Living in a second-floor apartment on the outskirts of the capital city with two small children is what I as a mom have been doing for the past 8 years. I have had no complaints to report about the flight of stairs we have to climb, our lack of access to a house linked water hose, or that the yard we have access to does not have a fence. Yes, those things would be nice but we never spend much time outdoors during winters, the property is family owned (I have known the family since our high school days together), and in the summer my children and I go on many adventures to seek the outdoors.
NOT IN 2020! The stay-at-home order has forced me to think out of the box in a way I never thought I’d need to. The amenities at our apartment dwelling will not be lacking this summer as we extend our physical distancing practice far beyond the local recommendations.
My first purchase, though DIY is always an option, was lawn games. Not having a fence for our yard coupled with living on a main road limits us, but we can still play! I did not purchase kickballs or frisbees, instead, we have cornhole, ring toss, horseshoes, and ladder golf. My children, being 9 and 6 years old, loved cornhole the most, and the bean bags quickly became Easter eggs for hiding throughout the grass. The stakes from the ring-toss/horseshoe game set also became swords, so watch out and be sure the pointy parts are pointed away from their opponents. Everything should be fiiiine (I think).
Pro Mom Tip: I purchased these toys in collapsable versions and keep ALL of them in the trunk of my car to keep them on the ground level so I don’t have to lug them up and down the stairs.
You can also never have enough 5-gallon buckets! With no water hose, you’ll just fill in the bathtub (I had this bucket leftover from our cloth diaper washing days). The handle is pretty sturdy; carry it down and let the play begin. We use the plunger style squirters for the farthest-reaching sprays. We also have water in our empty ketchup bottles for watering our flowers. A very slow stream helps pass time and if the soil is dry enough it is like a painting project.
Pro Mom Tip: Keep some old towels in the trunk with the games for possible spills on stairs.
Safety Note: This bucket is dangerous around little ones who can climb in headfirst so use caution.
Out with the Old, In with the New
Of course, we are purging our things a bit during lockdown. Every bag of donated toys is rewarded with the purchase of one special saught after item. When we order, we work on our calendar skills to make sure we never miss a package. My kindergartener has gotten very good at knowing the days of the week and reading a calendar as we order more deliveries to our home.
S’Mores, S’Mores, S’Mores
More recently we ended one of our apartment living summer days with “stove s’mores”. These s’ mores are NOT the same as being around a campfire in that they were not roasted thoroughly (I did not want to cause a fire alarm to blare or worse). But they did get us gathered together, to decompress, circle up, share a bite, and bond over making s’more summer memories.