Toddler Activities on the Limited Budget
It's hard to stay home with a toddler all day, but often staying home with your little one means you're working on a very limited budget. What do you do with yourself and that active child without spending a lot of money on entertainment? Get creative!
Playdates are all but free if you just head over to a friend's house. Pack a diaper bag with some water and snacks and head over to visit a friend who has children near the same age as your own. It's amazing how well toddlers can play with each other or around each other when they were driving you crazy at home. Having more than one toddler together seems to happily occupy the kids for long stretches of time giving you more freedom to chat with your grown-up friend and to relax a bit during the day.
If you have a park within walking distance, skip the stroller if you can and take a very leisurely stroll down the street. The park might be the ultimate destination, but your child will have a blast looking at bugs, dancing down the sidewalk, running after butterflies and stomping her feet in puddles. Taking a walking journey outdoors isn't for the faint of heart, but it takes up quite a bit of time, gives your little one a chance to explore and lets you amble along beside her taking some welcome breaths of fresh air.
Any stroller will do, but a jogging stroller is best for some serious power walking. When your little one starts to get antsy being inside, grab some snacks, put her in the stroller, lace up your sneakers and hit the road. Jog if you dare, but just walking quickly listening to her chatter on in her seat is actually quite relaxing. The stress that builds up inside during the day is easily burned off while you work up a sweat. Not only will you be attacking that stress and irritation that builds up, you might also work off a few pounds from the baby weight that seems to never leave.
A variation on walking, a toddler big trailer is great for little ones who like speed and adventure. Hook up the bike trailer to your own bike and strap in your little one. Be sure to use the proper safety gear. Then hop on the bike and race away down neighborhood streets. You can find new parks to explore together and look for paved nature trails or pathways to zoom down. Your toddler will likely love the speed and adventure, and you'll enjoy the break in the day and the benefits of exercise. Just avoid rough paths as they can get more than a bit rough under your little one's seat.
If the heat is going to your head, pack it up and head to the mall. Of course, the mall is only a great place to play if you have some serious willpower to avoid the sales. If not, you might skip the mall for now. Head to the mall before most of the stores open when the mall walkers are on the move. Put your little one in the stroller and get going around the mall burning off some energy and earning that Cinnabon you can pick at together.
Even when the mall is in full swing, your toddler can find plenty of ways to entertain herself. Look for aquariums, pet stores, fountains, games where you donate money and special displays. Many a toddler has been mesmerized by the laser images that dance on a marble floor promoting movies and special sales. Enjoy the comfort of the air conditioning and give your toddler something new to discover and play with, even if it's just throwing pennies in a fountain.
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