We all want to give our children everything, right? But that doesn’t mean that we need to break the bank when it comes to activities. And we have to make sure that whatever we are doing is fun for the entire family, not just the kids. I chose to splurge on one or two classes and/or memberships and then I get creative at home with a few activities. That way, not only am I saving a few dollars, but I am getting in some quality time with my little one as well. There are also so many fun and free things to do and explore in every city that will take years to accomplish!
I enrolled Meyer in a Tiny Tykes class at My Gym, which is a children’s fitness and play gym. There are comparable places everywhere that offer similar classes like Scooter’s Jungle and Gymboree if there are no My Gyms where you live. For $75/month, Meyer loves going to play with the other kids once a week and has developed social skills that she wouldn’t have otherwise, since she is not around kids all day. I also signed her up for a Baby Swim class at Academy Swim Club, which she went every Wednesday during the Spring to learn her swim skills. It was a little steep for $110/month, but once I felt that she knew the basics, I pulled her out of the class and we now practice at home in our pool once a week.
Every Friday, I take Meyer to the local library where she gets to pick out 4 books per week and also play in the kid’s room. Libraries are such a fun (and free) place to take your kids and there is usually at least one in every city. Most libraries even have a story time hour, where you can drop the kids off and go find a quiet corner to read. Because let’s be honest- how many books (without pictures) have you read since becoming a mother? We also got an annual membership to the Los Angeles Zoo, which was pretty affordable at $84 for the Individual Plus membership (Meyer is free until she is 2 years old). If your city has a zoo, check out what their memberships cost because they usually pay for themselves in a few visits. Zoos are such a fun and educational place to spend a lazy Sunday when you don’t want to be sitting around the house.
But when I do want to stay at home, I try to come up with a few activities to keep Meyer busy (and tire her out before nap time). Depending on how old your little one is, we love playing with Play-Doh (“don’t put that in your mouth!”), coloring in her coloring books (“don’t eat the crayons!”), playing dress up (I may enjoy dressing up like a Disney Princess more than Meyer) and having teepee movie time where we load up her teepee with blankets, stuffed animals and snacks and watch a movie of her choice. (Okay- it’s really a movie of my choice, but I at least make sure it is a G rated cartoon).
If you feel like you have no idea how to keep your little one entertained, check out one of my favorite websites, Red Tricycle (www.redtri.com). It has so many fun things to do in several of the major cities in the U.S. along with so many creative ideas on things to do at home to keep the little ones busy. Still not inspired? There are always the local parks and even little hidden jewels in every city that you may stumble upon that could become your favorite places to go.
My parents were visiting this week from Maine and while I went to work one day, they took care of Meyer. I could tell my dad was tired of the LA traffic when he asked me to find them something local to do. I had heard about the nearby William S. Hart Museum in Newhall (my mother-in-law took Meyer there earlier this year) but I had never been. Well, it was like I had sent my parents to an all expenses paid trip to Disneyland. They had a blast! You can walk along the old stomping grounds of the famed silent-film actor, tour his home, visit the animals that live there and look at all of the Western art & collectibles from William Hart’s life. And it’s absolutely free to boot! Whether you choose to venture out or stay inside, there are so many fun things to do with your little ones! And remember, its okay to act like a kid and really get into it. I certainly do!