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4 Ways to Kill Time at the Playground

Hey you, with your face buried in your smart phone, getting carpal tunnel from texting, totally oblivious to your little sand-throwing hellion who’s tearing up the playground. I feel ya.

I live in California where it’s always playground weather, so my toddler and I hit the swings about three times a week—more often than I go to the gym, shtup my fiancé or get a good night’s sleep. Watching my kid climb, slide and initiate playground friendships was adorable the first bazillion times, but then I kind of glazed over. And sure, the obvious answer for bored playground parents is to go digital, but that’s like wearing a sign that says, “I’m not paying attention.” If you don’t want to seem disconnected, even when you are, here are some playground distractions you can get get into inconspicuously:

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1. Style Watch. Channel Joan Rivers and conduct your own mental episode of Fashion Police, nominating the best and worst dressed mamas on the playground. See the mom in yoga pants? As Joan would say, about 20 bitches stole her look, but who wore it best? You can also lay odds on when the dolled-up mom in the stilettos and pencil skirt will topple over. Hours of fun.

2. Ogle the Hot Dads. Locate the most attractive DILFs (Dads I’d Like to…) in the park. Indulge in a little harmless fantasy, possibly involving you two on a swing, naked. If you’re happily married, all the better—your husband will be pleasantly surprised by your lack of headache come bedtime. You may be a mom, but you’re not dead, so put the “date” back in “playdate”! Just stop short of actually exchanging digits, or you’re going to have a daytime drama on your hands.

Plan your next vacation based on the first geography-based name you hear.

3. Squeeze in a Workout. You’re at a playground. You’re wearing sneakers. What’s stopping you from feeling the burn with some jumping jacks or lunges? Just your own motivation, mama. If yoga’s your thing, where better to practice tree pose than in the park? And if your children insist on playing with you, a simple game of tag can easily be transformed into interval training with wind sprints. Your ass will thank you.

RELATED: Parents on the Playground: You're Judging Me, Aren't You?

4. Play the Name Game. We live in troubling times. Almost every child on the playground these days has ridiculous name—except, of course, your kid. Why not get some entertainment out of this tragic trend? Game #1: How many movie characters are represented today? Five points for every Katniss, Anakin or Django. Game #2: Find a child who will take 40 years to grow into his or her absurdly serious name. Oh hello, Imogen! Game #3: Plan your next vacation based on the first geography-based name you hear. Will it be Brooklyn or Memphis for Christmas this year? Oooh Christmas…gotta add that to my future baby name list.

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