Well, my daughter is a year old now, and as I stay at home with her during the day, she doesn't get a lot of interaction with other kids. So a couple of days ago I took Madame to Gymboree Play and Music. It's an indoor playground of sorts, with organized times where parents can bring their kid to crawl around and play with other kids their age. They way it worked was the first part of the "class" they had loose activities for the kids to do, like crawling and climbing up on stuff. Then they close the class with songs and activities that the parents do with the kids, including playing with an indoor parachute at the end. As far as I can tell she loved it, and for that I enjoyed it too. But there were also some things I learned:
- My little girl loves other kids. All the kids will look at each other, but she was really the only one who would go up to another kid and touch or try to talk to them.
- Soap bubbles. SOAP BUBBLES. How come I never thought to try soap bubbles with her? The kids were mesmerized. I went to Target the next day and got some (on clearance to boot).
- Parachutes are cool. Why aren't they marketed more heavily to parents? Maybe they are and I'm just not aware of it, but I would think that there are a lot of parents who would get one for their kids, or their play group to have fun with.
- I'm an idiot when it comes to kid's songs. I was completely at a loss when it came to the words to "The Wheels on the Bus," and my utter inability to do that itsy-bitsy spider thing with my hands just made me feel retarded.
- KEEP THE PUBLIC TOYS OUT OF YOUR BABIES' MOUTH. There were lots of little toys around the play area, mostly for bait to get kids to go through tunnels or climb up ramps. It worked, but almost all the kids would then put them into their mouths. Kids do this, I understand, but maybe the parents should think twice about letting their kid do it. Indoor playgrounds are fun, but they are a vector for disease. My Madame would grab the toys but she didn't put any in her mouth (I was making sure). As I've said before, she is above average.
- I wasn't the only dad. I honestly thought I might be, but in the same class there was another dad with his little boy, and there was a dad who was leaving with his kids from the previous class. Maybe I should start a dads playgroup.