Yesterday, we took a day for nothing but play. Don’t get me wrong, we play with Wilder everyday, but yesterday we took playing to the next level.
Lately, Wilder seems unamused with his wooden blocks, crayons, and shapes. We have tried taking more walks and taking some time each night to dance, which he loves, but we needed something new. My advisor at the school suggested a place called HopLop. To me, it sounded like a Finnish Chuck E. Cheese, but I was desperate for a change of scenery so we decided to check it out.
HopLop is a little over a mile from our apartment. When we got there, we took off our shoes and coats at the entrance and shuffled into the most amazing play palace I have ever seen. The woman at the front told us it would be 10 euros for Wilder and parents were free. I was hesitant about the price, but went for it anyway. I am so glad I did.
HopLop is amazing. It is the size of Costco and filled with play equipment and fun of all sorts, including a ball pit, huge slides, rock climbing walls, and stuffed animal rides. Everything was jungle themed, complete with ambient jungle sounds throughout. It was seriously impressive.
We spent the next two and half hours playing the ball pit and chasing Wilder around to all the different slides and play tubes, only pausing when he would turn around and hug us and say thank you. He screamed with delight at every new stop and babbled at every Finnish kid his size, not caring when they stared at him in confusion. I am not entirely sure if Wilder had more fun than we did. We could have spent days there.
It was time to go home. We could see him tiring out. Without any instruction, he walked towards the front door and started looking for his shoes. I could see his head bobbing as he nodded off to sleep in his stroller on the walk home. When we got home, we collapsed on the bed, exhausted.
The moral of this story is that it is so important to take a special day regularly just for our small kids. Yes, we take him outside everyday. Yes, we play with his toys everyday. Yes, we read him stories everyday, but nothing compares to squeals of joy and excitement of something new and adventurous. This day made me realize the importance of always keeping the spirit of adventure alive in our small boy, even if the adventure is walking to the nearest indoor play place.