This past month I had a rare opportunity to slip into the shoes of “Mr. Mom” (sort of). With the birth of our third, my wife and I decided to divide and conquer. At work, I cashed in all my “chips” and coupled my paternity leave with some vacation time and overdue Comp time and took the entire month off. After breakfast, I would fill a bag with snacks, grab the two oldest boys and go on an “adventure,” leaving her with the newborn so she can feed and bond with him (and rest).
The adventure was anything from going to the beach and making a massive sand castle (on of the advantages to living in LA by the beach) to hitting one of the many area playgrounds or going to the museum. We would be back in the afternoon and they were officially spent for the day. A tired kid is a good thing (an exhausted kid is quite a different thing, as parents know).
So what is there to do for the rest of day, especially when they have built every house and tower with their Legos and colored every page in their coloring book? Like most parents, I turn to the web for ideas, feeding off of the boys current obsessions (firetrucks, race cars, and anything having to do with “good guys” and “bad guys”). For me, the emphasis is on fun and if they go off on a tangent and they’re playing “nice” and having a good time - so be it.
An example of one of these activities is the Firefighter Themed Crafts and Activities, the boys never get sick of this.
The first thing the boys do is don their firefighter helmets and tall rubber boots (pants optional in our household).
If I have the time I scoop up some of their favorite stuffed animals, dolls and action figures and scatter them throughout the yard (i.e. in bushes and trees, on the back deck, etc.), fill some water bottles or turn the hose on (real low) and “alert the firefighters” of various “emergencies.”
When I’m feeling particularly artful, I will draw some fire on the driveway with sidewalk chalk and have them “put it out” with their water bottles or have them navigate through it to rescue their toys (of course having their toys drop and roll and so forth).
When that starts to get tired, we break out the fire trucks (toys) and do miniature rescues with other toys.
Come snack time, I make them a Firefighter Smoothie [generally strawberries, orange juice (fire colors), yogurt, a pinch of ground flax seed and a splash of milk - sorry I don't measure anything], you get the idea.