If you’ve got a toddler you’ll know some days you just need to get out of the house. Whether it’s to keep them entertained, or for your own sanity. But, all these trips out to soft play, cafes and swimming add up quickly. If you’re on a tight budget, there are plenty of ways to entertain your toddler without spending loads of cash. So I’ve compiled a list of places you can take your toddlers out for free!
MUM AND BABY GROUPS
Mum and baby/toddler groups are a great way to get out of the house, entertain your little one and meet new people. I know it can be daunting to go into a group of people for the first time, but I’ll bet most of those Mums felt the same way the first time they went. See if your local library runs any sessions, or join local parenting groups on Facebook.
Most local libraries will run baby and toddler groups as mentioned above. Even without these, they’re still great to visit. There’s usually a children’s section with little chairs or cushions, toys or even activities. Let you child explore and pick their own books to borrow. It’s a great way to encourage a love of reading from a young age.
A garden centre is a brilliant place to take toddlers out for free. There’s so much to interest and stimulate them. From all the different colours to the textures, sounds and even smells, it’s a full sensory experience. We went to the garden centre this morning and Ollie had great fun pointing out the different colours of the flowers. We also listened out for different noises like trickling water from fountains, bees buzzing past and our feet crunching the gravel.
TAKE A WALK IN THE WOODS
What better way to get some fresh air and exercise than a walk in the woods? There’s so much for little ones to see and do. You could search for animals, learn about different trees or have a teddy bear’s picnic.
Or why not make your own treasure hunt and give them a list of items to find.
There’s also the Gruffalo Spotter app which has interactive trails in 26 different forests!
Most animal sanctuaries are free to enter and just ask for a donation to help towards the animals’ care. They’re a great opportunity for teaching older kids about animal welfare and the importance of looking after pets.
If you live close enough to the beach, this has got to be high on your list. A walk on the beach, paddle in the sea and picnic is a lovely way to spend a day without spending any money!
VISIT FAMILY OR FRIENDS
A very simple but easy and free way to get out of the house! If you have a group of Mum friends, why not arrange to each host a play date. You’ll get a change of scenery, the kids can play together, and you’ll get some much needed adult conversation!
There are lots of child friendly museums that are free to visit. Check out the places shortlisted for the Family Friendly Museum Award for inspiration!
There’s also plenty of outdoor galleries to visit such as The Yorkshire Sculpture Park
If we’re out shopping, I always pop into the local pet shop. It can be dull for kids to trudge round the shops so stopping at the pet shop breaks up the boredom. Ollie loves to watch all the different animals, especially the tropical fish.
We go to our local park regularly to play on the swings and slide. It’s completely enclosed so Ollie can run around freely and burn up some energy! We usually take a football and kick that around for a while too. We’re lucky to have quite a few parks within driving distance so we visit different ones for a change of scenery.
I’m sure there are lots of other great places to take toddlers for free. Got an idea? Leave it in the comments to inspire other parents!