play dates for big kids

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we have lots of fun things to do with our little ones here in san luis obispo, ca.  the children’s museum, tons of parks and playgrounds, wednesday music time at boo boo records… just to name a few.  we took full advantage of these places when our kids were little, but somehow, SOMEHOW they got bigger!  and totally disobeyed me, because i told them to not get bigger.

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having big kids (11, 9 & 7) is super fun.  i’m out of the life saving stage and we can just go places easier (no potty training, strollers, naps to get home for).  while i so loved the infant and toddler stage (well, not all of the toddler stage), having kids in this sweet spot is awesome.  but finding fun things for them to do is a little harder around town.  well, not harder so much, just different than before.  getting out of the house to play looks a little different than it did 5 years ago.

i love featuring local spots and i’ve teamed up with Gymboree to share with you my favorite local playdate spots!  Gymboree believes that kids shouldn’t grow up too fast and there’s no better way than through play!  Gymboree has launched a playdate guide on Pinterest – the ultimate resource for parents – where you can search for your city and get recommendations of ideas for playdate spots for your family!

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i always think my kids would feel too old for a playground, but every time we get near one, they prove me wrong.  we have lots of great parks in SLO, but one of our favorites is Cuesta Park.  its close to our home and has lots of fun things to do beyond just the playground.  it is a great location for birthday parties or large gatherings – it has a HUGE grass field and lots of picnic tables – even event areas you can reserve if you’re fancy like that.  it also has a creek running through it which, get this, actually has water in it!  (for you non-californians, we’ve been in a severe drought.  water sightings can be rare.)  the kids love to run along the bridges and the creek bed.  there are trails all around and its nice and clean.

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ever since the kids were toddling around, we’ve gone down to the creek downtown.  when they were bitty, they would stand at the water’s edge and throw pebbles as far across as they could.  well, thats not much of a challenge to them at all anymore, but they still love to walk along the water’s edge and hop across the boulders to the other side.  as soon as we hop the creek, we generally walk over to the mission plaza and toss our pennies into the fountain there.  one boy may or may not climb on the sculptures there.  every.  single.  time.  the plaza hosts family friendly events frequently and in the summer there are free concerts!

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another must-stop spot is bubblegum alley.  its definitely a tourist draw, but my kids love it too.  i personally am grossed out by it, but i’m a giver ;)  be sure to get the good hubba bubba bubble gum rather than cheaping out with the sugar free stuff you have in your purse (like me).  they only chew it for a few minutes (the outtakes from gum chewing are pretty hilarious!) then stick their giant saliva filled globs on the wall to make their mark.

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we have always loved walking downtown as a family.  its a quick 1-mile walk from our house and we do it pretty often.  we almost always go to yogurt creations for frozen yogurt, because after all that walking we deserve a treat, right? ;)  there are several coffee shops we frequent in town, but our newest favorite is scout coffee.  their drinks are super yummy and they have amazing freshly baked goods.  but really truly, i go their for the atmosphere.  and to daydream about moving my family into the shop.  its that beautiful.  exposed brick, anthro wallpaper, industrial lighting… need i say more?  i bribe treat the kids to a steamer or hot chocolate while they read for a bit, and sometimes we even stay for a few hours doing school work.  doing school out of the house can be such a fun break for us!

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Gymboree sent me a gift card to share these fun outfits with you.  i have always been impressed by the quality of their clothing, ever since the kids were little, but i’ll be honest, they can get a little pricey for me.  however, i’ve been spending a lot of time on their website lately and have found that things rarely stay at full price.  when i ordered my kids’ outfits, everything (EVERYTHING) was 40% off, and today i looked and everything (yes EVERYTHING) is $14.99 and under!  that includes outer wear and shoes and fancy stuff – all at really amazing prices for great quality clothing.  as far as sizing goes, it was spot on for my kids – and i’m so thankful that they have clothing that goes up to size 12!

gracie’s outfit: shirt, similar vest, beanie, pants

lily’s outfit:  dress, vest, leggings

silas’ outfit:  shirt, flannel, vest, jeans, shoes

thanks to Gymboree for partnering on this!  at the end of the day, my kids declared it a “super fun day” and i am “the best mom ever”!  i can’t argue with that ;)

Comments

  1. 2

    So much to comment on. First, all of the pictures are just beautiful. Love the colors of the kids’ clothes and the stream and rocks and trees and just everything. Even the bubble gum alley, which kind of grossed me out just a bit, was actually kind of colorful and pretty, and a whole lot of fun.

    I have discovered Gymboree clothes for my granddaughter and really like them. I see so much of the same old Carters/Oshkosh stuff everywhere and Gymboree offers some refreshing alternatives!

    I also rediscovered the playground with my granddaughter on her last visit. I don’t think swinging and sliding ever gets old.

    Thank you for a really great blog post!

  2. 4

    Your post makes me miss my home town of Santa Barbara! Cute, cute outfits. Where did you get the gold flats? Thanks and Merry Christmas!

    • 5

      i love santa barbara! even though its only an hour and a half away, it feels like such an escape!
      the flats were from target, not too long ago. merry christmas!

  3. 6

    I love this post. My kids are almost 6 months and almost 3. This was such a great (and needed!!) reminder that we won’t be in survival mode forever. Our kids are fantastic and I adore them, but everything is hard. I know there are challenges with every phase and am not wishing their baby and toddler moments away, but this was a great reminder that good days are to come also!

  4. 7

    I’m obsessed with your girls’ outfits. The strips and layers and necklaces. They don’t look like kids; those outfits look like something I’d wear!

  5. 8

    Your home is gorgeous, thanks for sharing it with us!

    http://www.dressed2nines.com

  6. 10

    Lovely pictures. Really good to see joy and fun.

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