 worth of tokens which goes a long ways.
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#18 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 07:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Oka-san View Post
Swimming!

We go swimming at night quite a lot. There’s a great indoor community pool in our town that stays open until 9 p.m. It’s awesome, because DD loves swimming, and after we’re done DD is sparkly clean, happily worn out, and ready to go to bed. It’s the perfect evening activity for us, and the weather doesn’t affect whether or not we can go since it’s an indoor pool.

Good luck finding something that fits your lifestyle!
I was going to suggest this, too! Our local rec center is cheap to belong to and offers 'open swim' most nights of the week. Our membership is $50 for the family for the entire year. And they have an indoor pool. And lots of other stuff to do as well. A couple of years ago my then 3 yr. old dd took a pottery class and I just brought ds (then in a sling) along for the ride. It was fun and a lot cheaper than those places that allow you to paint and fire pottery for a lot of money (plus, you make the item as well as paint it and have it fired).
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#19 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 07:45 PM
 
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Yeah Barnes and Noble is great. We've always been night owls and that place saved us many a bored night.

Hmmm, trying to think what we do that's not outside. If you have cool neighbors you could set up light on your porch or something...we used to go outside at midnight and play in the sandbox or swing set. Can you drive at night? Sometimes we take dd to the airport to watch the planes take off. The fire station was cool too...they were usually bored and happy to have a little kid to show off their trucks to.
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#20 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 08:02 PM
 
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We go for a walk for ice cream a few nights a week. Its cheaper than shopping. We also go up to the football field to let dd run around and push a doll in a little stroller around the track. She will be 2 next month. I don't know what we will start doing once it gets cold, though.
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#21 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 08:08 PM
 
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I didn't read the other posts so here is my list of nighttime activites (in and out of the house).

1. Pile all blankets and pillows you can find on the living room floor, make something yummy to eat and watch a movie.

2. Get flashlights and go to the park, backyard, hiking trail or other outdoor space to look for bugs and frogs.

3. Some libraries are open until 9:00 around here.

4. Go for a walk to a coffee shop and just buy a big cookie and a steamed milk to share on the way home.

5. have a nighttime picnic in the backyard with hot chocolate and marshmallows.

6. Arrange an after-dinner playdate for the little ones (bonus is a grownup tea-date for the aldults)

7. Stargazing

8. Try all your favorite daytime places in the evening or at night. Our favorite time to go to the playground is after dinner. It's pretty deserted and the kids have free run of the place. Plus it tires them out for bed.
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#22 of 24 Old 09-11-2007, 08:15 PM
 
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--out to ice cream after dinner--or a smoothie/coffee
--for a walk around the neighborhood, listening for "night sounds" and, generally, thing that are different at night
--library if it's still open (ours is open 2 nights til 8)
--I don't understand why you can't go to the park? Is it locked or otherwise closed at night?
--the beach or a nearby hill/bluff/nature area/whatever
--our Y has family swim til 8 2-3x/week
--do your grocery shopping at night as a family! Let your daughter help pick stuff--even stuff like strawberries or grapes? Yogurt flavors? Rather than do commercialistic, do healthy choices--I see a different, maybe others don't


Our favorite is just taking a neighborhood walk--we don't have to drive, and we see lots of dogs out walking and stuff my guys enjoy.
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#23 of 24 Old 09-12-2007, 03:17 AM
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We are night people and do a lot of the PPs suggestions. A couple of others:

Recently we did the "First Tuesdays" which is gallery openings in town and a live band. Usually the streets are more lit than regular nights, I am not sure how much light is adequate for you. A lot of towns have "first Tuesday" although they aren't always on Tuesday, sometimes Thursday... Oh, and I have a 2 year old who can be told to not touch and she is very good. YMMV.

We go for neighborhood walks.

We go to the mall play area (only, no shopping!) and play there while DH and I chat.

The rec center has some evening classes for WOHP and kids.
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#24 of 24 Old 09-12-2007, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by craftymom View Post
--I don't understand why you can't go to the park? Is it locked or otherwise closed at night?
Because I have serious vision problems and cannot see - at all - at night. So even though DH and DD can go, it would be no fun for me. DH and DD usually go during daylight hours anyway. So I'm personally just looking for "indoor" type activities though people can feel free to suggest fun outdoor activities for anyone else who might enjoy the ideas.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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