1. Tag (Wild Thing, 2, loves it when I say "I'm gonna get you" and chase him around the house. Now that we have the baby, I often carry the baby with me and we both chase Wild Thing).
2. Hide and Seek -- Wild Thing's favorite way to do this is for him to hide behind the curtain and for me to say "Where's Wild Thing?" and act completely shocked when he jumps out from behind the curtain.
3. Tickle Contest -- self-explanatory. I tickle him. He tickles me. We both laugh our heads off.
4. Make the Bed -- My mom did this to me when I was a kid, and I loved it!! She would make the bed on top of me and then push, gently, on me and complain about not being able to get the "lumps" out of the bed. (This also works with a blanket on the couch).
5. I Spy -- we all know this one. Now that Wild Thing is over 2 and his language is developing, this game has become more and more interesting and fun for him. (We do a simplified version where I say what I see and he points to it, so I actually say the name of the object instead of describing it).
6. Airplane -- There are several variations, but lift up your child and let them fly (bench press style works. Tummy on the feet is also popular. This activity is also a great workout for mom.)
The two blurry photos are ones Wild Thing took with his Fisher-Price cam
so you can see airplane from his point of view.
7. Choo-Choo or Horsey -- Wild Thing sits on my lap or legs and I bounce him up and down as he makes horse sounds or I move him side to side as he makes choo choo sounds. (Often the baby is also on my lap. Fun for everyone).
8. Choo-Choo #2 -- Lately Wild Thing likes to sit in an empty box and be pushed around like a choo-choo. I'm trying to get him to push his stuffed animals around when I get tired, but haven't succeeded yet.
9. Dance Party -- put on some tunes and dance with your child. Don't think about it just move, move, move.
10. Sing -- Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes is a favorite. The Winnie-the-Pooh song is also a favorite, as is a body part song I made up when Wild Thing was 3 months old. He still loves it. Lately, he also loves making up his own songs and having me ask him to sing to the baby.
I think it's important to remember that it doesn't taken money or toys to engage our children (and to help them grow, develop and learn). It's also important for adults to remember that we don't need all of our gadgets all the time either. What I like best about these 10 activities is not that they cost nothing, but that they require me to log off and get engaged with my little guy.