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This blog serves as a collection of my thoughts on everyday life, challenges, fun-finds, pretty (cool) things, and parenthood with my (oftentimes, sarcastic) view on adulting, motherhood, marriage and being a struggling homemaker. 

Top 10 No Fail Activities to Keep Toddlers Busy (South Side Edition!)

Top 10 No Fail Activities to Keep Toddlers Busy (South Side Edition!)

For those who grew-up in the south of Manila, everything past the SkyWay is usually considered far! I am a lazy mom and I will not pretend to know all the hip and happening places in the Metro to take your kids--too much effort. I usually settle with the familiar and if I had it my way, the kids and I would veg-out, watch cartoons, color, and sneak-in iPad time all afternoon. But where’s the fun in that?

I recently stopped stressing because kids always find adventure in the ordinary.

Here, I'll share my 10 tried-and-tested simple activities I enjoy doing with my toddlers costing under P500 that never get old. Best part, minimum effort, maximum smiles and I almost guarantee a nap at the end of each one.

1.     Stained Glass Window Decal Making

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Where: Alabang Town Center
Time: 20-45 minutes
Price: P200
Recommended age: 2.5 and up

The term “malling” is nothing new to Manila dwellers just as “Town” is to its southerners. So it should not come as a surprise that my first favourite activity is in the middle of Alabang Town Center. For under P200, kids get their creative juices flowing and work on a unique craft. They select a fun design, then color the empty spaces to make a rubbery “stained-glass” window sticker. Once they finish colouring, the attendant places the decal in a small oven to solidify the liquid, places it in a baggy then you’re set to go. My girls love this place so much that I often use this as an incentive for good behavior.




2. Swimming

Where: Home
Time: Minimum 30 minutes
Cost: Free.

Recommended age: 4 months and up

(For those without an inflatable pool, a new one costs around P1,000.  But, use it 5 times the cost per swim becomes P200.)

We live in the tropics.  It is summer all year round! So, kill the air conditioner and bring out the pool. Weekends and lazy weekday afternoons call for bath toys, a hose and lots of sunscreen. My family never ever tires of this activity. We bring out toy boats, inflatable donuts and dolls to give them a “bath” with soap and bubbles.  Both boys and girls love role playing.  The possibilities are endless with water-play. Got no yard? Condo dwellers may already have a pool in their building. If not, stick a tiny one in your balcony. Our home actually doesn’t have a yard, so I place our pool on the second floor trellis or in the garage.  


3.   Run Wild

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Where: Alabang Country Club polo field
Time: Minimum 1 hour
Price: Under P200 depending what you pack for merienda
Recommended age: All

For as long as I can remember, this park has been a hang out for people of all ages in the south. Instead of an afternoon stroll, visit a nearby park or the iconic polo field in Alabang Country Club. The tall trees provide cool shade and the wide grassland is a haven for any child. Pack your picnic basket, a banig, a soccer ball, bring some bubbles and enjoy the breezy afternoon air.  It’s a relaxing activity for adults, teens and kids.

Mom tip: Get your exercise game on and squeeze in a few active minutes. Go for a short jog around the field while the kids play and snack.


4.    Bake Cupcakes

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Where: Home
Time: 2 hours with bake time
Price: P400
Recommended age: 3 years up

I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t love licking gooey cake batter from a spoon.  I am a lazy mom, so I rely on Pillsbury or Madame Betty (Crocker) for assistance for this zero-frills activity.  Both brands are instant cake mix and have an icing flavor to complement. All you need are 2 large eggs and cooking oil. My kids love mixing and breaking the eggs.  I let them do all the work for this one. So if a bit of eggshell slips in, it’s all good. The fun part is always slathering icing and decorating the cupcakes with sprinkles.

Mom tip: For a make shift, mess free icing bag, place frosting inside a Ziplock and cut the corner to make a small hole to swirl the icing on the cupcakes.


5.     Mini Mani-Pedi

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Where: Nail Salon like Nail Tropics
Time: 1- 1.5 hours
Cost: P250
Recommended age: 3 years up

This is a fantastic activity to share with your little girl. I usually save this for a “date day”.  I recommend Nail Tropics because they have technicians who specialize in nail art and if you book in advance, they will assign a nail artisan especially for this service.  Nail Tropic artisans are extremely patient and very open to trying new designs. I appreciate how they are knowledgeable about their products and services.  I also love when they suggest polish colors when you cannot decide.

Mom tip: Google a photo of the character or design your child wants in advance to show the artisan.  


7.     Board Games, Snacks & Puzzles

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Where: Puzzles, Molito Alabang
Time: Minimum 1 hour
Cost: P220
Recommended age: 3 years and up

I love this place. My teenage son enjoys our trips here as much as the toddlers do. For P220 the youngsters can enjoy a complete meal with kid friendly options like, mac and cheese, mini pancakes or chicken fingers -- served with your choice of cookies or fruit skewers and a drink. Dining gets you unlimited playtime with their massive selection of board games. Puzzles has super fun and cozy interiors, lounge areas, low tables all in bright colors.


8.     Soccer with Futbol Funatics


Where: Tahanan Village clubhouse or Cuenca field in Ayala Alabang
Time: 1-1.5 hours
Cost: P450 drop in rate, P350 promo rate for minimum of 10 sessions.
Recommended age: 2.5 and up

Saturday morning cartoons are always fun but nothing beats morning sun, fresh air and exercise.  Football clubs like, Futbol Funatics will tire your toddler out as early as 9 am on the weekend! Their soccer program accepts athletes as young as 2.5 years old and train in a number of soccer fields in the Metro like Tahanan Village and BGC. The FF toddler team, The Beckham Buddies train in the Cuenca soccer field every Saturday and Sunday from 8:30-9:30 am.  

Mom tip: Parents can enjoy a morning Starbucks while waiting for their toddler under the shade.


9. Indoor Playgrounds


Where: Active Fun, Evia Lifestyle Center
Time: 1 hour
Cost: P280
Recommended age: 2 years and up

The South is home to a selection of indoor playgrounds like Active Fun, Big Red Barn, Kidzoona and Playground in Molito. For as low as P300 your child can burn baby burn all that excess energy for an entire hour in a padded, owie-proof facility.  Let loose, run, jump, climb, slide and even role play in their pretend play areas.

Mom tip: Don’t forget your socks.


10. Sta. Elena Fun Farm

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Where: Sta. Elena Golf and Country Club
Time: 2-4 hours
Cost: P400
Recommended age: All

"Animals" ,"Petting zoo" - Magic words for any child. This hidden gem offers horseback riding, a carabao-drawn carriage, a zip-line, animal feeding, fishing, boats, outdoor park equipment, a sand house and covered snack area. There’s so much to explore. Block off a morning or an entire day, this place has easily become one of our happiest places. 

It sounds cliche, but children don’t need anything fancy.

All they really want is good, undivided, quality time with their parents and loved ones. The simplest gifts bring them the greatest joys. Any activity shared with your child will be treasured; even those quick trips to SNR while stocking up on groceries, and pigging-out on samples could be a great adventure, as long as it is with you.

I am F*cking Tired.

I am F*cking Tired.

DIY Busy Board

DIY Busy Board