Hi everyone, I am currently a SAHM to a almost 7 year old girl and 2 year old boy. DD is at school during the day which leaves me and the toddler at home. I'm trying to figure out some things that I can do with my toddler where i won't end up spending too much $. I'm just so bored of parks lately. We usually end up going to the kids play area at one of the two malls that are near my house. Then we walk around the mall and I inevitably end up spending $ or we go to Target and its the same thing. We do go to library "toddler time" on tuesday and wednesday but that is only like 45 min. out of the day. I really can't afford to do all the shopping I've been doing lately. I've found that lately I've been buying stuff to assuage my boredom. So how do all you other SAHM's keep your days interesting and try to keep from spending too much $. What are some other toddler friendly things that you do during the day.
Low cost activities for a SAHM
I do some planned things at home with my toddler to keep home interesting. Get together with friends, visit the library, borrow library passes to different places, visit parks, indoor play places, we have a free playgroup we attend. Take walks around the neighbor or on easy hiking trails. Visit nature centers. Many you can get in free from the library, if not they are normally pretty inexpensive anyway.
It totally depends on where you live, but we've loved our zoo and museum annual family memberships. You very quickly get your money worth, and you can probably convince someone to get the pass for a birthday or Christmas gift. Our pool also has discounted rates at certain times of the week for parents bringing their under 3's to swim. You can also check local bookstores, which often do sporadic activities or storytimes. Your local LLL may have a daytime meeting. Do you have a local college or university? Check out their offerings in terms of noon hour music recitals or plays. We also do things like making ice cream, collecting leaves, lots and lots of painting/colouring/cutting. I do random things like drawing out a huge racetrack or farm on butcher paper on the floor and setting out related figures/cars. I really want to make paper with dd, but have to make a few screens first. I know how it is to get stuck in a rut, but really, there's a crazy number of things out there! I agree with a pp about getting together with friends, especially when you're feeling like you do - new toys for your kiddo, grown ups to talk to, and often experiences you might not have had on your own.
When I had toddlers, playgroups, playdates and ECFE classes (through the local school district) were godsends. We also went and met my DH for lunch once a week. When it was nice I'd pack a lunch and we'd meet at a park or a nature area. Do you have a community center that offers a toddler open gym time?
I was going to suggest asking for memberships to places like zoos and museums as well. Our city also has several free days at museums each month.
We also spend a lot of time at the YMCA. It's not free, but they're great about giving scholarships to families and it's a wonderful place to spend time with little ones.
This is what I was going to suggest. Not sure where you live and how many options you have, but here in Chicago each library has free passes to all of the major museums.
What about festivals and events? Right now, are there any harvest or Halloween events you could spend some time at?
I used to go to different library branches within our county system. It was surprising how different they all were--many with really neat children's areas, art exhibits, educational programs, etc... Fun to take a 'field trip' somewhere new without spending much money on gas and pretty much nothing on the activity.
I have a 4 year old and almost-16 month old. We do a variety of activities, most free or almost free. I often go to places like Chick-a-fillet playground or McDonald's playground, they always have kids there. We go to Chuck E Cheese or Monkey Jungle, for my 16 month old, they have few games for her age level, but she loves running around there, touching all the games and climbing on the playground. We check out different parks, playgrounds at the mall also. Somedays we just take long walks around in the neighborhood with her in the stroller. In the summer time, we find little water playparks in the area. We have a membership to the zoo and we do that all the time too, kids love that. I'm not sure if you have one in your area, but we have "Children's Hands on Museum" which offers different activities and hours of fun for the little ones. We have Pump in Up, which for kids under 4, costs $2, and kids love going there, also we have several local spin offs with inflatable stuff. I live in Florida and we have an online website with a list of activities and events for families and kids, which lists all things like festivals, store events (a lot of stores offer kid friendly events, like arts and crafts, face painting etc), and family nights. For example, every Tuesday is Family Night at all Chick a Fillets in my town. I always go! They have balloons, free ice cream, always some kind of activity. For example, 2 weeks ago they had horseback riding! In the parking lot!!! Today they have fall festival, with face painting etc. Most museums in town offer scheduled weekly activities for moms and young kids like art projects etc.
does your city or town have a park and rec department. I just found out that our city has park and rec and it has a playgroup for kids newborn to 5 years 1 time a wk. and also exercise classes for moms that they can bring kids to and the kids can play while moms exercise. the playgroup is very cheap and runs 10 wks and the xercise is free. something to look into.