Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - #17

13 cheap* ways to entertain your toddlers when you live in a small town.

1. Wal-mart - Hey, there's a toy aisle, a fish aisle, some music kiosks, what more could you ask for. This one isn't technically in our town. We have to go about 15 miles to get to any store besides the cafe (see below) and the hardware store.

2. Park - Needs no explanation. In our town we have the "Little Park" (kindergarten playground) the "Medium Park" (the actual town "park") and the "Big Park" (elementary playground). We can only use two of those after 3:00pm and during the summer, for obvious reasons.

3. Grandpa's Farm - Not only are there tractors, cats and dogs, but Grandpa also built a big sandbox with its own kitty proof cover.

4. Shoe Store - Trying cute expensive shoes that you'll (probably) never buy and watching the snooty store owner glance at your kids' Wal-Mart stickers and runny noses; entertainment just doesn't get any better than that.

5. Bookmobile/Library - Our town's too small for a library, so the bookmobile comes every two weeks. They have story-time for the preschoolers and then the kids get new books. It's sort of like our unofficial mommy's meeting place, where we are either embarrassed by our own children, or casting glances of aspersion at the other mommies whose children are throwing tantrums, depending on which day it is. Sometimes we also go to the actual library in a neighboring town.

6. Cafe - The little cafe here in town is really a bit of a joke. I don't think any one owner has stayed for more than a year or two in a very long time. It was almost purchased by someone who would've made a real go of it, but some family crises made them have to turn right around and sell it. We go there for lunch sometimes. If you go there between 10:00am and 11:00am they will refuse to serve anything but drinks or leftover breakfast pastries. They only work when they feel like it.

7. Wal-greens/Drugstore - There's nothing that makes a mommy worry about her children like cruising the aisles of all the medicine they might conceivably need in the next 90 years. There's also a toy aisle and lots of random As Seen On Tv junk.

8. Atwoods/Farm Supply Store - Occasionally there are baby chicks and ducklings and such. Also many tractors and other farm-y things to look at. Mommy gets to pretend she knows how to do things like canning and growing vegetables by staring at those aisles and pretending she knows what's going on.

9. Walking - Yup, sometimes we just walk. To the creek (which is a disgusting brownish-green mess, so we just throw rocks and pine cones in) or to the mailbox or to our new house, which we will be living in, in a couple of months.

10. Visiting other desperate mothers - There are a few of these. We like to go to my Hispanic friend's house, and Mommy practices her Spanish while helping teach Concha English. She's a sweetheart, and comes here a lot, too.

11. Visiting Granny - My husband's maternal grandmother doesn't get out much, so we try to go there when we can. The kids beg for cookies and dig through toys, some of which, I promise you, have been in that cabinet for about 100 years. I'm not kidding.

12. Going to the school - Okay, so not everyone can do this. We go to the high-school for which I am the boy's dorm mommy, because my own mommy is a teacher there. We go visit her at 3:00 and look at all the classroom. Maps and fishes are favorites.

13. Playing in the blobbly - This is also something that we can do as dorm parents. The dorm lobby (or, as Mim says, blobbly) is basically just a big room with couches in it, so the kids keep their trikes and other little vehicles out there. It's great for rainy days.

*Cheap if you have self-control and don't buy extra things. (Unlike myself, basically)

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen


Nancy J. Bond said...

A very entertaining list -- I can see where your little ones would be happy with the activities you've listed. Good idea for TT!

Tink said...

I don't have kids, but your list was fun to read nevertheless. Looks like you have no trouble entertaining the little ones!
My TT is a list of things I do on my computer.

crissybug said...

It looks like you guys have a lot of fun. I have always lived in a huge city...I think that small towns help you get more creative. We might have to try some of these out.

Lady G~ said...

Our children are older now, but when they were younger we had MANY park days. Well, as long as it wasn't too hot. On those says, we would fill up the kiddie pool.

Great list!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I just started the Thirteen Thursday meme. I enjoyed your site. You have some great ideas!
I'm a mother of 8 and I know it can be difficult at times to keep those little ones occupied!

Stop by for a visit if you like!

JAM said...

My first experience with a library was a bookmobile in Ridgecrest, Louisiana when I was five. I thought it was magical. I can still picture the inside of the big bread truck/van type vehicle it was in.

Walmart is always a great place for good prices and people watching. There are some real pieces of work that frequent our WalMart. (Me included) The mullet still lives in WalMart!

Blobby. Good one.

scooper said...

Are the shoe store owners going to start closing for lunch when they see you coming? :)

Robyn Mills said...

Shame about the cafe, but you seem to be able to make the most of what is around you. Not a lot of people can do that, your kids are lucky to have a Mom with that attitude.

Qtpies7 said...

I want to go to the Cafe! LOL I want to WORK at the cafe, hehe!

I grew up in a town that couldn't even keep the postoffice open, the only business that stays is the bar. Even the fire department is not there now.

Shelby said...

me too me too I wanna work and/or just be at the cafe - or the blobbly - if I could just sit there and that's all.

GREAT LIST! Thanks for visiting me earlier... come back anytime :)


Missy said...

I grew up in a town even smaller than that one - in the middle of nowhere. We spent most of the time riding bicycles and hiking through the woods. Fun times and an existence that kids today would find intolerable.

great list

Sanni said...

Well, I confess I don´t have any self-control, either =) ... but I love your list. Will be very helpful because we celebrate our first son´s 1st birthday today. So I´m always in need of tips =)

SusieJ said...

No, no self control here, either. What a great list. I have one to add -- when you're waiting in the doctor's office, pick up a magazine, and imitate the faces in the pictures.