Just because I am a stay-at-home Mom now does not mean I have to “stay at home”. In fact, we rarely spend a full day at home. There’s tons to do with kids around town, but what about babies? It’s taken me 8 months, but I’ve compiled a list of free stuff to do outside of the house with a baby. Why? Because I like to save money, I love finding little daily adventures and I need to get out of the house often for my sanity. Luckily, Luna happens to love getting out as well.
1. The public library. I wrote an entire post about this magical land of free books, movies, magazines, internet, computers and kids’ areas. We are lucky to have lots of libraries where we live and they all offer programs for kids, even babies. At least once a week there is a “mommy and me” type reading going on somewhere.
2. Public parks. We go to the park almost every day. We run or walk and push Luna in the stroller. We play on the playground. She is a big fan of the swings and has just started crawling through tunnels. Sometimes we bring a picnic blanket and just let her do as she pleases. I talk to her about the trees, sky, birds, bugs, grass, big kids and whatever else we see. We’ve even met other families this way.
3. The grocery store, especially Whole Foods. Our local Whole Foods is awesome and offers a weekly Kids’ Hour. There is a local performer every week who will sing, bring puppets, dance and entertain your children for FREE for an hour. It’s AWESOME. I like to pick up a cup of coffee and chat with the other awesome Moms while our babies clap and bounce a long to the music. I have to admit, just being at Whole Foods makes me feel like Super Mom…even if I can rarely afford to actually grocery shop there. I also like taking Luna grocery shopping with me because I like to talk to her about the food I’m getting and she likes looking at EVERYTHING. She has become such a little ham and smiles, giggles and flirts with every single man in the grocery store.
4. Starbucks. The “free” part of this suggestion is debatable. It is technically free to go to a Starbucks. It’s up to you if you want to purchase something to eat or drink. You must know that I couldn’t have this list without mentioning a coffee shop. This is another daily visit for me and Luna. I KNOW it’s like a huge waste of money to a big bad company, but I happen to like Starbucks and we have a nice little group of “regulars” that we visit every morning. There’s something very special about getting coffee at place where everybody knows your name and your baby. Plus, Luna is addicted to chewing on Starbuck’s cups now.
5. Local parades and festivals. All small towns have these right? We’ve taken Luna to the Live on the Green Music Festival, the State Fair and the Crafts Fair. She can’t do much, but she does enjoy watching everything happen around her. There’s music, food, new smells and often puppet shows.
6. Anything that involves animals. Kids love animals, but the zoo can get expensive. We have a local wilderness center that has free weekly lessons and shows for kids. There’s also free petting zoos at several fairs and if you live in the woods like me then you will likely find animals by just going on a walk. Luna loves watching animals, especially her own dog and cat.
7. Take a trial class. I want to sign Luna up for a gym/music class this winter since we won’t be able to be at the park everyday, so I recently started researching local classes for babies. Turns out that most of these “gyms” offer a free trial! Perfect! We get to try them all out to see which one we like the best and get some fun free play time too! We actually met a new friend this way and now see them at least once a week.
8. Visit people. Your kids need to build relationships with your loved ones and the only way to do that is to allow them to have time together. Visit your friends and your family. Let them play with, feed, snuggle and entertain your little one. We have always let Luna be around lots of people. So far, she seems to be quite the social butterfly. I just hope she continues to enjoy spending time with other people.
9. Go window shopping. On rainy days we like to walk around the mall or Target…or both. We make mental notes of the latest products in Sephora, try some Teavanna samples, hit up William Sonoma to see what smells so good, check out the deals at Baby Gap and stop at Starbucks, of course.
10. Take a hike. We live in Tennessee so we are fortunate enough to have many walking trails. Some are stroller friendly and some require me to wear the baby. I enjoy the exercise and Luna adores looking at the sun rays shining through the tree branches. Good times.
What do you like to do with your baby when you need to get out of the house?