We asked Christie Mellor, author of The Three-Martini Playdate and the new Fun Without Dick and Jane, to suggest an activity for rookie moms. Put the fun back in some of your routine outings by “going hunting” with your toddler or preschooler. Here’s how:
You want to spend a nice morning with your baby, but you need to sneak in a few errands too? It’s time to go hunting! Going Hunting is much easier if you can walk, so choose a few errands that are in walking distance of your house or apartment, if possible. Insert baby into a sling or front carrier — or a stroller if it’s easier — and head out.
Describe to your child in enthusiastic tones that you are Going Hunting, and as you start down the street, tell your child that you are hunting for… Buses!! When you see your first bus, point to the bus while exclaiming excitedly that you found a bus. A bus! Get them all hopped up about the bus. Bus! Bus! Dang, a bus! Big bus! Yay, for the brave bus!
Repeat the exercise with the next bus you see, until you notice your child making similarly rowdy noises the moment he spots a bus. Jeez, it’s a bus! Can you believe it? It’s a freakin’ bus, did you see the size of that thing? Whoa! That is some bus. Bus! You may hear only squeals and gurgles, but trust me, your child is simply astounded at the bus he has spotted.
So you head to your little neighborhood park, and announce that you are hunting for…squirrels. Squirrels! Holy cow, check out that furry squirrel! Park benches, ducks, trees, pigeons, you can go hunting for anything that you know you will be seeing a lot of. If you’re on a city street, you might hunt for red cars, or tow trucks, garbage trucks, more pigeons.
Eventually, you may need your child to enthusiastically help you track down a grocery store, so that you can pick up a few necessary items, and of course after all that excitement you may need help hunting down a nice cup of coffee for yourself (and maybe an apple juice or a biscuit for your hunting buddy.) Happy Hunting!
Thanks to Christie for sharing her activity with us. Find out more about what Christie is up to on ChristieMellor.com, pre-order her new book on Amazon, or read my enthusiastic sleep-deprived book review of her last book (when Milo was a newborn).
[Photo by John ‘K’ via flickr]