When one has a child, it is necessary to give up certain things. It’s easy to sit around missing the good old days when one could just run out of the house and not come home until sunrise. My husband and I loved going out. We’d eat out all of the time, jump the train to the city and walk for hours.
When we decided to have children, we felt we’d had enough fun to not miss our independence too much and were ready to settle down and be boring. I definitely missed the spontaneous trips and time with friends between my exhaustion, but the things I missed were quickly replaced by something unexpected once my baby entered the world of toddler life. I was prepared to give up things I’d become accustomed to as an adult, but I never thought I would be gaining a time warp back to childhood. Being a parent to a toddler is a license to be a kid all over again, and I unabashedly have jumped in with both feet.
Awesome Toddler Activities to Unleash Your Inner Child
- The playground. I thought dragging my kid to the playground would be annoying. I pictured my kid having a blast and getting filthy while I sat there thinking of all the horrible crap I’d have to do once we returned home (bath, laundry, naptime rituals ETC). I am happy to report that this is not the case. I jumped on the swing next to my kid and remembered why I loved it so much to begin with. I climbed after her up the fake rock mountain and flew down the slide next to her, laughing all the way down. Sure, some of the other moms are chilling out, looking at their phones, bored, and yes, there are times I am definitely one of them. But hell, when that ice cream truck pulls into the playground it’s me telling my kid, “Hey! Let’s go get ice cream!” After all, it’s for her, right?!
- Skyzone. When I realized my child was old enough to go to the trampoline park, I could hardly contain myself. She loves it. I love watching her smile, but what I love more: bouncing around like an idiot the entire time with her and diving into the foam pit. Its freaking awesome! I get exercise. I get to jump around because, hey, I’m just a parent jumping with their child to make sure she doesn’t get injured. And maybe we will stop at the Hurricane Simulator afterwards, because SHE loves it so much.
- The mall: You’ve all seen them. Those Animals? The little motorized unicorns and ponies you can ride around on through the mall? And the carousel too. I couldn’t get the money out fast enough so we could ride our very own purple unicorn next to The Gap and Claire’s Boutique while people stopped and laughed at us. My daughter had a gigantic smile on her face and so did I. Who doesn’t dream of riding around on a unicorn during a shopping trip? Or for that matter, going for a quick spin on the carousel before leaving. Too fun.
- Sprinkler parks: Last summer we discovered the sprinkler park as my daughter had finally started walking, and I think we hit that place up about three days a week. Not only is it a fabulous way to cool off, but as a parent, you must keep a watch on your child. Therefore, you must run through the water spraying fun and get a generous spritz to kill the heat. Bring some squirt guns or water balloons, and it’s an all-out party! It’s also fantastic because once I get home my child is so exhausted that she takes an immediate nap, allowing me some time for coffee and binging episodes of Mad Men.
- Halloween. By far my absolute favorite holiday, so I can say without embarrassment that when I saw my neighbor dressed up as Elsa, to match her son who was dressed as Olaf, that I realized my days of Halloween are far from over. I actually get to dress up every year and trick or treat all over again until my daughter has to hang up her pumpkin basket at the beginning of high school. Sure, she may be embarrassed of me once middle school comes around, but at least I’ll still be able to scarf half the candy she hauls home after her rounds in our condo complex. I don’t mind the extra Halloween decorations either, you know, because the KIDS love them.
- Beaches. My husband won a trip to Beaches Turks and Caicos, and boy is that resort just filled of childhood magic. Sesame Street characters walk around taking photos with everyone. There are dance parties, birthday parties with the characters a few days a week, in addition to various fun places to eat, waterparks, variety shows. We enjoyed them every bit as much as our child did. I’ve been to Sandals. I loved it, but Beaches, which is the family version of Sandals, is the Best. The whimsical nature of the resort gave me the full feeling of what it is to be a kid in a new and exciting place surrounded by, well, happiness.
I know that this is only the beginning. Soon my daughter will be old enough to take to the amusement parks, so we can go on all the roller coasters, huge water slides and spinning rides that make my husband want to vomit. We will be able to go to hilarious movies, The Gazillion Bubble Show and the Circus. So, while pieces of my independent adult life fade into the past, I can be happy knowing that it’s being replaced by a second childhood. Sure, I will be standing on the sidelines for some of it: cleaning off skinned knees, sewing the Halloween costumes, providing general parental supervision, but hey, someone has to be the adult sometimes. Just not all the time.