Today was a MOP’s day for me and Cooper, which always means it’s a fun day! I think I’ve mentioned before that I am involved in Mother’s of Preschoolers, so I’ve probably also mentioned how much I love it.

Their motto or slogan is, “Better Moms make a Better World” and I truely believe it. Especially as I see how much Cooper mirrors all the things he sees others do and as I witness how very easily influenced he can be by his environment, peers, etc. It’s so encouraging to go to this group, get a little break from Cooper (and know he is learning about God in a safe place), and truely fellowship with all kinds of moms in all different places in their life. Each mom has her own story of where she’s been and how that has impacted her to make her the woman she is today; whether that means a woman following Christ in faith, or not, or somewhere in between! We’ve got single moms, old married ladies (he he he he), teen moms, and any other kind of mom you can imagine and it’s so great because we all NEED each other!

Today, I got the chance to learn how to be a better mom by hearing about fun things to do with your kids during the winter/rainy/snowy months. Since I quit my job and moved out to Washington, it’s been a challenge for me to remember that sometimes my day doesn’t need to revolve totally around me and my agenda. I need to MAKE the time to show my son some fun! It will build a strong relationship between us, help me keep life in perspective, and is a great way to build special memories between the two of us (soon to be three of us!).

I don’t want to be a mom caught up in the worries of her day so much so that I miss the beautiful gifts that are in front of me each day. I want to be thankful, grateful and I want to be FUN! So amongst all this mushy stuff, I thought I’d jot down a couple of the fun things our mommy panel and tables discussed today. These are great ideas; I’m so excited about some that Coop and I have already planned to go to the store tomorrow and get supplies to do a few of them. As you read, if you have more to add, leave a comment! (*Some of these are unique to Washington, so St. Louis peeps, just let me know when you are ready to come visit and try this stuff out!)

Favorite Craft Ideas:
     -take some cereal (like Cheerios, etc) and have your kids string it together, then hang it outside for the birds to eat.
     -make ornaments out of clay/playdoh, maybe even give them as gifts. (This was suggested as an idea to do with other moms as a play date so that only 1 house gets messy and there are many hands to help clean up!)
     -make your own napkin rings; cut an empty paper towel rod into segments and decorate for a special occasion (like your Thanksgiving meal!). if you have older kids, you could have them write what they are thankful for on the napkin rings.
     -make placemats; use construction paper as the base, print off leaves or letters and have the kids color and glue them on, then cover the placemat with contact paper for durability.
     -paint the newspaper; pick up some watercolor paints ($1.00!) at WalMart or the like, give your kids some paint brushes and a SMALL cup of water. Cover the table/floor/(whatever makes you feel safe) with newspaper and let them paint on it and color the ads. (Just be careful what the ads are for!)
     -make your own windchimes. Purchase a small terra cotta pot (garden department for $.30), some string and nuts/washers. Have your child paint the terra cotta pot (while it is upside down). When it is dry, feed the string through the drainage hole and afix the nuts/washers to the string (tie some knots).

Favorite Games to Play:
   
-make up your own games!
     -put up a golf course in the living room by using food containers. Take an empty cereal box and open it at both ends as the hole, get a golf ball (or softer ball), use an empty wrapping paper roll as a golf club.
     -scavenger hunt. If you are trying to get something done and need a few minutes, give your kids a bag and send them on the “hunt” (tell them you have a ‘mission’ for them!) for items around the house. (i.e. “find me something blue, something round, something with a bird on it, something with wheels, etc.)
     -follow directions game/simon says (you can mix in counting and spelling skills as you do this game-say jump 10 times and count out loud, spin around and say the alphabet, etc)
     -go fishing! Cut out fish and color them, then place a paperclip or two on them. Get a string and run it through an empty roll of wrapping paper or tape to a yard stick and have a magnet tied/glued/taped to the end of the string. Have your kids see how many “fish” they can catch.
      -bean bag toss. Take a posterboard and divide it into a grid with point values. Take turns trying to score the most points by tossing the bean bag on the posterboard.
      -use pasta and string to make a necklace and teach fine motor skills
      -for older children, help them write a letter to a friend or family member who lives far away
      -have a dance party! get out a sheet or create some kind of boundary for a dance floor, turn some fun music on loud and dance around (great exercise too!)

Fun, Free/Cheap Places to go (indoors) in the WA area:
      -Freighthouse Square in downtown Tacoma has a lego guy who will let your kids play with the legos at tables during the week. If you visit FHS, the parking is free! Also, you can catch the light rail at FHS for free and ride it down Pacific to Hello! Cupcake and grab a treat ($1.30 for a cupcake and 1.00 for a cup of coffee moms!). Then get back on the train and go down the street a bit more to the big toy store (it’s at the end of the street-green and yellow sign) and let the kids play. *This toy store is the ultimate, so be sure and discuss expectations if your kids are weak in the toy department! If it’s not too blustery of a day, the Bridge of Glass is a fun thing to do with your kids too-play “I spy” in the covered walkway.
      -Federal Way has a fun indoor pool with slides, etc and because it is a community pool, you can get in for a really great rate (like $7.00!). Just google Federal Way Community Pools and it should pop up. Be sure to check open swim times though!
      -The Pagoda at Point Defiance Park (it’s on the grounds in the park-not at the zoo-near the rose garden and oriental garden) is open during the day on weekdays. Pack a lunch and enjoy it on a day that’s not too blustery.
     -Borders and Barnes and Noble both offer Story Times on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Check your local branch for more info.

Other Fun Ideas:
      -Have a playdate with friends and have them bring over their stuffed animals for a pretend trip to the zoo! (this could be really fun with some planning moms!) You could make cages out of boxes, have animal crackers for snack and watch something on tv/dvd about animals and then talk about what a zoo does, etc.
      -Do a lunch exchange. Have kids make their own lunch and place it in a brown bag. Go over to a friends house and put all the lunches on the table, mix them up and exchange! (great for practicing compliments, trying new things, etc)
      -Check your local library for story times. Invite friends so that kids can explore some books together. (maybe if the library has several copies of the same book, all the kids can check that book out then read it and talk about it later)
      -After dinner movie time/not-a-sleep-over. Invite a child’s friend(s) over (in their jammies! with pillow/blankie in tow!) and watch a movie together. Pop some popcorn, etc. Then kiddos go home after the movie for bed time!

Ok, that’s what I can remember! If you have a fun idea, leave a comment and share!

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One thought on “Learning to be a Fun Mom…

  1. Baking some cookies for the FOP (is that what you call Father of Preschoolers?) who is at work would make a nice addition to this list!

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