As a parent, finding things to do with your toddler can sometimes be a part-time job, and as a parent of a toddler, you are always looking for things to keep them entertained. And for some reason, probably a little after the tv was invented, society decided that sticking your kids in front of a tv all day wasn’t really a good idea.
There are a million lists of 200 things to do with your toddler and 100,000 things to do with your toddler that don’t include tv, but most of those things involve some sort of money. I wanted to explore some activities that will not only save you money but will also be fun for your toddler too. And don’t worry parents these don’t cost any money and won’t have any hidden fees involved.
Free Idea #1: Take Your Toddler to Watch Construction
At first, this idea seems extremely lame because you think to yourself, why would I want to watch construction, it’s annoying. If you think about it a little further though, you’ll realize, oh, wait, my toddler may like it. It’s important here again that I stress the age of toddler. If you take your 6-month-old baby, they might not be too big of a fan and if you take, your 12-year-old son, he may also wonder what’s wrong with you.
Now you’re one objection off the bat may be to say, but wait, there are no construction sites anywhere near me. To that I would say, as someone who’s lived in America for a very long time, the only guarantees in life are death, taxes, and construction in your town. I can literally walk out of my house and within a half mile radius there are two major construction sites happening.
I should make a note here that obviously make sure you aren’t close enough that rocks and debris aren’t flying into your child or you. Make sure you’re a safe distance away and in a safe area. I will guarantee you though that whether you have a son or a daughter, they’ll be amazed by all the different trucks and dirt and rocks they’ll see.
Free Idea #2: Take a Trip to The Library
This one gets bonus points because it’s also educational. If you’re like me, you probably forgot that libraries existed after college. But I have great news for you, if you live in a town in America or another 1st world country (sorry people reading this in countries that are 2nd and 3rd world) you most likely have a town library. Now I know what you’re saying, hey this isn’t free because I’m a taxpayer and it comes out of my taxes. To that I say, when I said free, I meant, out of your pocket that day costs.
The library is a great place for a couple of different reasons. First, if you are in the heat of summer or the dead of winter and it’s extremely cold or hot, it’s a great place to either cool off after watching construction or warm up after being outside sledding (which wasn’t a free activity idea but since I said it you can throw that in if you live where there’s snow). Most kids’ sections are filled with children’s books and even some stuffed animals and little games that will get your child excited to be at the library. Just make sure they don’t get too excited or else the angry old librarian will yell at them to quiet down and stop having fun.
Free Idea #3 Visit Your Local Pond or Park
No, I’m not taking the obvious one and saying go to the swings or slides at the park. If you’re a parent and you haven’t figured that one out yet, you may want to get your head examined. I’m talking about the park where there’s potential animals.
I know, no toddler wants to stand at a pond or walk through the park and not see animals, so if you know none are there then maybe try a different place. But my son and I can hang out for a while at my local pond just watching the ducks and geese living life on the water. Bonus points if they’re doing construction at the park, you might as well bring lunch and a blanket and plan to stay there the rest of the day.
There’s something about toddlers and seeing animals that gets them more excited than I would be to see Tom Brady. So, if you can find a place that has a bunch of different animals that you can watch, you are really set. (Also, if you’re reading this and the park you go to has Tom Brady let me know and I’ll make sure I get there.)
Free Idea #4: The Recycling Center
Make sure you are very clear when reading this that I mean the recycling center and not the town garbage dump. The recycling center doesn’t smell great but I’m not recommending you hang out somewhere with straight up garbage.
The key to this one is you want to go when there are actually trucks around, not after it closes or else you’re going to be looking at recycling bins and maybe a ton of flies and bugs if you’re lucky. Watching trucks pick up recycling is pretty popular with the toddlers these days just ask, “Thrash N’ Trash” and some of their videos with 10 million plus views on YouTube. (and only 5 million are from my son). This could be a fun way to spend a morning or an afternoon, watching all the trucks go in and out of the recycling center. And you might even get a couple horn honks if you’re lucky.
Free Idea #5: Watch a Youth Sports Game
There’s nothing toddlers love to do more than watch other kids. So, finding a Little League baseball or softball game at your local field is a great idea. My son loves to hear the crowd cheering and kids throwing and hitting baseballs. Bonus points if you bring a ball of your own and you can play with your toddler as the game is going on. Just make sure that your son or daughter doesn’t try and run out on the field.
These ideas are easy to do and they shouldn’t take too much strain to find these places. Even if you are running on 1 or 2 hours of sleep, pop your toddler in a stroller or wagon or whatever you push them in and take a walk to one of these places.
Now I can’t guarantee you they’ll last there for hours and hours, or even want to do any of these on the day you try and take them. After all, trying to predict what a toddler wants to do and how their mood is going to be is like trying to predict who’s going to win the Superbowl each year (actually it’s pretty easy when Tom Brady is in the league). Anyway, give these a shot and hey, if worse comes to worse, at least you won’t lose any money.