Friday, November 25, 2011

Get Up and Get Out!

I make a point to go out on the town and play a few times a week.  I was asked recently to post about how I do it and where I go. 

  • Children can learn so much by going out and seeing things and experimenting.
  • When you and the kids are not in the house, it can't get messed up!
  • It's hard to find time to exercise with little kiddies around, so chances are you'll get more exercise leaving the house than staying home.
  • You model and teach a non-sedentary lifestyle. 
  • I have found that it's easier to get out if I go early.  Our schedule's pretty set after lunch, and nap time can go long, and before I know it, it's time to start dinner.  Right after breakfast is a good time.
  • Keep a diaperbag ready.  When you return from an excursion, load it up with more diapers if needed.
  • Keep diaper changing stuff in the car.  Then, what's stopping you?
  • Don't clean the house first.  Then it'll never happen.  Don't even clean the kitchen.  Throw the dishes in the sink and take off.
  • Empower your kids as early as possible to put on their own shoes, socks, and jackets (know the "jacket trick"?  Put the jacket on the floor, stand facing the hood, put your arms in the sleeves and flip it over your head).  Older kids should be getting ready while you ready the baby.
  • Pack lots of food.  I hate buying food while we're out, and I hate going to all the trouble to go out and just finding I have to go home early because we're hungry.
  • A walk.  The most important thing is to get out.  Plop the babe in the stroller, and walk out the door.  You won't regret it.  Even if it's raining or cold.
  • The park.  Find a new one nearby. 
  • Arboretums or gardens
  • The Zoo
  • A pet store is sometimes as good as a zoo
  • A popular dog park or skate park
  • Museums.  Okay, I'm spoiled living in DC with lots of free, world-class museums, but I bet you have one by you.  Call and ask if they have any days that are discounted or free.
Abraham admiring some Pollock at the National Gallery of Art
  • A farm (to watch animals or pick fruit)
  • A farmers market
  • Children's theater
  • Children's concert or any good outdoor concert
  • Somewhere to watch horses for a while
  • A state park
  • Trains or ferries
  • The Library (we go weekly!)
Our local children's library, the Noyes Library
  • Large machines--take a picnic to somewhere you can watch a bulldozer or tree-lopper
  • Call your local bakery and see if you can take a little tour of the back
  • Bring a book and drop your (potty-trained) toddler off at the IKEA playland!
  • Anywhere you want to go, chances are your child wouldn't mind being for a little while.  Just don't stay still for too long or they'll get anxious.
  • At the Silver Spring Thanksgiving parade
  • A Parade (there are more around than you might think!)
  • Go on a nature walk to collect "nature"
  • Playdates
  • Sign up for emails from your local community calendar or children's community calendar
Happy outings!  What are your favorite spots to hang out? 


  1. Ariel, thank you so much for this inspired entry! I'm always looking for more ideas for getting out, we usually just end up going on the same walk everyday :D These suggestions are invaluable.

  2. Hey who lives in Silver Spring?! Anyway, my fondest memories are of walking with my grandfather. It didn't matter where we were. In town we would walk Around and he would talk about buildings and architecture. We would stop an admire yards. In the country we would identify wild plants and herbs and keep a look out for wildlife. In the city we would stop and talk to vendors and city workers. Just be part of your community!

  3. Where were you when I needed you Ariel? Can I start over?

    I love your zest for life and everything that is possible to do in it!

    Lark and I agree, you and Andrew never seem to run out of energy and are always ready to fit in one more thing, or one more person into your busy life. Lucky boys! Lucky Us!

  4. Great list, Ariel! I used to have a tight schedule that got us out somewhere every weekday morning, even if it was only a store or market some days. You hit most of our favorites. We also like the beach, but we don't get there nearly often enough for it to count.

    This might fall under museums, but L.A. has a great free Science Center that we've also enjoyed and another fun discovery center for kids. You just gotta get some feelers out there to see what's around. I know we haven't even scratched the surface!

    Regarding walks, I LOVE going on toddler walks. These are stroller-free walks around the neighborhood at a very slow pace. It is so much fun to see all the things kids find and see and hear that most adults overlook.

  5. Great suggestions Ariel! I especially like that you don't let housework hold you back (especially because I know it still gets done at your place). Prioritizing exploration and playtime is really important for any childhood. I love those boys!

  6. Thanks for the outing tips! Have you ever taken a tour of the back of a bakery with your boys? I'd be interested to hear how that went! It seems like they have some of the bread making equipment out in the open at Great Harvest; that could be a fun visit.