I was cleaning out my garage the other day when I came across a little notebook tucked inside the baby jogger. It made me smile and a flood of memories came back to me. It was just used last year when my littlest one was five and still home with me all day. When all three kids were little (sniff, sniff) and I needed some fresh air and exercise I’d head out for a run or walk, or more frequently a run walk. As the kids got bigger it wasn’t as easy to keep them entertained in the stroller so we came up with some fun stroller games that they’d play while I could interact with them in between catching my breath.
The first one was the “Mailbox Game” and we played this in the neighborhood. Every time we passed a mailbox we’d take turns calling out the numbers on the side of the mailbox. We’d even see how far ahead we could read the numbers. I started this game with my kids when they were old enough to recognize numbers and it really helped them learn them quickly, especially those pesky 6’s and 9’s. This kept them entertained for a while and along the way we even had our favorite mailbox’s that we looked forward to seeing each week.
The other game we played in the neighborhood or at the path around the lake was a scavenger hunt kind of game. Just before the run, while I was stretching, I’d think of some things we’d see while we were out and made a list of them. The things we might see could be a dog, a cat, a bird, a truck, a red car. I’d made a little square next to each item and then strapped them in and handed them a crayon and the list. It was their job to find these things and check them off before we were finished. When they were littler I drew pictures (don’t worry if you can’t draw, just remind them that “no, it’s not a cow…..it’s supposed to be a dog”) and as they got older I used a picture with the word next to it. Some of our favorites were someone smiling (what made that fun was that they had to smile at people passing and before long someone would see them and smile back), an American flag and a squirrel in a tree.
When we first started out, I’d let them walk or run beside me for as long as they could just to help them get some exercise. Then, on the cool down at the end, they could get out and run or walk beside me too. And you probably already do this, but I’d also be sure to pack something to drink and a little baggie of Cheerios or raisins.
Get creative and make up whatever you think your child will like. But, if you’d like I made one here for you to print off and enjoy now…..and go enjoy that little one before you’re like me and wish they were still small enough go for walks in the stroller!
Gretchen is a photographer in the Central Florida area. She is happily married to the greatest guy (my mom always says she couldn’t have picked anyone better for her), and have three kids who hold her heart. After graduating from college she entered the Marine Corps and spent five years on active duty as a Communications Officer. After her first son was born, she left active duty and began taking even more pictures than before. After her second son was born she took a photography class at a local college and thus began a love of things behind the lens, mostly faces and feelings. You will find her trying to garden, in the kitchen, with a good book, behind the camera and hanging out with those she’s been blessed to call her family and friends.