Keeping kids entertained can be costly so anything free or low-cost gets a yes from me! I have listed some things that we enjoy doing which are mostly free, things may cost money if you don’t have them lying around but I think everyone will have something similar. And also, once you buy some things or collect them, you won’t need to re-purchase for a long time!
My little one loves being outside and I am in the process of making him a mud kitchen. If you haven’t seen these yet, Pinterest is your friend! It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular, you can use a few old buckets lying around and some old kitchen utensils and you’re good to go! I actually think the more home-made it looks, kids seem to enjoy even more. We have a few tubs which have been made redundant so I plan on coming up with something with these! I also have a few things from the kitchen which are past their prime, so will be given a new home here.
If you are fortunate enough to have either of these, and I’m sure there are sand parks dotted around inner cities, close by then take advantage! They aren’t just for summer months, I have purchased wellies for O and we once the colder days arrive (which are imminent), we will be heading down to the beach with our wellies, hat, scarves and gloves and we will have the best time!
In our area we have a good amount of government funded groups. O and I have been attending groups with PlayTalkRead; they adopt the philosophy that babies and children don’t need hundreds of pounds worth of toys, you can use things around the house and items that cost pennies, and focus on heuristic play. O thoroughly enjoys it there and they have a website which includes things to play at home, arts and crafts, healthy food ideas and many others. We also attend a local family centre who offer free weekly drop-in toddler groups, there are toys and snacks and free use of facilities e.g. the baby sensory room. I would search online or ask your midwife for classes in your area. Some groups have fees and our local one is only 50p per session!
We also used to attend free Book Bug classes at our local library, where they would read stories and sing songs. Unfortunately, O doesn’t enjoy sitting still so we haven’t been for a while but I’d definitely recommend them. Some do run weekend classes for example our local library ran a monthly Saturday session but others offer this weekly. I plan to use our local library to borrow books for bed time reading to little O, as we are beginning to run out! Our local library have a big children’s section and they have a tiny soft play with ball pool but it keeps them occupied so that you can pick some books to take home.
Museums are fabulous – I am the ultimate museum fan! Sad I know. One of our local’s used to have a soft play inside which I think is such a great thing, but unfortunately they removed it and put something else in it’s place (still have to find out what that is!). Museums are great because they are usually free and you yourself can learn something as well as pointing out the big dinosaur and saying “Dine-saw grrr”. I took O to the Museum of Fire in Edinburgh a few weekends ago as it was their open day. It was quite busy but there was lots going on for kids and adults alike. They had fire engines you could go onto for pictures and a nosey, dressing up clothes and talks/demonstrations. Unfortunately, through this visit I realised that O doesn’t actually like fire engines. Next time maybe.
This is something my inner kid absolutely adores. I love building dens and we done this a couple of weeks ago when O was under the weather. We just made a bed inside and lay watch some TV. We also played keek-a-boo! It’s so easy, we just got some bed sheets and chairs, and a duvet and pillows for inside. Super easy and fun.
We’ve been in Edinburgh now for almost 3 years and I still know so little about it, so I’m making a conscious effort to see the city in all it’s glory. Usually I try to go places that has big open spaces or a play park so that O can get out the stroller for a little while and let loose! But on my list of go-to-places, I have little quaint streets in gorgeous parts of the city I want to see. And with the colder weather, I’m sure O won’t mind being wrapped up all warm and cosy in his stroller whilst mum battles gale-force winds and stormy weather, around the city of Edinburgh. This is also good for us mummy’s (and daddy’s) that want to become a bit fitter, so win win for me! I plan on doing a post around where I’ve been and might make it a monthly post – still unsure.
I generally despise plastic toys, so when we take the time to make our own toys or do some arts and crafts, I love it! O is still getting used to using crayons but has already drawn some lovely pictures for mum and dad! The pack of crayons came with O’s toddler pack from BookBug, which we were given at the PlayTalkRead group and the paper we already had – so freebie alert! We have previously made sensory toys with empty plastic bottles with rice, pasta, tin foil, water and glitter or anything you can think of inside. Perfect for babies and toddlers, as O still likes to shake them and make lots of noise! We also do cardboard play and make houses and other silly bits and bobs. With Autumn’s arrival I plan on getting outside to gather some leaves and other autumnal goodies for crafting.
I love to do anything home-made so we have previously made our own paints, gluk or anything messy! I just strip O down or put on some old clothes and cover the kitchen floor and let O do whatever he wishes. We sometimes use utensils and other kitchen bits as stamps or just make a huge mess! Water play can be in pots and pans and oven dishes, which he can use the jug and transfer the water between or sometimes I just chuck O in the bath with his bath toys in the day time and he can play to his hearts content.
A free activities post cannot include play parks. They are a saviour and O absolutely loves them. We tended to meet other families at play parks during the summer and enjoyed a packed lunch together. It’s great how much fun they have and it’s free! I have been making a point to go to different ones across the city, as I find the same one boring after a while, so we have been to a fair few now and have many more on the list. This will be something we will do even in the colder months, wrapped up of course!
What’s your favourite free activities to do with the kids? 🙂
Until next time,