I work from home, so the majority of my days are spent inside my home office. At some point during the week I JUST WANT TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE and do something with the family; it really seems to help everyone’s mood when we get out of the house and do something, especially something outdoors. A lot of times this is something really simple and either free or inexpensive, here are a few ideas that usually work pretty well for us.
Go to a Park or Playground
This one is obvious. My daughter loves going outside and one of the all-time free and favorite activities is to head to a park and/or a playground. Just getting outside and running around makes for a fun outing, playing on a jungle gym makes it even better. For an all-day event pack a picnic lunch and some playtime implements (we even bring a battery operated bubble machine sometimes). An added bonus is that all the running around will tire out your little one and he or she will be ready for their afternoon nap when you get home.
The Public Library
The public library usually has various activities throughout the week geared toward children. Our local library has what they call “Toddler Time” which includes several activities for young children including stories, sing-a-longs, puppet shows and socializing. This is a great opportunity to get your child out of the house and interacting with other kids. And it’s free!
Go to Church
Sunday is church day here at the Unexpected Dad household, and I must say that my daughter absolutely loves to go to church. We have a great nursery and school program and Brooke enjoys playing with the other children and doing the planned activities. Church outings don’t need to be restricted to only Sunday mornings, most churches I have been to have activities planned throughout the week.
Ok, I really don’t like to “go shopping” however I do love going to the home improvement store (around here that’s a Lowe’s). Even if I have no particular project I’m working on and no specific shopping list, I love to wander around the store looking at things. Luckily my daughter loves to go as well.
Well, confession time: Actually my daughter just loves to go out to any store, sit in the cart and wave at people with a big “Hi!”. But I like to think that she particularly likes going to Lowe’s. While I look around at various items, she is content to people watch and occasionally notice something on a shelf that she wants to look at. Obviously being “low-cost” depends on if you actually buy anything or not.
Visit a Wildlife Refuge, State Park or National Park
Depending on which refuge or park you decide to go to, fees can vary; if you plan to go several times during the year, an annual pass may be more cost-effective. Wildlife refugees have driving and/or hiking trails and most state and national parks have walking and hiking trails. Most parks also have some sort of educational activities for kids as well as adults from lectures to wildlife and outdoor displays. Older toddlers will love to walk around on the easier walking and hiking trails. Get your child interested in the great outdoors early in life!
Head to The Zoo
Depending on where you live this may be an option that is higher on the “low-cost” scale. This year we purchased a season pass to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo here in Colorado Springs. For $99.00 a year our little family of 3 can go to the zoo as many times as we want; based on the number of times we have been so far the cost of the pass has already been made up. Most kids really enjoy being outside and looking at the animals and it makes for a great family event.
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