I originally wrote this post for the Forgetful Momma blog, I was going to be a guest blogger while she was on vacation... in the end it never happened but I didn't want to waste it!
Today's post is about entertaining an expat child abroad... how do you do it? Easy, it's just like entertaining a kid in The States, ha-ha! Before our daughter came along we had a crash course in kids with our nieces, so we luckily started learning the ins and outs early. Now that my tot is 3yrs (almost 4, that's important) it takes more & more to keep her entertained. She's used to a fairly full schedule between preschool & swimming lessons, so of course as a fellow SAHM it falls on my shoulders to keep her busy over the 6 week summer break from school. And that I've been doing, even though it means cleaning and exercising (my usual routines) are falling by the wayside.
I first established a base plan, what's free... well, we can swim at the city pool free the entire summer as long as we go on the day she usually has swimming lessons. That's one day of the week booked!
My nieces need a babysitter occasionally throughout the summer since their parents work..., this means entertainment for the kids, the dogs, and it's free. Another day of the week booked!
Due to a good mixture of friends and acquaintances (Dutch & international), it's easy to schedule a play date at one of the many playgrounds. Another day of the week booked!
This means we already have 3 fixed activities, which I find is enough, it leaves us with just enough flexibility for spontaneous plans and yet enough scheduled I have an answer when she starts asking what we're doing next.
With only 2 days to spare (weekend doesn't count because Dad's around and he's entertaining enough) I generally try and find something extra special to do. We have a lot of large indoor/outdoor play centers in the area which she loves. (I'm trying to think of a comparison, maybe Chuck E. Cheese's mixed with McDonald's plus a normal playground thrown in, can you envision it?) I'm known for being frugal so a friend and I are thinking about signing up for a family pass so we can take the kids at a discounted rate for the rest of the year (this means entertainment rain or shine).
Others ideas I have in mind are pretty normal, like any other American, they just happen to be taking place 4,000 miles away! There are zoos & museums, even walks in the woods with our dog, definitely considered the beach for a day or even just an afternoon at a lake, oh yeah, going to the movie's will also take place some time over the next month (her 1st movie theater experience last year was not a success). And when the energy, enthusiasm, and money run low, there's always play time at home, Barbie's or the iPad are high on my tots to-do list.
Now that you know what we're up to this summer, how do you plan on keeping your kids entertained in your neck of the woods?