Locals know that when the thunderous sounds of Sea World’s fireworks cease and LEGOLAND’s Water Park scales back their schedule, it’s officially back-to-school season. And while parents may welcome the change in schedules (and noise!), the parting of an older sibling may be tough on those still at home. Good news: We’ve tracked down 10 ideas to make your tot’s day a big adventure while the older kids are in school.
Get Moving With Stroller Strides or Stroller Warriors
Bikini season might be over, but we can still make strides towards our health and fitness goals. With our littles in tow we’ll have ample opportunity to break in our sneakers and catch some fresh air with these two groups. Stroller Strides charges a nominal fee and departs from many central locations, while Stroller Warriors is a free running club for military spouses that most often sets their wheels in motion aboard Miramar Air Station. The work out part of the activities usually do not extend past an hour and your babes get to play with other stroller tag-a-longs after class. Moms and tots can even participate in Stroller Stride’s weekly Our Village Playgroups. This gives moms another chance to chat with friends while our buddies engage in developmental activities.
Build a Community With MOMS Club- San Diego, Clairemont/Point Loma
An organization like MOMS Club is great to join during the fall because it puts at-home siblings in an environment where friendships are encouraged to grow. Younger siblings might be feeling the pangs of separation from their school going siblings, but their social calendar will soon be filled with a variety of events all month long. In any given week you might find yourselves playing at the bay, meeting at an indoor play center, checking out a museum or having a sit and chat at a member’s home. This is certainly a cure for days of indecision and what’s even more wonderful is not being obligated to attend any set times per month.
Connect In Your Neighborhood Through Parent Connection
Maybe you’re having a tough time meeting other moms with children of a similar age to yours who are still at home. Maybe most of your friends have kids who will also be at school and you’d really like to build a community for your youngest. If you relate to either of these, Parent Connection might be the way to go. These Scripps Health sponsored play groups are organized by age and location, making it easy to pick just what you need. This is a great avenue for your little to develop their own tot squad in their neighborhood. Depending on the playgroup, you might meet on a weekly basis or by whatever schedule that’s been decided upon by your play group captain.
Have Fun at the Library
Hullabaloo always seems to be playing at a library near you and story characters come to life in a manner like never before. But story times aren’t the only things cooking at the more than 30 branch locations in the San Diego area. Many locations let tots practice their Cobbler’s Pose and Warrior I and II, they can read to a furry friend and they can learn to communicate with you through sign. San Diego libraries definitely have a knack for making educational activities intriguing.
photo: Gymboree Play & Music of Clairemont Mesa Facebook page
Play and Learn at Gymboree
Best enjoyed by tykes up to five years of age, this cool hang out spot combines just enough play time and skill building to make it pleasing to both you and your munchkins. These elevated play dates among your early learner and their on the move buds last about 45 minutes. They’ve even expanded their programs by including events like mommy meet-ups, family nights and book signings. Activities are offered on a daily basis and so it’s a snap to plug an age appropriate session into your calendar.
Make use of your passes and enjoy your favorite attractions now that the summer crowds have thinned out. And when you sit down and decide how and when you’re going to use your passes, it’s helpful to know that you don’t have to spend an entire day at your chosen spot. One day you might want to explore the Lost Forest at San Diego Zoo, get wet at Sea Lions LIVE midweek at Sea World and celebrate a Friday at Legoland’s Pirate Shores. Owning a season pass helps take away the guilt of not exploring every last inch of your chosen destination.
Mom and Me Movie Time
Going to the movies no longer has to be shelved and forever replaced by DVDs or onDemand. You can now take your time slurping down an ICEE and munching on popcorn because it’s highly unlikely you’ll receive a disapproving side stare if you attend a mommy matinee. Thanks to select San Diego theaters like Mission Valley Cinemas and Reading Cinemas, crying, diaper changing and elevated voices are expected. These child-centric showtimes take place throughout the week and many amenities like in-house changing tables and stroller parking make movie time such as pleasant experience.
Meet Your Tribe
MOPS, or Mother of Preschoolers, can easily be described as a group of moms who gather once a week for support, conversation and dedicated ‘me’ time. Moms are placed at a table together and might spend time getting crafty or listening to speakers with topics relevant to the status of motherhood. Accompanying tykes get to hang out in the MOPPETS room for a preschool style experience and some chapters even set aside time for weekly for play dates at local parks.
More Mommy and Me
There’s a healthy supply of area movement and music classes if you’ve noticed your little one is pretty hip with rhythms and beats. Businesses like Songbirds Music, Kindermusik and Nightingale Music encourage its students to discover their inner rock star or band mate. The youngest of musicians are introduced to a repertoire that goes far beyond “Patty Cake” and “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.”
And for the newest of moms, Sharp Hospitals and Medical Groups and Scripps Health offer classes like mom and baby yoga and parent support groups. It’s never too early to create lasting bonds for you and your child and so these hospital offered programs are a nudge in the right direction.
Sometimes the most memorable activities are ones that are the most simple. Here are three ideas for simple, yet memorable adventures.
Eat Outdoors- Grab some take out and have a picnic on the grassy part of your front or backyard with use of an outdoor mat, pack a breakfast and stake out a patch of grass at Mission Bay for an outdoor meal after your oldest is dropped off or eat a packed lunch after some play time at Belmont Park.
Take a Walk- Pull your little in a wagon a few times around your neighborhood or leisurely explore a nearby nature trail. If possible, collect some pine cones and leaves to use for fall projects.
Meet a Family Member for Lunch- Spur of the moment lunch dates with dad or a local family member make for a fun addition to the week. If doable, pack a lunch and eat in or around their workplace or pick a nearby restaurant that serves something quick like salads and sandwiches.
How do you entertain your at-home kiddos during back-to-school season? Let us know in the comments below!
— Jeannette Swanson