As a new mom (and consequently a new germaphobe) I’m always looking for things to do with my daughter that will get us out-and-about while somehow dodging the crowds and keeping things on the cheap. It’s not that I am cheap, but I’m a damn good budgeter and I don’t feel I need to spend hundreds of dollars on classes with a 12 month old when truly, I’m just trying to get out of the house. Let us be honest, we both are. I’m not sure if this list would apply to outings with more than one child but for just one kiddo – it worked for us.
- BassPro Shop or Cabellas
Yeah, really. On any given Tuesday afternoon you and your little bundle can enjoy the great artificial outdoors rain or shine in this peaceful retail environment. Grab a cup of coffee at the restaurant and explore all of the cool outdoorsy things they have to offer. My daughter and I enjoyed pointing out the different animals, seeing the (live!) ducks in their indoor pond – don’t forget to check out the fish tank! This was a great way for our little family to spend an hour or two.
2.) The Park!
Obviously, you’ll need to plan the park for a day with good weather. And maybe the park is SO obvious that it shouldn’t make a list. But hey, I remember having a LOT of questions about what to do when my daughter was about 6 months old and needing more stimulation than a ceiling fan or crinkle toys. So here we go. Insert park. My germaphobic self took my 8 month old first thing in the morning. I had a theory that if I got there before all the other kids that she was less likely to contract anything that might be going around since I read something about bacteria and viruses only having a 2 hour lifespan post contamination. Which would have given the entire night between gobs of children. But who knows if that’s true – Google is inherently unreliable.
3.) Free Promos
Almost everywhere in town USUALLY offers a free intro day gyms especially. Fit4Mom and The Little Gym come to mind. If you google in your area, you will probably find 2-3 baby/kid gyms within 20-30 minutes of each other. It’s a one time “freebie” deal and is there to help you decide if it’s something you want to spend money on but I suggest going to check out ALL these places even if you never sign up. What’s there to lose? Just your sanity staying inside all day with a baby! You might find something worth your money and at the very least you had an experience out for the day.
4.) Library Story Time
It’s amazing how as I’m writing this, I feel like these are all so obvious – but seriously before I became a mom I’m pretty sure I only noticed the library if it was right in my face. What can I say? Kindle changes lives. Libraries are often the hidden gems of our communities. They often have 2-3 weekly storytimes for babies and toddlers. You may even find a toy area or a toddler play area. Our local library had a train, puppet show, coloring, kids computer learning area and a play kitchen. It was great. As for the germaphobe in me, I’d always wash my daughters hands on the way out the door ( and then use a gentle hand sanitizer in the car..because you know..first time mom).
5.) Host a baby play date with friends
This of course will depend largely on your interest in networking but hosting baby play dates with 3-4 other mom friends is a great way to build community while socializing yourself and baby in a more relaxed setting. Have everyone bring a snack or brunch-y item (Mimosas? Cinnamon rolls? Quiche?) You can always set rules forth like, oh, I don’t know – please postpone if your kid is sick or has been sick within the last 24 hours? Just saying. It’s not rude to be honest about how you do your mom thing!
6.) Find Open Hours
Believe it or not, some kid places around town that regularly charge for play time have a monthly or weekly “open” time where you can go play for free. Keep in mind these hours are often limited and have a maximum amount of people they can let in but I’ve literally never had an issue. You’ll have to call around or search online in your area since these opportunities will vary by location.