Tomorrow is the first day of Spring Break in our town. Without vacation plans, keeping little ones occupied with a week of fun-filled constructive activity can be challenging--and expensive. Fortunately, hidden in our community are many places that inspire (and tire) our children, and don't cost a penny. Here is a list of our top ten favorite free excursions.
1. The Beach
We try to take full advantage of coastal living. Being only ten minutes from our favorite saltwater spot gives us an almost instant recharge whenever the weather permits. 2. Memberships
While they do require a sometimes chunky initial investment, memberships to local children's attractions will pay for themselves very quickly. After two trips to our local children's garden, we now go for free whenever the mood strikes us.
(Our community also offers membership to a children's zoo, a botanical garden, a research aquarium and a science museum, which we visited just last week.)3. The Library
Ever since Big B could focus his ocean-green eyes on a book, we have gone to the library faithfully every three weeks. Not only does the library give us a bag full of fresh reading material, but a lovely children's area with toys and a fabulous fish tank. 4. Playgrounds
Whether for fifteen minutes or an hour, not much beats a trip to the playground for an energy release. Little b is now old enough to point and use his syllables urgently whenever we pass one.
Bonus free excursion: If you have some time to kill, go on a playground scavenger hunt. Big B and I did this once, driving through our city trying to find every playground we'd never played on before. So much fun.5. The Park
We are so lucky to live within walking distance of a great city park. It is our destination when we need some exercise or want to feed the ducks, but we just want to stay close to home. For my big city friends, parks provide breaks in the noise that are vital for their little ones' well-being. 6. The Book Store
The children's section of any large book store these days has a toy supply, a train table, or at the very least, some kid-friendly furnishings. This is our number one rainy day excursion. I sip a latte and read a magazine, the boys play with the trains, and we take breaks for reading brand new never-been-read books.
(It also smells really nice there, like coffee and newsprint, two of my favorite things.)
7. The Pet Store
The pet store offers eye candy for all ages. I love taking little b there, because his excitement primes him for learning relatively easy words (cat, bird, fish, etc.).
8. Swimming Pools, Water Parks
Not only does our community have a free water park, but our Grammy and Papu, as well as several friends, have swimming pools. I try to keep towels, swim trunks, changes of clothes and sun screen in my car, just in case.9. The Mall
Yes, I said it. While the thought of going to the mall to buy clothing makes me dizzy, most large ones do have a free enclosed play area for kids of all ages. Big B and little b love it there. 10. Our Own Backyard
Each day I give thanks for this space. In the breezy spring morning with the doors open, in the hot summer afternoon with kiddie pools overflowing, in the cool winter evening sitting by the fire. This is our park, our playground, our every day free excursion.
Do you have any favorite free excursions to add to the list?