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Toddler Talk: Fun Nights

A lot of times as parents, we can become overwhelmed with a need to do all the things. With the DIY boom and the Pinterest craze, it seems as though all of our activities must revolve around a supply list. There can be pressure to craft and make and cook and throw elaborate parties, taking step-by-step photos along the way. And while those things aren't all bad, they can consume. Don't get me wrong, I love to craft and cook and throw fun parties, but sometimes, it's the simple stuff that really counts. After a long day of work, I don't always feel up for a trip to the craft store and a huge mess of glitter and hot glue. But at the same time, I don't want to just plop down in front of the television for the rest of the night. If you're looking for a simple night of fun, check out these ideas...

1. Have a family art night

No rules apply to this one. In fact, that is what makes it so much fun. We do this frequently, simply by covering our kitchen table in butcher paper and getting out the art supplies - crayons, markers, magazine scraps - whatever we've got on hand. No directions to follow, no supplies to buy, just good, old-fashioned art in the kitchen.

2. Go on a nature walk

Here's another simple night of quality family time. Take a walk around your neighborhood and pay attention to the small details. Play "I spy" with your kids. Listen to the birds. Talk about what you see around you. You'll be surprised how relaxing a slow walk outside can be!

3. Read

Here's another one that is often overlooked. But reading is so important and can be so much fun. For a simple, yet meaningful night, grab a pile of your kid's favorite books. Create a little reading nook out of pillows and blankets for a special treat. Instead of just reading, think about acting it out or using crazy voices to narrate the stories.

4. Have a movie night

Sure, there are nights when a movie or a show is what everyone needs. But instead of just making it a regular night on the couch, turn it into something fun. Make some popcorn and build a fort to create a memorable night for the entire family.

5. Take it outside

Kids are often excited by things that are out of the ordinary. A simple way to surprise them is to have your evening outside. Eat dinner on a blanket in the backyard. Stare up at the stars and look for constellations. Play with sidewalk chalk and beach balls and bubbles and all the things that kids love. A night outside can be a nice change of pace for everyone.

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