Saturday, January 12, 2013

Beat the Blues

After Utah's most recent dumping of snow (parts of SLC got 24 inches!!!) and 2 degree (in the daytime) weather, I think it's safe to say we're all in for at least another 2 straight months of pure coldness. I like to keep an open mind come March because March just sounds like spring to me....I also have fond memories of my friends and I taking off layers at the St. Patty's Day Parade in SLC one year because the sun was so brightly shining and surprisingly, there was no snow any longer in sight. Please be one of those years again! But until that lucky month of March rolls around, I thought I'd share just a few fun ways that we've been keeping busy...INDOORS. 

Yes, this is THE busiest time to join a gym but don't forget about your local recreation centers! If classes or weights aren't your thing, they often have indoor tracks (many that allow strollers), perfect for burning some calories, feeling good, all while staying warm.

Red Rover Dog Toy
This toy was a gift for our boys for Christmas and has been such a hit for both our 20 mon. and almost 3 1/2 year old. It involves finding the correct color/letter/shape and interacting with the dog. We especially like that it can be played solo or with a crowd and isn't too annoying (that's a big feature when you suddenly are surrounded by hundreds of children toys with sounds).

LeapFrog Pad 2
This was a gift (very similar to a Kindle, but for kids) from my in-laws for our 3-yr old. Prior to this LeapFrog item, my parents had gifted this Alphabet Explorer, both of which do a great job at teaching letters as well as their sounds. With the Pad 2, we've been really impressed with how long it holds his attention AND how easy it is to use. You can also easily upload new videos, games, stories (comes with a few free ones, then you have to pay for them). Our son was already pretty computer savvy, but it's been really handy to have something portable too. Just today our son pointed to the letter "A" when we were out at a restaurant....we've been practicing our letters recently, but I know these educational tools have really helped reinforce it! 

Many communities offer Kindermusik. Local schools with music programs or your local arts center may also offer drop-in times for children. There could also be a variety of children's choir, private singing/dance lessons offered in your area. My mom has some old cassette tapes that instruct kids to run, skip, hop to fun music so I play those about once a day to help get the wiggles out and keep us all staying upbeat!

Oh, how we love libraries. My kids and I can often be found spending a good chunk of our time in them. A couple of weeks ago I randomly decided to drive us to a library in a different city just to spice things up a bit! It's like 20 minutes completely out of the way, cost $30 for us to get a membership (since it was no longer in the boundaries of our residence), but totally different and fun. In doing so, I found out that they have a small museum attached, so I figured that helped make up for the cost a bit. Many libraries also offer free story times/children's activities so be sure to check out one of their calendars.

Fresh Flowers
I've written before about my LOVE of tulips but the great thing is right now they're in season and only $3.99 for 5 at Smiths Marketplace. I just had to buy a couple bunches earlier this week and boy have they already brought in some life to our otherwise overcast dining area.  

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