Taking kids of multiple ages to activities can be daunting. I still remember how stressed I would get when I had 3 little ones to supervise and manage while taking my oldest son to an activity. I always felt like I couldn’t relax and just enjoy the time with my kids.
Handling Activities During the Summer with Kids of Multiple Ages
When my 5 kids were much younger, I had my oldest son who is seven years older than the other kids along with several little ones. During the summer, I struggled with finding stuff to do that didn’t affect the little ones’ nap schedules or their mealtimes. I ended up doing only a few activities and being very particular about what we would do.
Week-long All-Day Camps
Week-long day camps were a good choice. I prefer to ones that ran from 9:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. I could drop my oldest son off in the morning do our regular routine at home and come back at 3 o’clock to pick him up. I would have enough time before dinner to do a few things and get dinner ready. If the camp ran later, I would start dinner earlier in the day to keep the dinner preparation time as stress free as possible.
If we did library programs, I would pick a library where there were some space for the younger kids to hang out during the program for my oldest son. Being there for a program was also a good time to grab some books to read at home.
Smaller Museums with Discovery Rooms
Smaller museums worked well as a day trip. I would pick one about 30 to 45 minutes from home and schedule the drive after the rush hour in the morning. We would usually head home after lunch. I would always bring lots of food for lunch and snacks because my family traveled and still travels on its stomach.
I found the smaller museums tended to be quieter and less crowded. Parking was much easier, especially at museums in the suburbs. While I always worried about my kids’ safety in parking lots, I worried less about purse snatchers or my kids wandering off into the street.
Museums that had lunch rooms and discovery rooms worked well. We could eat lunch sitting down instead of in my car. While in the activity room, I could sit for a few moments and relax while my kids were near me playing.
Parks and Playgrounds
Nature walks were always a great way to get my 5 kids outside. I would pop the youngest one in the jogging stroller, pack a bunch of snacks, and have everyone carry their own water bottle. We would go early in the day before it got hot, but after the dew dried on the grass to keep everyone from getting wet.
Depending on the type of playground, they can be a great resource for a mom with several little ones or a nightmare. I still remember the stress of losing 2 of my kids at a local playground a year ago. The playground was crowded because of an event and spread out over a large area. My daughter decided to take her younger brother to a new spot while I was watching them and watching my other 2 kids on another part of the playground.
I think the best playgrounds are smaller and less crowded, preferably with shade. If you can park near the playground, you can do a quick diaper change in the car if necessary without worrying about the kids.