We went to a park for a picnic with a couple of friends and our 2 kids. It was a really fun day out. Living in Silicon Valley, flying home-built drones and bahn mi sandwiches were on the agenda.
As the afternoon and the conversation went on I found myself sounding like a downer. We were talking about all the fun things we like to do but don’t get to do anymore. Play rock band, play settlers of catan, break out of an escape room, build a drone, go rock climbing… and the list goes on. The friend said “aww you sound so sad” and, defensively, I immediately replied “we still do fun things”. She said “like what?” and this time I had no reply for her.
I’ve been thinking about it since then. I am hopeful that someday we will get to do all those things once again. In the meantime I came up with this list of five things that are MORE fun with small kids:
Making dinner for your family:
Sure you can make elaborate meals for your significant other and enjoy a delicious and sophisticated dinner together. Your partner will say “you’ve really outdone yourself this time!” and you’ll beam from ear to ear. But where is the excitement? Where is the anxiety and anticipation that you feel when, after slaving at the stove, you put your child’s plate in front of her and watch to see if she happens to like chicken today? Where is the high when your child declares that indeed she does like chicken again even though yesterday she did not? The best part of all is the rare occasion on which your child will even thank you, unprompted, for making delicious dinner.
Did you know that when you go to U-Pick fruit places to pick your own fruit, it isn’t any cheaper than buying the fruit in the store? You gotta drive all the way over there and then pay them to do manual labour. And you still gotta pay for the fruit! But you know what makes it more fun? Kids! Seeing your kid running from tree to tree munching on unwashed fruit and god knows what else is a blast! Even more fun if you gotta periodically run up to the tree your kid is currently trying to climb to physically put them back on solid ground. Just make sure you weren’t planning to get anything done during naptime that day because your kid is guaranteed to fall asleep on the drive when you’re 5 minutes away from home. You know, from all the fun!
Going to a nice restaurant for a nice meal is overrated. Family restaurants are much more fun, especially with kids. You get to draw on a placemat that also doubles as a menu. You get to hear about how the mac and cheese here isn’t good because it’s too cheesy. You will get to play an exciting game of hide and seek with the crayon your child keeps dropping under the table. Games and food? Fun!
Family day at the beach:
Going to the beach with kids is a blast. You get to relive your own youth as you build sand castles, bury each other in the sand and show your offspring how to jump over waves as you all squeal in delight. As a bonus, you’ll get lots of exercise chasing your child down to reapply sunscreen as they shriek (with delight? Who knows? I’ll say yes).
I am lucky to be a part of local moms group who occasionally like to go on short hikes with our small kids. I say lucky because hiking with my kids is not something I’d do by myself. But when other moms with preschoolers and babies are willing to give it a try, it seems much more doable. Now picture this: Hiking with two small kids, baby in the ergobaby carrier, preschooler walking and stopping every other step to pick up a rock. You get exercise and it’s adorable seeing your child connecting with nature. Occasionally the preschooler runs up to you to place a couple rocks in the pail you’re carrying. Oh did I forget to mention that bit of fun? You get to hike while literally carrying human on your body and a bucket of rocks in your hands. Just wait until your preschooler tells you she’s tired and demands to be carried as well.