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I am feeling stuck in a rutt with my 3 year old... he's bored, and I am anxious. Can you all give me some suggestions on ways to spice things up, enrich both of our experiences, play, etc without having to get new stuff or go long distances? What are some thought-fostering games or activities we can do together in our own home with regular every day stuff? Any suggestions on make believe themes or something to make doing dishes and laundry less HELL for me, and at least pretend exciting for him? Maybe even some suggestions on how to reach out and make more friends (for both of us... new in town!)
 

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I am always looking for new ideas too. I've gotten in the habit on most days to do some kind of organized creative activity with my boys. And, I try to find things that will appeal to both of them. Since one is 7 and the other 2, this can be a challenge! We do fall back on the painting, coloring and play-doh stand-bys, but I have come up with some other things that I think are good for any age.

They both love playing with dry rice. I just pour some in a bowl, give them toy cars, measuring cups, more bowls, spoons, etc. and let them go to town. They both love it.

I have some boards in the garage that I brought upstairs the other day for make-shift balance beams, car ramps, etc. It was so much fun for both of them. My oldest balanced them on pillows and walked across as the boards shook - lol. The little guy liked them on the floor and jumped over them in addition to walking across. They were busy with this for a good 45 minutes and even put on a circus for me - lol! I loved how creative they got!

Pillow forts are a lot of fun, too.

Finger painting with pudding.

Baking and cooking together.

That is all I can think of now. As far as laundry and dishes - these are generally a drag no matter what. My little guy likes to help hang things on the line and put things in the dryer, but other than that, he's not too in to it either. He does like to help with dishes though. I just put a chair in front of the sink and he is quite happy there.

As for getting out and making friends, have you been to your local library? Ours has tons of activities for families. Especially right now with summer reading program stuff. But, during the school year, there are story hours and family movie nights.
 

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Just getting out of the house for walks and making regular trips to playgrounds can be helpful for meeting people. I did a lot of walking when ds was younger which eventually gave me a good sense of which houses had kids in them. Have you checked out the finding your tribe forum to see if any mdc mamas are near you? Some areas have AP meetups. You can look for yahoo groups in your area.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by embers
I am feeling stuck in a rutt with my 3 year old... he's bored, and I am anxious. Can you all give me some suggestions on ways to spice things up, enrich both of our experiences, play, etc without having to get new stuff or go long distances? What are some thought-fostering games or activities we can do together in our own home with regular every day stuff? Any suggestions on make believe themes or something to make doing dishes and laundry less HELL for me, and at least pretend exciting for him? Maybe even some suggestions on how to reach out and make more friends (for both of us... new in town!)
I'm so happy that I'm not the only one! I am just not that good at coming up with Fun Things To Do For Mommy and 3-Year-Old. He hates class type things (like Kindermusik), and we're in a playgroup but the attendance this summer has been abysmal. We drove by a daycare the other day and he wanted to go play with the kids! It broke my heart.

I will be diligently
: !
 

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Do you wash dishes by hand? Your child might like playing in a sink full of water and pretend washing some safe dishes. My daughter went through a phase around 2-3 yrs old where she wanted to constantly stand at the sink on a chair and wash dishes. It was really cute.
I would get other housework done while she stood at the sink playing in the water for long periods of time.

My children both went through phases of helping me load/unload the washer and dryer. My daughter also loves playing with the laundry basket. The really young children are good at helping with chores because they don't realize they are chores yet.

I've even made a game out of vacuuming. I would chase my kids around like it was trying to get them and they would jump and run and scream. It would wear them out for a while.
 

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Let's see these are all things that my kids do or that I do with my kids:

When we do laundry, my kids play the "delivery guy" (you know, like the UPS driver), and I fold the clothes, hand them to them, and they "deliver them" to their drawers. This does require considerable giving up of any order or lack of wrinkles in the drawer. (In fact, I'm not quite sure why I fold, except that I sometimes have hope of getting them in there folded!)

They LOVE to put the soap in the laundry, help me load it, help me transfer the laundry to the dryer (we had tears today because ds went upstairs for something and I transfered all the clothes without him), and then put it in the basket.

I second the letting them "do the dishes" -- my kids at age 2-3 could play in the sink for a LONG time. Get a rubber backed rug for in front of the sink and a couple of "sponge clothes" that absorb a lot for around the edges.

Baking -- you have to be OK with a lot of the dough being eaten, but it's fun, and it's great for teaching basic math skills.

Playdo or silly putty (you can make your own, I'm sure if you google) -- you can play with them for a bit to give them ideas - they can 'bake' or cut things out with cookie cutters. Or make volcanoes or roads.

Go for walks and look for ants, caterpillars, flies. Or leaves. Or sticks of various sizes. Or sprinkler heads (I kid you not, we spent one whole hour looking for sprinkler heads just this week!) Count how many you find - or compare colors, length, size, whatever.

Find a destination that's fun (library, park, woods) that's about a 20 minute walk away. Pack a picnic lunch or snack and eat it there, then walk home.

Our kids get a kick out of just taking the light rail or the bus somewhere, and then back again. Our son (5) has learned to read a map, figure out directions and times because of this.

Turn on the sprinkler and let him run through. Let him play with the height of the sprinkler and see how he likes it.

Put a dishpan or a bucket of water outside and let your son find things in the yard and put them in and see which float, which don't. Give him cups of different sizes, and let him pour back and forth, or scoop out the things that he put it.

Get a small water can and have him help water the plants in the garden, then the grass. You can get a nozzle for the hose and turn it on really low and let him fill his watering can himself.

Get some paint brushes and a bucket of water and let him 'paint' the house or the sidewalk.

Get a spray bottle and a squeegie and let him help 'clean' the windows or the car.

Take a deck of cards and play 'memory' games -- start with 4 pairs (8 cards) and work your way up to more complex sets.

Get some balloons and toss a balloon back and forth across the living room. We have a rug on part of the floor and carpet on part - ds has invented a game where if the balloon lands on the wood, it gets 'stuck' in the mud. You could try hitting it first with one hand, and then another. Or lying on your back and kicking it with feet. Or with your nose. Dd who is two still just gets a thrill out of catching and throwing.

Give him some old magazines and let him cut pictures out that he likes. Then have him tell you a story about one of the pictures and write it down. Then let him draw a picture to illustrate it. (Expect his stories at this age to be pretty 'random'.)

Other themes that our son loves:
Trains - pretend to go somewhere on the train. Use cards, magazine inserts or something like that for tickets (or have him make his own). Have him drive the train and call out the stops. You can set up 2 or three chairs in a row to be the 'train' or do it on the couch.

Bus - see above!

Garbage trucks (our son's long standing passion!) - get some empty waste paper baskets and pretend to drive to different houses and dump them in. If you've got a separate recycling truck in your neighborhood, you can do the same with that only, use small storage bins as the recycling bins. Usually our bed is the "truck", though sometimes it's the couch.

Mail carrier: Give him some envelopes or have him make some 'letters' and then set up a route of 'houses' to deliver it to. You can write letters to be delivered.

Treasure hunt -- hide a toy and then draw a map to find it. (Our son just draws a set of lines - and then he takes a piece of paper and draws a big X on it and puts it right over where the thing is hidden.
). Give him hints and clues as to where it is. Then reverse roles.

If your son is really social, he might be ready for some more organized/regular contact with other kids (i.e. preschool, moms morning out or whatever).
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Twocoolboys
As for getting out and making friends, have you been to your local library? Ours has tons of activities for families. Especially right now with summer reading program stuff. But, during the school year, there are story hours and family movie nights.
We go to the library at least once a week. They have a printed schedule with storytimes and activities. (Not only does this help with boredom, but DS has really improved in his ability to sit and listen to the librarian and participate). Our library, and a lot of kid's re-sale stores, have community calendars geared towards families. Its amazing how many festivals, fairs, etc are going on right now.

BTW, twocoolboys, I LOVE the rice in a bowl idea!! I bet DS would get a real kick out of that, too.
 

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Part of our problem is that we live in Dallas and really can't get outside during the heat of the day. It does cool off around 8-9 PM, but I work evenings and I'm not home at that time. And of course, that's when the mosquitos come out, too.... To make matters worse, the playset that is in our back yard is falling apart, and is too dangerous to climb on. Of course it's also the first thing he goes for when we go outside. My mom really wants to buy a new playset for us and I am all for it!!!!

I wish our playgroup were more organized. It goes well during the fall and spring but during the summer attendance is zero... it's really hard because one time I told DS other kids were coming to play, then no one showed up. I never tell him now if people are coming (or not).

Our local library does have a story time, but DS has never been one for "sit down and listen" types of activities. He only lets me read to him at bedtime otherwise he is just too busy! Likewise for memory games and so forth... he has a really short attention span.
 
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