The other day I made a list on the affordable long lasting toys that I definitively would recommend to any families with small children. That made me think of three activities that we have liked already before kids, and that we have continued with in some form or another with them as well.
I’ve always liked to go swimming so it was natural to continue with it with kids too. This spring my older one, turning 6, has improved a lot and swims easily about 10 metres both on her back and doggy paddle. My younger one, 4,5 years, dropped his floats and started diving many meters. The last time we found out he can swim: he didn’t want to leave and therefore fled swimming 5-6 metres across a deep pool before I caught him.
We started with baby swimming classes for the older one, not so much excersice for adults and we found them expensive and somewhat stressful because of the rigid schedule. But it was fun to see the baby enjoy the water. So went swimming with her to warm pools on our own after learning the ways to hold her. We found this opition cheaper and better suited to our schedules. We’ve taken her baby brother along since he was about 5 months and we’ve mostly gone 1-2 a month swimming. There are plenty of beaches, outdoor and indoors pools in Helsinki. Fun for all of us!
2) Walks in the Nature
Me and my husband used to go for long walks in the evenings and on weekends before we had kids. We’ve always loved walking around also when travelling rather than hopping on an underground and not see anything. Last time in Barcelona we must have walked 15-20kms a day…
With children the walks are not that long, it usually is not practical to take a stroller in the forest, and then they’ve been wanting to walk themselves and the endurance is what it is. But at all ages there is something to explore, as long as the distance and pace are adjusted. Please find a few good options to start with in Helsinki on this list. One day we’ll return to Camino De Santiago.
Helsinki is pretty good for getting around on bikes, not like Copenhagen, but good enough. So that’s what we’ve done; we often ride bikes to work and daycare and also on the weekends to get around. I’d like to think it is healthier than drive around, and I find it more enjoyable to get some fresh air while doing something. Of course there was a break in our bike riding habit when kids were babies and before they could sit on a bike seat. But it wasn’t a long one: My younger one was on his balancing bike when he was 1,5 and we had a trailer when the kids were smaller. Last summer even our younger one swapped to a pedalling bike, and since we’ve been able to explore 6-7 kms from home on bikes. The newest favourite of our son is to ride on forest paths… Great!
I seem to prefer the very simple and basic forms of activity! If I’d add something on this list, that would be camping and cooking on fire but then that was something we hardly did at all when kids were really young. Too much of an hassle with babies in nappies for me. But when our younger one was 2, going on 3, we made our first camping trip, and found that doing it all together with no schedule was much more fun and far less hard work than I had anticipated. And kids learned to respect the fire easily. So that’s something we’ll get to next summer again!