- Join a playgroup. I found one with kids T's age that meets once per week. Check out Meetup or Craig's List for possible groups to join. I ultimately joined my local Mom's Club- they have chapters world wide, so you may be able to find one in your neck of the woods too. Pay attention to what the club asks of you before joining- you want them to screen you pretty carefully before giving out too much information. The playgroup that I joined would only let me visit their group when they were meeting in a public location- never in a member's home. Another group mandated that I provide a photo, complete a questionaire about myself and provide a phone number for verification purposes. If they are careful about screening you, you know that your information is safe with them.
- Go to the Park. The first time I took T to the park, it was out of sheer desperation. I HAD to get out of the house. I wasn't sure if there would be anything there that he would enjoy, but I figured we had nothing to loose. He had no interest in swinging in the baby swings, but loved standing on my lap while we swung (swang??) in the big swings. I also took him down the slide and walked him around the big kid play equipment. It was great for us both to get some fresh air and get out of the house!
- Play at the Mall- no shopping allowed! I'm kind of surprised that I can handle this one, but one of my favorite places to take T is the mall play area. We are in HOT HOT HOT Florida, so any place that he can play that is air conditioned is a huge hit! There are five malls within a resonable drive of the house and they all have play areas- nothing too exciting, but padded floors that are easy on little feet and climbing toys! My little guy loves to walk around and I can help him do this in the play area. He loves to watch the bigger kids and I'm careful to make sure that they don't run him over. This is a great way to meet other moms too! The biggest thing here is to make sure that you don't blow your budget by going to the mall. I know where each of the play areas is located and make sure that I park nearest to them as possible so that I don't wander through the mall. I find it difficult to shop with T in tow, so this one is okay for me.
- Read at the Library. Another air conditioned place to play! The library not far from our house is pretty new. When they designed the kids' area, the put in a huge place for little ones to play with a train table, soft cushions and even a grocery store complete with register and carts. It's the perfect place to hang out! They also offer a story time for little ones under 18 months. They keep it short, play some music and completely understand when the attendees show more interest in eating the carpet than paying attention! If your library doesn't offer something like this, take it upon yourself to see if they'll let you lead your own. Post signs and soon you'll have your own story time to attend! Also, there are several libraries in our area, all with their own story times, so we have Mondays and Tuesdays covered with different libraries and could probably add some other days too!
- Splash at the community pool. I am amazed how much my little guy enjoys getting in the pool. He is completely fearless and will put his own face in the water and comes up laughing! If you can find a swimming class for the little ones, this can be a great way to meet other moms. If not, just hanging out at the local pool is a great way to beat the heat and tire out your kiddos.
What are your favorite outings with your little ones?
(This post was something I've been wanting to write for a bit, but also inspired by Simple Mom who blogged yesterday about 7 Ways to Find Motivation at Home. Great article- check it out!)