9.04.2007

Killing time with the kids

My best friend Cara (coauthor of our forthcoming book about 2 kids less than 2 years apart) and I were talking about “killing time” with the kids. She explained that since she works part time, she rarely has the problem of having to kill time with her children, who are the same age as Alex and Anna.

She had run into a friend who was killing time in a grocery store, and this concept was completely foreign to her. “Why would you purposely take both your kids to the worst place you could take two kids?” she asked me. I explained to her that the drive to the store, the ride in the car cart, and the prospect of getting some kind of treat and the ride home again could kill a good 45 minutes to an hour.

As a mom who is fully an expert in killing time—yes, we do the important educational trips here and there, but sometimes you have an hour to kill before dinner, nap, bedtime, or in between errands—I have a mental list of places to go during the day which can accommodate both my monkeys and the area of town. How prepared is that?? I can’t admit that they all work 100% of the time, but generally, they are good for the allotted space.

This list, of course, differs by the time of day, attitude of children, day of the week, and area of town.

(In no particular order)
Target: Something for everyone and nine times out of ten I actually need something there. It might involved a bribe during the trip, but sometimes we can make a game of it.

Trader Joes: Again, most of the time I need milk, eggs, bread, etc. Trader Joes is kid friend, with snacks, stickers and balloons. And wine is $3 so, you know. . . .

Any local fountain: My kids are obsessed with fountains. I have scouted them all out to see what food establishments are nearby. Fountains can take us 30 minutes sometimes if they can actually play in/with the water.

Playgrounds: Always an easy time killer. I know which ones are frequented at which times, as well as their shadiness during the day.

Frying Pan Park Farm: I’m not sure of other cities in the country, but we are fortunate enough to live within minutes of a small, working farm. (Actually where Alex went to preschool). There are tons of animals, rocks, a playground, and even a Farmer’s market. Animals always perk the kids up.

Toy stores/book stores: It’s amazing how much time a Thomas the Train table can take. At Barnes and Noble, the train table + a muffin buys me a good half hour.

Local lake: Again, my kids are into water. We can stop off at a nearby lake and play on the boat ramp for quite some time. This is throwing rocks and sticks in or pretending to fish.

Home Depot/Lowes: I hate to even admit this. My kids love to go through home improvement stores. They pick out their favorite paint color and pick up a paint stirrer which doubles as a sword later. Then we move on to appliances, bathrooms, kitchens, lawn mowers, etc. This tends to work better with just one kid, but I’ve been known to take both.

Best Buy: Need I say more. The most horrid store on the planet is a great source of entertainment for my kids.

Nature Walk: We do these closer to home. Walking through our nearby wood, fields, we collect flowers, leaves, sticks, rocks in bags, buckets and pails to bring home and show dad.

1 comment:

Heather Whitman said...

Thanks for the list of ideas. Sometimes the errands you need to run can actually be a lot of fun for the kids. We spent a good amount of time yesterday feeding geese and watching fish. Carter and Hadley had a blast.