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Ask Denene: Fun Play for All

My 2-year-old always wants me to play with her, but if I make another play-dough kitten, I'm going to lose my mind. How can I satisfy us both?

Oh, the joy of play-dough creations, Barney reruns, and repeat readings of Green Eggs and Ham -- not! It's true: The little-kid games you once found endearing can get real monotonous, real quick, especially if there's no outlet for big-people interaction.

Want to break out of the rut? Mix it up. Instead of pulling out the same ole toys and the same ole books, and following the same ole routines, do yourself and your child a favor: Hit the library for some fresh books, find some new inexpensive toys at a discount store, swing and slide with her at the park, or walk to the local ice cream shop. The point is to keep it fresh at playtime so that your toddler feels like she's doing something special with Mommy, and so that you don't croak from sheer boredom. 

Mind you, toddlers are creatures of habit -- your daughter's going to want to go back to the play-dough sometimes. But at least you'll have a couple of (new) tricks up your sleeve for keeping her occupied. 

Ask Mom Squad expert Denene Millner your trickiest parenting questions at