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Question of the Week - Quick Trips Out with the Kids

I hope you all had a good weekend. Here in the US, Monday was Labor Day, so we had a three-day weekend. It was a long weekend. A very long, LONG weekend.

We had just spent 6 weeks on summer break from school, and the first week back to my kids' preschool was only 3 and a half days. And then a three-day weekend. This is probably good for easing the kids back into the routine of school. But for us parents, we are just ready to be back into the school routine and not be so worried about what to do with kids who are getting bored at home.

We had hopes of going to the zoo one day, but I wasn't sure about my knee. I wanted to test my knee out, and I really NEEDED to get out of the house by Sunday afternoon, so we took a walk around the neighborhood. Londo pushed the double stroller on the downhills and uphills, which I found difficult with my knee. We aimed high on where we wanted to go, but my knee fell short. There was no way I was going to be able to make it to the far pond/lake, but I luckily realized in time that I was about as far as I could go and still make it back. So we turned back. No way I was going to make it around the DC zoo, which is all uphill/downhill, depending on where you start.

By Monday afternoon, I was going more stir-crazy than the kids, which is not unusual. I think I do better with the kids when we are out and about. I also think they tend to be better behaved when we are out and about. I got it in my head to go visit the pet store in the shopping center across the street. So after the Pookie's nap, I got their shoes on, got them in the car and headed to the pet store.

I like to call the pet store "the poor man's zoo." Sure the DC zoo is free, but it takes money to Metro down or park the car, and it takes a lot of time and effort to get downtown and around the zoo. But the pet store? It's across the street from us, free to park and has some cool animals to see!

So we went into the pet store and saw: lizards, a snake, a turtle, parakeets, canaries, lots of other birds, hamsters (though they were all sleeping), guinea pigs, chinchillas (CHINCHILLAS! how cool is that?), a rat, lots of cats including kittens, goldfish, catfish and all sorts of other fishes! Plus, there were a couple of dogs that people brought into the store to shop with them.

Oh, it was a lot of fun! The kids enjoyed themselves, and it was just a quick jaunt there and back. We left after the Pookie woke up from his nap and we were back in time to help cook dinner!

This week's question of the week is:
Where do you take the kids when you need to get out of the house for a quick and entertaining trip?

We generally go out for a walk or to the grocery store. We've also gone to home improvement stores and I've taken them to Target quite a bit. Errands with the kids can be fun, and you can get stuff done. But I think the best nearby store to take my kids is definitely the pet store. I even picked up some cat treats while we were there!

Where do you whisk the kids out to when you are desperate to get out? Do you run errands with your kids? Have you discovered a great store to entertain your kids for free? Do you get as stir crazy as I do spending long weekends at home? Or do you prefer to just kick back and let the kids play at home?


Anandi said…
BabyT is entering a more clingy phase lately where she's NOT happy to play by herself. She used to be good for at least 45min - 1 hour stretches at home. I'm hoping it's a passing phase :)

I do save a lot of errands to do with her, because it is actually pretty fun. She's happy to sit in a shopping cart and look around at stuff so we do a lot of Target, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods runs as needed.

However she's no good for clothes shopping (sadly) - she definitely DOES NOT want to sit in her stroller for that long. I guess I understand - that must be pretty boring ;)

Since we're just now getting some decent weather this summer, I try to get us outside when I can - so just trips to different local playgrounds (we have a TON) or the dog park is a good way to break up the day.
Anonymous said…
I've also taken ours to the pet store - although more frequently we go grocery shopping, because the kids usually enjoy it. So much so that when we get home, they'll take their little reusable bags and go "shopping" in the pantry. :)
Cloud said…
Target, with the promise of a pretzel for a snack is a big favorite here.

Also, our neighborhood park, or, if we're feeling a bit more adventurous, a quick trip down to the playground at the bay.

Or we'll go out on a "bike walk"- Pumpkin rides her bike or trike, Petunia walks, pushes a stroller, rides in a stroller, or rides her push bike, and the grown ups do whatever is needed to keep up.
mom2boy said…
We've gone to the pet store for an outing, too. Sometimes they have dog adoption fairs outside, those are fun, too. I remember when quick trips anywhere were torture. Life is really different when your babies aren't babies anymore. I always envied those moms that could take babies in a stroller to a coffee shop and talk while the baby napped or hung out in the stroller. Mine never did that but I can take him now and he'll totally order a smoothie or muffin and hang out with me and people watch and chat.
hush said…
We go to the park, or we go for a family hike. DS is impossible to take to any store - he whines and negotiates nonstop for candy. Drives me absolutely bonkers. I'm jealous of kiddos who can easily be taken shopping!
Jac. said…
Costco - it's the only store around here that has a two-seater at the front of the cart for the kids to ride in, and we cruise the aisles and try out all the food samples. Cheap in theory, expensive in reality because I find it impossible to leave that place without dropping a buck.
Samantha said…
I'd love to hear any good Arlington ideas you have. We trek out to Tyson's corner and go to a lot of parks, but I'm trying to flesh out a list of places to romp when parks are no longer an option due to snow!
Lisa F. said…
also can't handle the shopping trips, but we do MUCH better when we are out & about. at home we butt heads a fair amount, and esp on weekends when dad is added to the dynamic, it gets a bit wonky if we don't have plans. we're walking distance to the library so try to do that sometimes when it's not too dang hot.

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