My goal this year is to simplify my home to be able to focus on my kids more and less time to pick up. I get overwhelmed with all the stuff that collects in our home especially the toys. After a recent vacation, I realized that my son doesn't really care about the abundance of toys and will not resent me for having limited toys. On our week-long trip, he brought only a hand full of little animal figures and a book. Guess what?! He wasn't bored and I wasn't overwhelmed. He loved to swim and play with those few toys way longer because he wasn't overstimulated by all the other stuff. After coming home from our trip I was convinced that I needed to consolidate the toys and try something different. The week away showed me spending time together created more meaningful and positive memories than the overload of toys.
Coming into the gift-giving season of Christmas and birthdays, I wanted to have a list ready for family and friends who want to give a gift. Here is my list of gifts that won't add clutter to your house and can be an outlet for kiddos to expel all their energy.
- Local zoo or aquarium pass. We live near Seattle and have a membership to the Woodland Park Zoo. We get a named membership for myself and a flex pass for my husband when we go as a family. It has been a great activity for both my husband and son for 'daddy dates' or what I call it 'give mama a break time.' Children under 3 are free. The flex pass is also great for grandparents and caretakers.
- Activity gym classes- Gymboree Play & Music, Kindermusik or your local community Center classes are great for kids to learn and socialize. I recently enrolled my son in a parent/toddler gym class at our local recreation center. It gets us out of the house especially on those rainy days and he is learning to follow directions and take turns.
- Swim lessons - Most kids I know love to swim and the ones who don't love it are uncomfortable in the water. Swim lessons are great for an all year round activity.
- Museum pass - I have an art history degree and love museums. There are so many great museums out there that are great for the whole family. Here are a few of my favorites in the Greater Seattle area. Imagine Childrens' Museum - The Flight Museum of Flight - For a complete list of museums in the Greater Seattle Area click HERE.
- Tickets - This category is endless and up to your imagination. Tickets to a movie, concert, play theme park. Get a single visit ticket to the zoo or class instead of a pass. My grandparents are snowbirds and spend their winters in California near Disneyland. All members of the family from my Granddaddy to the littlest cousin love to go to Disneyland and share the magical experience. Making memories together is the best gift.
Bonus: All these gifts create lasting memories. Take a photo during the activity for keepsake and share with the gift-giver!