Being a stay at home mom does not mean you are exempt from feeling burnt out from your job. Rather, it means you are more in need of a “sick” day than probably 95% of the employed world. God, what I wouldn’t do for sleeping in until 9am, drinking coffee with Bailey’s while lounging in my PJ’s and watching some sort of TLC marathon.
A “sick” day, while heavenly, can only get you so far on the road to job fulfillment. Sometimes you need the help of your coworkers and an exciting new project to get you back on track. My coworkers happen to be other moms, and man oh man, am I eternally indebted to them.
I met most of my mom friends through the Chandler Breastfeeding Support Group, a tale I wrote about here:
It is strange to think our babies are now preschoolers, and this group of women I used to think of as strangers are now some of my closest friends. Last week, I wrote about my in-laws, otherwise known as my babysitters and support system, leaving for six months. I am back to being on my own with two small boys all day, every day. My old tricks of fingerpainting, chalk drawing, and endless trips to the park have ran their course. We needed some fun activities to get us through the day, and I knew just the ladies to ask. I got such wonderful suggestions, I thought I’d post them for other parents who might need a new project at work.
- http://www.playathomemomllc.com/: This website was forwarded to me, and if you get nothing else from this post, this is the one item you need. It has TONS of cool ideas for simple, cheap activities you can do at home. I can’t stop looking at it and wanting to try everything I see.
- Water beads: http://www.walmart.com/ip/FloraCraft-Dehydrated-Water-Beads/17422641
These small beads look dull but offer tons of play opportunities. They start dry, perhaps the size of a lentil. You hydrate them with water, and they get to around the size of a large grape. The are very slippery and fun to touch. You can put them in a bath or just play with them. You can also freeze them for another way to play. The best part is, when they dry out, you just add more water- they can last for months!
3. Colored rice or pasta- My friend found the recipe on playathomemom. You put 1 tablespoon of vinegar, food coloring, and 2 cups of rice in a bag and mix it up until the rice in dyed. Then put the rice on a sheet to dry. If you buy a large bag and split it among friends, you can make a lot of different colors. We put ours in our water table. My boys say it is their restaurant and are constantly making me breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 4. DIY lightboxes- I got all the supplies I needed at the dollar store. A clear plastic container, a touch light, glass gems for floral arrangements, tissue paper. Line the container with tissue paper. Turn it over and put the light underneath. Use the gems to make pictures on top of the container. This is also a fun way to play with the water beads. Best part is, everything stores right inside- easy cleanup. 5. Glow in the dark bath- find submergible LED lights in the floral section of the store. http://www.amazon.com/Submersible-Battery-LED-Lights~WHITE~wedding~tea-Light/dp/B000VUNXEY . The same friend has also let her kid paint the bathtub, making for easy clean up
6. Magnetic stones- I was asking a friend for tips for kids on the airplane. She has a set of these for each member of their family. http://rocktumbler.com/gemstones/lodestone.shtml You can use them to make links, push each others’ stones around the table, and lots of other possibilities.
7. Wikki Stix- Same friend also suggested these for the same purpose. Lots of different ways to play. http://www.amazon.com/Eight-Wikki-Stix-Primary-Colors/dp/B000GL1DJ0/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1366837870&sr=1-1&keywords=wikki+sticks
8. Sensory boxes- these can be just about anything that ignites the senses. Fun to play with different themes for different times of year. My girlfriend just did an Earth day one- she filled it with soil, shovels, seeds, circles to symbolize the world, fake tree and flowers to plant.
9. Bubble tent- This is another playathomemom idea. Plastic sheeting, tape, and a fan. My kids LOVED this. Liam pretty much wants to live in the bubble.
10. Watching airplanes- this is so simple, but fun for kids who love planes. Find a playspot near the airport and just watch the planes fly overhead. You can even do this is a parked car if a good playspot is not available.
11. Public transportation- what kids don’t love trains and buses. Take a trip on the light rail or bus.
12. Recycled rockets- my boys are very into rockets right now. We use the containers from grape tomatoes to make both the rocket “fire” and the launch pad. I love this project, because it requires multiple sessions- we painted them, then decorated the next day, then played with them on the third.
13. Alphabet treasure hunt- We used this idea for Kellen’s birthday, but it was so much fun, we do it all the time. Again- requires multiple sessions. We painted various food containers to serve as the treasure boxes. We decorated them. I filled each box with a surprise based on a letter (B for Beads, etc). I taped a paper letter near each treasure box. They followed the letters to find the surprises.
I thought I would have a really difficult time adjusting to my in-laws absence, but with all these new activities, I can’t wait to get up and play. Thanks to all my girlfriends for all of their project suggestions and constant support. You help me enjoy each day and know I have the best job in the world.