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I love having kids close in age—here are 10 unexpected reasons why

6. It has forced me to let go of some unnecessary control.

I love having kids close in age—here are 10 unexpected reasons why

Having kids really close in age is...hmmm...there are so many ways to end that sentence. It's exciting. It's scary. It's interesting. It's intimidating. It's helpful. It's honestly wild—but also very, very cool.

Giving my children the gift of siblings, and particularly ones that are similar in age, has been magical to watch. It's definitely not always perfect (not even close), but it is our reality—and even though it's super busy—I really love it.

I love watching them communicate with one another in what is basically their secret language. I adore listening to them make each other laugh. And I feel confident that this is what my motherhood path was meant to be.

It reminds me of growing up with my four siblings, all close in age—my mom had five kids within eight years. It was always hectic growing up, but I loved having a sibling to play with who was usually interested in the same stuff I was. And now that we're all adults, we're still super close and I guess that gives me hope that my kids will always be close too.

I'm 36 weeks pregnant with baby number three, and will soon have three under four. If that sounds overwhelming to you, it's because...well, it is. But it's our overwhelm. And I've personally found many pros to deciding to have our kids close together.

1. They have a built-in best friend.

They have a strong bond already. They teach each other things. They always have someone around to play with. Their chatter before bed, when we leave the room, is probably one of the cutest things in the world. And they're very protective of each other.

2. They are on similar schedules for awhile.

For the most part, we are all on the same routine/schedule. They wake up around the same time as each other in the morning. We eat meals at the same time. They bathe together. And sometimes, they even nap at the same time. (Those days are golden!)

3. I've been in the baby/toddler parenting groove for a few years now.

I have been in the baby/toddler phase since the start of 2014 and haven't left yet. Won't for a while. So everything we're doing and going through is the "norm" for me right now. I'm still in the mindset of caring for children who aren't yet fully independent.

4. They share similar interests.

They typically love the same TV shows and movies, the same toys, books and activities—and the hand-me-down clothes stay in style when you don't have a big gap between wears.

5. I have an excuse for feeling a little out of it.

Things are just downright wild some days. I work from home, am managing the kids and house and various other things—it's just wild. But I have an excuse for feeling like I'm losing my mind. My close-in-age kids! (Though I'm pretty sure I'd feel this way with three kids spaced out too.)

6. It has forced me to let go of some unnecessary control.

Things can't be perfect. The house can't look perfect while the kids are behaving and listening perfectly while I'm also getting the exact perfect amount of work done while cooking the perfect meal. That's not going to happen with one kid, with multiple kids spaced out, and it definitely isn't going to happened when you have children who are close in age. You're needed too much for everything to be perfect.

7. I am able to be more spontaneous than I used to be.

Because my kiddos are on the same schedule and things are often pretty busy, I'm forced to make decisions quickly and just go with it. So, that's what I try to do—pivot when necessary and redirect when possible!

8. I know how to ask for, and accept, help.

I was so proud as a new mom—I wanted to do everything by myself, in my own way, on my own terms with my oldest daughter. Now, with a 3-year-old, a 1-year-old, and soon, a newborn, too—I ain't got time for pride! I can admit when I'm overwhelmed or when I could use help. And I accept that help with grace and gratefulness.

9. I am a bolder, more confident woman.

I need to speak up more. Because, as I've recently noticed, people aren't shy about commenting on how many children I have or how completely shocked they act when you tell them your kiddos (similar) ages or how many times you hear, "Boy! Your hands are going to be full huh?!" as they look from your children to your big baby bump. Yes, they already are THANKYOUFORNOTICING.

10.  My heart is bigger and more open than I could have ever imagined in my life.

My heart is big, full and wide open. I am constantly learning from this dynamic we have going on and they're always keeping me on my toes every single day. My kids are making me a better human.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

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