This post was developed in partnership with Similac. All opinions are my own. #Go&GrowatWalmart
Earlier this year I put together a list of fun family activities that I hoped to use for family date night at least once a month. We haven't gone through many of our ideas yet, mostly because it's been cold and we've been trying to keep Emmy healthy and warm. Now that the weather is better and we're able to get out more, we've been doing something fun as a family at least once a week. I take the kids on an outing by myself at least once a week as well. No matter what we choose to do for family fun, going out with two young kids is always an adventure.
Have a plan but be flexible
I love to make plans! I may like the planning aspect of events even more than I like carrying out my plans, and I really like to cross things off my to do list or do something fun with my family and friends. Whenever we go out with the kids, I know that we have to be flexible. Weather, tired babies, teething, and so many other factors can alter the plans that we've made.
Be prepared to cut your activity short, change locations, or eat elsewhere depending on your family's needs. For this outing, we ate indoors rather than by the fountains like we'd planned, because it was cold and the weather was looking crummy. We also changed our post dinner activity because Bensen was more interested in exploring than he was in the fun playground I thought he'd want to play on.
Put your phone away
I pull my phone out often on our family date nights, just to capture pictures of the moments we're experiencing and the cute things my kids are doing. My phone immediately goes back in the diaper bag or the stroller and I stay off of social media as much as possible. Joe and I give each other our full attention on date night and during our quality time with each other and we try to do the same when we are with our kids as well.
Bring food and drinks for the kids
Whether or not we plan on being gone during meal time, I always have snacks packed with us when we leave the house. You never know when you're going to need snacks or water, especially when the kids are doing something active or outside where it might be extra warm.
This particular family outing was planned to involve dinner, but I brought food anyway. Bensen is currently teething so I can never depend on him eating what we order, even if it's something that we know he loves. As you can see, he picked his sandwich apart the other night. He enjoyed the cheese, all four pickles, some of the turkey and a few bites of bread. Emmy gnawed on his green pepper after she'd finished her bottle. I like to have something in my bag that I know he'll eat for sure, to supplement the food that he does eat and to add fruits and veggies to his meal, whatever it ends up being.
One of my favorite things to pack are these Go & Grow by Similac Pouches! They are extremely portable, don't need refrigeration before they've been opened and contain a lot of nutrition. Bensen loves these "smoooothies" as he calls them, and he has yet to meet a fruit that he doesn't like, so I know that he'll enjoy whichever flavor I put in front of him.
Go & Grow by Similac Pouches are the only toddler fruit and veggie pouches with OptiGRO. OptiGRO is Similac's brain- and eye-nourishing blend of DHA, Lutein and Vitamin E in forms similar to common foods. These new Go & Grow by Similac Pouches were developed to help babies and toddlers squeeze more fruit and vegetables into their day. Each pouch has 3-4 servings of combined fruits and veggies, or 1/3 the daily recommended servings for your toddler.
Get on their level
Bensen can often be found riding on Joe's shoulders. He sits there while they water the grass seed in our backyard, when we're walking through the store, and on a lot of our outings. It's a great way for Bensen to see things from Joe's perspective and allows Joe to continue a conversation with him and point things out while they're walking. We've also found it helpful to get down next to him and point things out or let him talk to us about what he is seeing.
Both Bensen and Emmy loved watching the fountains from our level. Emmy stared in awe at the water shooting in the air and let out a squeal of delight every time the water sprays would drop back into the water. Bensen sat on Joe's shoulders watching the show and bouncing to the music that played during the mini water shows. I love experiencing the world again for the first time through my children's eyes.
I see so many families out talking, laughing and enjoying their time together. I also see parents who are stressed by every little thing that their kids are doing and aren't able to fully enjoy the outing. We thought Bensen would like to play on the playground or sit by the fountains, but instead, he wanted to run around and look at everything there was to see at the shopping center. Rather than forcing him to come back and do what we had planned, Joe followed him at a distance, keeping him safe but letting him enjoy himself. I stayed by the fountains with Emmy who was having the time of her life sucking on a sugar cookie and watching the water.
These photos were taken yesterday when we went on a spontaneous family date night. I needed to pick something up at one of our favorite local hang outs so we decided to make a night of it. The weather was cooler so the normally busy outdoor areas were almost deserted and we were able to enjoy them without being in the way of others. We had so much fun that we stayed longer than we'd planned and we hope to go back again soon.
You can find Go & Grow by Similac pouches at Walmart, in the baby food aisle. You can also enter to win a $50 Walmart Gift Card on SheSpeaks.com. We purchased one of each flavor, six toddler pouches (12+ months) and two baby pouches (six months and older), and both kids have enjoyed the flavors that they've tasted so far.
Go & Grow by Similac Pouches are Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO, contain no fillers, artificial flavors or colors and are gluten free. The apprpriate amount of Go & Grow by Similac pouches for a toddler is between one to and three pouches, with a daily maximum of three pouches. The appropriate amount of Go & Grow by Similac pouches for a baby is one pouch. Go & Grow by Similac Pouches are not a replacement for healthy eating.
What are some of your favorite activities for family outings and adventures?