With the necessary expenses that come along with having a toddler, including food, diapers and training pants, clothing and daycare, it’s a good thing that entertaining a toddler is relatively inexpensive. Toddlers are curious, constantly learning about the world around them, and are therefore easily entertained.
Outdoor Activities for Toddlers
Spending time outside with your toddler is a great way to help them explore and learn, and it’s absolutely free. Whether you take them in your back or front yard, to a neighborhood playground, or on a walk, they will have a good time observing their surroundings. Spending time in the sunlight also helps toddlers produce vitamin D, which aids in healthy bone development. Allowing toddlers to run around outside can often expend their energy, making them more likely to take regular naps and go to bed at a reasonable time.
While your toddler is spending time outside, just be sure that you keep some water and snacks, such as fruit and crackers, on hand, and put sunscreen on them – a bit of sunlight is good for children, but you don’t want them to absorb too many harmful UV rays.
Local Libraries and Museums
Another free activity for toddlers is going to story time at your local library. It’s a good chance for them to interact with other kids their age, and reading is always great for their language development. If you want other educational activities for your toddler, check to see if there is a children’s museum near you. Most children’s museums are toddler-friendly, and many in large cities offer special days and times just for toddlers and babies. For example, the Austin Children’s Museum offers a “Baby Bloomers” program, where each Monday morning children aged three and under can play in special exhibits just for them. The admission for most children’s museums is under $10 per person, making it a very budget-friendly option.
Joining and Forming Toddler Playgroups
Most cities also have playgroups that are free or low-cost. A good way to find them is by doing an internet search or browsing sites like MeetUp.com. Not only will your toddler get to play with other children, but you will get to meet other parents and have some adult conversation. If there are no playgroups in your area, you could start your own by posting a Craigslist ad, placing fliers at your local community center or gym, or starting a MeetUp.com group of your own.
If you’re unable to get out of the house, you can always provide your toddler with some plastic containers or boxes and, believe it or not, they will be entertained. It doesn’t take much to make toddlers happy, and they absolutely love stacking things and knocking them over. Put on the radio, let them dance around a bit and before you know it, they will have tired themselves out.
That’s the beauty of parenting a toddler: they are so easy to please, and most of the time they just want to be around you, imitating what you’re doing. Cherish this stage of their lives, because it won’t always be this easy, or this cheap, to entertain your child.