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« Project Mom

What to Do with the Kids when Winter Arrives

By Geniene P. (Contact)


Published November 10, 2008

Gymnastics for Girls & Boys

A few months ago, I saw in the Mahoning Valley Parent magazine a front page ad placed by the Youngstown Gymnastics Center.  At that same time, my 22 month old daughter had begun climbing furniture and jumping all over the place.  The ad was perfectly timed to give me the idea to enroll my daughter into the 2 year old class.  Once a week, she joins 5 other toddlers in learning how to balance on a beam, do somersaults, learn the beginning basics of a cartwheel and climb, climb, climb.  It has been great for her coordination and a good outlet for her energy.  It is a ‘mommy and me’ type class which means I get a workout that day, too (albeit, from trying to corral her into line).  At the beginning, I thought I was the only one with a fidgety, whiny child.  Week after week, my daughter wouldn’t listen, would go AWOL running amok and I would have to leave class for a few minutes while she endulged in wonderful 2 year old schizophrenic behavior.  But after a month of seeing all the other children taking direction and watching our meltdowns (I saw the sympathetic look in the mothers’ eyes),  I had to wonder what was wrong with my child?  I thought all 2 year olds had these moments.   I hate to say it but I’ve now seen more and more meltdowns and moments of going solo behavior from the other kids and I feel gleefully normal.  Is that bad? Now, don’t think I have fantasies of her becoming a Mary Lou Retton (I don’t).  But, it is amazing that the children are learning the basics of gymnastics at this age.  All in all, it’s a great experience if you want to get your child physically active and in a class that isn’t a typical dance class.

The Malls

I live closer to the Southern Park Mall and there you will find, on any given day, mommies and children in play area near the food court.  It is a sanctuary for moms if the weather is bad or if your child is just over shopping as a whole.  Depending on the age of your child, it is best for mother’s to stay close to crawlers or early walkers.  Also, it seems that one can always find that one aggressive child with a parent who is not paying attention in the least bit.  As a result, other moms often have to step in to make sure their children are safe and the solo flying child is not creating too much havoc.  There is an option on the north side of town, too.   The Eastwood Mall has a play area near one end of the mall and a small fish aquarium at the other end making this mall a two-in-one for activities with your child.  From all the advertising of the aquarium prior to its opening, I expected a mini Sea World.  Unfortunately, it is quite smaller than expected and offers a momentary distraction.

The Children’s Museum of Youngstown

I confess to only exploring the foyer of the Children's Museum of the Valley but have heard great things about it from everyone.  I keep forgetting to go there on a rainy day and have every intention to get there this winter. 

When all else fails . . .

Believe it or not, I have been told that PetSmart is a free, great source of entertainment for little ones.  They are fascinated for a good hour by all the fish on display as well as the other pets for sale. 

That is all I have for ideas.  I would love to hear from others what they do to keep their kids entertained (and their sanity intact). :)


Comments

1lucy(123 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Great suggestions, all! The CMV is wonderful. Check it out. I have another suggestion, call me old fashioned, but it is not too cold yet (another 10 or 15 degrees to go) for the kids to play outside. With coats, hats, gloves, scarves, they can still use the bikes and the swingsets and run around the yard. Two year olds obviously can't go out unsupervised, but school age kids can. My whole neighborhood was outside after school today, and they had a blast.

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2tylersclark(182 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Children's Museum of the Valley is a good choice, and I second your shout out to Mall playing areas. Our kids met a friend there that now comes over to our house for play dates.

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3projectgeniene(87 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Lucy - My daughter does hang out outside with my sister during the day but maybe for an hour. By the time I get home at 5:30 p.m., it's almost dark and the temp has dropped. The big challenge is getting my daughter to keep her mittens on. Any advice on that? Or, does it just click when they are 3 that when you keep your gloves on, your hands stay warm.

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4lucy(123 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm laughing because my five-year-old still wants to take her gloves off, and then she wants me to help her put them back on! I wasn't criticizing, honestly, I think you made great suggestions. It's just that some parents seem to think that if it drops below 50, kids can't play outside. They can, and they should. But yeah, after dark and mittenless is obviously another matter altogether. Also, you have a two-year-old, which makes for more hours to fill than with school age kids.

The CMV has a really inexpensive yearly membership rate, and they're pretty liberal with guests. We used to get a membership for Christmas before my kids were school age, and it was one of most well-used gifts (and it's one less piece of plastic in the house, which is always a good thing). Also, if you can't leave the house, a mini trampoline in a low-traffic area like the basement (supervised, of course) is a great energy burner.

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5KLibecco(84 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I have a friend who played football and college, and our common bond was having "grown out" of gymnastics. (We're entirely too small for that silly sport!) But he and I have always agreed that gymnastics did more for us athletically than any other activity we were in. The skills learned in gymnastics lend themselves very well to most sports.

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6projectgeniene(87 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Great advice on the mini trampoline. They use one in her gymnastics class and it is already on our Hanukkah gift list.

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