June 2009

Fun with Mommy & Me

When you work full-time (or even part-time), it can be very difficult to incorporate activities that are both fun and educational into your main job—parenting. Sure, you might do a puzzle together while the pasta boils, or doodle together while you’re waiting on the phone with customer service, but planning really creative adventures can sometimes fall by the wayside.

Enter Fun with Mommy & Me. OK, I will be the first to admit that the title is a turnoff. Even though Mommy & Me is a nationally recognized program, this activity book is also great for dads—so fathers of the world, don’t write this one off! Though published eight years ago, this book is choc full of simple but creative, fun and educational activities for busy parents and their kids. I stumbled on it at the library and had to get a copy; there are many used, super cheap ones available.

The Great American Backyard Campout!

We’ve got our hotdogs, buns, and sauce. The graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate are set for some wicked s’mores-making. The tens are ready, the bedding is all here, and we are set for the Great American Backyard Campout this weekend!

Or, we were, until there was a heat advisory issued.

Backyard camping is something free and fun most families can do. It’s a great way to get away from work for a while and play with your kids. You can teach them all about nature and camping at home in a comfortable setting—and if you don’t know much about camping, you can learn together.

But if you’re like me and it’s hot enough to completely melt your s’mores before you roast your marshmallows, you can still have a great camping adventure inside. Here are some tips for having your own indoor campout when Mother Nature has other plans.

Summer Fun on a Budget

This summer there are a lot of families out there looking for things to do with the kids while on a tight budget. I'm always up for a good time with the kids when it's free or reasonably priced. Who isn't? The amount of money you spend doesn't determine how much fun you will have. That's one thing I know for sure. But since most everyone has had to take a financial hit one way or another communities seem to be coming together to make summer fun for kids of all ages at little to no cost at all. You just have to know where to look.

All About Co-Sleepers

I've noticed a few posts on sleep and we all know how important it is to make sure we get enough. But what about when you are trying to get your sleep in and have a newborn as an hourly alarm clock? Work requires that you get good rest but when you add a baby to the mix (especially when you are a nursing mother) it's even more important.

Most parents have baby sleeping in the same room for at least the first few months. While this does make your trip to the baby a lot shorter, you still have to completely wake up to tend to your little one's needs. It is highly not recommended, and for good reason, to not have baby in bed with you. This can end up in ultimately hurting the baby. However, there is a way around it; the co-sleeper. It's like having your newborn's bed in your own.

Recess at Work Day

Every year on June 18, everyone gets a chance to be a kid again—or should! Recess at Work Day is the celebration of teambuilding, company spirit and general fun for at least half an hour. So take a cue from your children and see if your employer will make June 18 Recess at Work Day for your company. Work from home? Be sure to take a half hour of “recess” for yourself.

Below are some ideas for celebrating Recess at Work Day:

Go for a traditional recess. Visit the park and swing with your co-workers. Climb the jungle gym in your suit. Go down the slide—with your arms in the air! Bring a ball and play catch or kickball. Remind yourselves what it was like to see the world through your child’s eyes. Jump rope, play tag, or throw a Frisbee.

Do it the grownup way. Go out for a mid-day happy hour. Have lattes as a group and talk about anything but work.

Celebrate Great Outdoors Month

If you’re a parent who works from home like me, you might worry that you’ve let your kid watch Wall-E one too many times. We sure try to keep them occupied while we work—in my case, I try to get most of my work done at night, and when I have to work during the day I pretty much let my three-year-old make any mess she likes, within reason. But sometimes there’s that unexpected meeting, or that deadline that’s just so close—and boom, there’s the TV being used as a babysitter again.

Since June is Great Outdoors Month, let’s take a break from our keyboards and spreadsheets and take the little tykes outside for a while. Studies show that sticks and rocks are much brainier toys than any old electronic thing you can buy, and with kids spending more and more time on the Internet and playing electronic games, they’re losing out on the value of nature. So this month, why not let them explore it instead? Try…