Being home all day with a toddler (and infant!) is exhausting. I plan activities for us, we go on walks, and play outside, but it still gets monotonous after a while. I try to get us out of the house at least once a week, but sometimes it can be hard to figure out what to do – and a lot of activities available are expensive if we were to do them every week.
Fun doesn’t always have to be expensive, though – there are plenty of things to do with a toddler that don’t involve spending a lot of money.
We try to visit the library at least once a month to get some new books to read both for the kids, and for me. We’ve found some great books this way and have been able to explore such a wide variety of topics. Most libraries also have an interlibrary loan program as well, so if you’re looking for a certain book and your library doesn’t have it, the library can borrow it from another library for you. This has helped us acquire quite a few books, even a few new releases!
Of course, libraries are great for more than just books. They often have community events that are open to the public, and quite a few of them are kids & toddler friendly. Most events at the library are free. The one down the street from us has a toddler and preschooler storytime every week and its completely free! Check your local libary’s website or facebook events to see what’s coming up near you.
Most parents already know this one, but it’s worth mentioning anyways. Parks are a great way to get kids out of the house and active. Although we have a beautifully paved and gardened backyard, it’s small and mostly paved, making playstructures, running and pretty much most active play out of the question. So we often go to the park.
One of my current favorites, is a park run by a community center. It’s a little ways from our house, but it’s an indoor play that is completely free. My toddler isn’t quite 2 yet, so he’s a runner, so this is a great way for me to relax with the baby while still allowing him to pretty much run wild.
There’s also a few public parks near us that have water pipes shooting up out the ground. Since they’re public parks, they’re totally free! And since it’s not a traditional water park, I don’t have to balance both a baby and a toddler while swimming. These ones just keep water floating like a fountain.
Community Centers are amazing! Not only do they have public parks (see above!), but they also host events – many are free or low cost to keep them accesible to the community. Check community centers homepages or look on facebook for events.
Hiking is a great way to explore nature for toddlers, and get a workout for you at the same time! Different hiking trails provide different difficulty for you and your toddler, so choose accordingly. If your toddler is a runner, like mine, or there’s the possibility of taking a long tumble, you can also choose to push them in a jogging stroller or wear them. The last hike that we went on, my toddler did a combination of walking and riding in a carrier. He had a blast!
And if you’re looking to make some friends while hiking, check out Hike It Baby and see if there are any local chapters.
If your toddler likes to collect things, consider starting a nature scrapbook to compliment your hikes.
I know what you’re thinking, movies are neither cheap, nor a place someone who has the wiggles 24/7 should be, but here me out. Some movie theaters actually have designated baby and children showings, meaning you’ll be around other parents who expect it to be noisy, so no worries there! Also, keep an eye out for low cost showings. Regal movie theaters are showing a bunch of kids movies this summer for $1! How awesome is that? Even if we have to leave mid showing, we’ll have only wasted a few bucks.
What types of things do you like to take your toddlers out to do? Let me know below!