She Said, Shut Up and Play with Me

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As an only child I always longed for someone who wanted to play with me. It didn’t help that the games of the time were I’m Telling and Double Dare – both sibling games. As they sat on my shelf collecting dust, I realized two player games were just not in my cards (cards – however I could play… sniff sniff solitaire).

I thought when I got married I could force my husband to play with me but he’s no fun. The best I get is a one-sided cutthroat game of Spit on my birthday, and only because he has to say yes.

Enter the offspring!

I was super excited when my daughter was born. I FINALLY had someone (obligated and) willing to play with me! SHE happened to enjoy playing with me – so there!

I’ve wanted to write about playing with one’s kids for months but ironically I’ve been too busy – playing with my kids – to do it. So in honor of today being the Worldwide Day of Play, here we go.

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So what have I been doing? School ended, summer began. Between our family memberships and free library passes every day was filled with a morning activity (PSA – I love the zoo. Best membership in New York, ask someone to get it for you for the holidays). Then, since my little one takes a killer nap, the “big girl” toys would come out while he slept – puzzles, beads, shmancy arts and craft projects, Magna-Tiles, anything she wanted.

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One of my favorite discoveries of the summer was GoldieBlox (a really cool engineering set for girls). I loved sitting with my daughter and teaching her how to follow a diagram, lay out all the needed pieces, and then create the project. It was amazing to see her reaction as she completed each page making the diagram came to life. Even more remarkable – while on-line at an amusement park she pointed out a banister made out of the real life version of five of her GoldieBlox pieces.

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But the best, best, best part was just playing with her one on one. I could go on and on about how much fun it is to have a little girl who wants to play with the toys I played with as a kid – like Lite Brite or lanyard. It’s just is one of those things us mothers smile about… while doing Chinese Staircase.

Enter boy kid.

Boy kid is almost two. My husband and I laugh that amongst a sea of dolls and a land of pink, he only has eyes for trucks, ducks, trains, planes and fish. Give the boy a truck and he’s set. If you come to our house you’ll have to play trains with him. He won’t take “no” for an answer. Just accept it.

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I love playing with my daughter’s big girly things, I love playing with my son’s little man things, but the best is watching them play together.

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These two creatures who came from my belly create such vivid tales I just sit in awe watching them – my son who barely speaks (yet we know exactly what he is saying) and my daughter who doesn’t stop talking. I just sit there crying happy tears (shocker). It’s the best thing on Earth. Their current obsession is Shopkins – which I didn’t get at first but now see encourage such imaginative play – I’m a huge fan.

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I would be remiss to not include my love of outdoor play. Most nice afternoons I open the door and kick my kids out of the house. I love that they get fresh air and exercise without even trying. Oh outside, how I love thee. Chalk in the spring, gardening and growing vegetables in the summer, leaf collection in the fall, spraying food coloring in the snow to create art in the winter, the possibilities are endless! With each season brings a new adventure. Piles of leaves to jump in, piles of snow at the bottom of the slide – all a recipe for instant fun! When I moved to the suburbs buying a swing set was my number one priority and I haven’t looked back since.

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A gifted and talented teacher once told me the best thing a parent could do is simply foster a child’s love of whatever they’re interested in at the moment. I think of this often.

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We are all so, so busy but I try every day – at least for a bit – to put down my phone, put horse blinders on and just play with my kids. The sad part is we run around so much with them we often forget the simplicity of just stopping and imagining all the possibilities of a cardboard box.

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I’ve adapted the mantra that they will never be this little again and that tomorrow they will be a bit bigger. I also think about how I felt like a million bucks when my parents sat down and played with me. But most important, I think of how RIGHT NOW it is my kid’s childhood and RIGHT NOW they are making the memories they will hopefully refer to as “the happy times” when asked by their future therapist.

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So in conclusion, put down your phone. GO play with your kids. Go put the sprinkler on and run through it with them. Go sit on your swing set glider and see how high you can all go. Go down the slide and fall on your tush. They’ll think it’s hilarious. Build a fort. Color with them (we recently found Crayola Color Alive books. AMAZING!). Most important, kiss them a zillion times. One day they won’t call you back because they no longer think of you as the moon and stars –which they do RIGHT NOW.

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Like this? Take the Genius of Play’s pledge saying you too will play with your kids and give them all the developmental benefits of play. Want more? Here are some expert articles and stats and facts about play, enjoy!

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Like what you see? Join me in helping Genius of Play reach their goal of 1,000,000 pledged hours of play. Once reached they’ll donate $10,000 worth of toys to support play for children in need. Pretty cool, right?

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What’s your favorite way to play with your kids? Most creative one wins a mystery prize!

They Paved Paradise and Put Up A Parking App

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ParkWhiz

New YorkChicago – San Francisco

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Fall is coming! Fall is coming! My absolute favorite season is Fall. Especially Fall in Manhattan. My favorite beautiful city suddenly switches – almost on a dime – from a sweltering urban heat bubble to a cool, rainbow of colors.

I used to love walking around the Great Lawn just to see what the skyline looked like smiling at the lucky trees changing from green to red.

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Now as a suburban dweller, it’s hard to resist the short drive to do this again. The only hitch is of course parking.

The idea of parking in Manhattan is so stressful.

Where is the closest garage?

Will it cost me more to park than my mortgage?

Will the garage be full once I get there?

How do I get to where I’m going once I park my car?

I believe I have the answer for you – meet ParkWhiz! With their super easy to use App you type in where you’re going and your entry and exit time. It quickly pulls up all garages in the area with their fabulous discounted prices! But what’s even better – it tells you how long of a walk the garage is to your destination! This makes it easy to gauge if the price differences are justified by the time it saves you by proximity.

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So you found your winner. You simply click on it and tap to pay – It’s that easy! Your spot is reserved and waiting for you, you have directions how to get to the lot and you have directions how to get to your destination. They also send you an email with links to everything you need (including a cancellation link just in case).

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Once you arrive at the garage, you can throw your keys ala Ferris Bueller (hopefully not) and be on your way! When you return, just show your parking confirmation in the app or email, and off you go.

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When the sun starts to set on your big pimpin’ city day, ParkWhiz’s App pops up with a reminder of how much time is left on your pre-paid reservation and kindly offers you directions back to your car. This means even the least city friendly, lost person can be painlessly guided back to the garage (read: your mom).

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So as you start making your Fall & Winter plans to see The Rockettes (OMG, Radio City parking – oy!), the tree lighting – which is December 2, 7pm –9pm (OMG, Rockefeller Center parking – oy!), a kid’s show (OMG, parking with an impatient child in the car – oy!), The Ride (OMG, Times Square parking – oy!), or Story Pirates (OMG, Hell’s Kitchen parking – oy!) ParkWhiz is for you.

App, tap, pay, park, play.

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Here’s a map of all the NYC garages just to confirm they’ve got your covered.

Live in Chicago or San Francisco – they’ve got a dedicated page for each of these cities too including local events and discounts. But wait – there’s more – check out their nationwide network of parking spots in cities everywhere!

Staying longer than a few days? Check out the NY, Chicago, and San Fran monthly parking maps (with promotions brightly highlighted) to easily compare prices.

Even bigger news for those of you in the Chicago area – September 9th, 2015 ParkWhiz introduced $5 flat rate parking at more than 100 of its Chicago-area parking facilities. Customers can now reserve an hour of parking for $5, two hours for $10 and 12 hours for $15.

If all of this doesn’t sound cool enough – check this out – they even had a dedicated page just for people going to Lollapalooza last week!

I love that ParkWhiz thinks about the major events going on and tries to make your life easier. Now if that isn’t different from your mother’s parking App I don’t know what is. Again, she is most likely lost in Weehawken trying to find the FDR.

Own a company where your employees need to park in a city? Check out ParkWhiz’s corporate parking program.

Sending someone into the city for a night out? How nice would it be to set up a spot for them or to include a parking gift certificate? Wait – that’s actually a really great idea…

Still got questions? Give them a call! They can be reached at: 1 (888) 472-7594 from 6am-8pm CT, 7 days a week.

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Giveaway!

ParkWhiz has offered to give away to one lucky The Mint Chip Mama reader!

$75 in free parking!

To win, please comment below:

What’s your most creative secret to finding a parking spot?

Winner chosen Thursday, September 17, 2015.