Crikey, is it me or has autumn come around quickly? One week we were at the beach paddling happily in the shallows and applying Factor 50 as if our lives depended on it, and now here we are holed up at home with the rain trickling down the window panes while my beautiful hanging baskets take a right royal battering by the wind. I can see them now, two bright orange and yellow pendulums swinging about like a pair of Pat Butcher's earrings.
So here it is again, the conundrum of how to keep a toddler occupied when the sky is tumbling down outside. Thankfully, all our groups have started back after the summer so most weekday mornings are filled going to church halls or the local swimming pool, but what to do with the afternoons, or on a day with nothing in the diary?
Painting, stickers, playdough are the obvious choices. Activity Village www.activityvillage.co.uk is a wonderful resource for crafty ideas. Nursery rhymes and making music is good too. Baking flapjacks is great if my little helper is up for some serious oats and honey stirring and we love eating the fruits of our labour. Telly of course is an option, but always with the added guilt that there must be something more inspiring and educational we should be doing instead (although I am in the camp that TV can be both of these).
Playdates with other mums are ideal as you get to put the world to rights over a cuppa while your little ones learn to socialise and share toys (or not).
Soft play centres are an option although the hassle of driving to our closest one and knowing it will be chock-a-block always puts me off a bit (do any of you 30-somethings remember the kids' telly show Chock-A Block? Now that was perfect rainy day entertainment).
So there are my options and they've got to last all winter. Having written them down, the list seems pretty long although when one activity can only last ten minutes before his interest begins to wane, I need all the ideas I can get. Any other suggestions gratefully received. Now where's that cookie cutter?