photo credit: KOMUnews
Early this month, Jessica shared Winter Outdoor Activities On a Budget. Today’s guest post by Jocelyn Anne continues the series with some indoor activities you can share with your family without spending a lot of cash.
When January hits, there’s a definite change in pace, and quite often, mood. After all, it follows one of the most jam-packed, festive, exciting times of the entire year, three holidays and almost more happiness than one kid can take! January, on the other hand, can seem dull, boring, and even worse, bring with it the case of the blues or the impending cabin fever. If you’re motivated to avoid the winter blues and find affordable (free!) activities for you and your kids to stay busy and entertained, here are a few of my favorite places to hit!
The library is not just for books! First of all, it’s simply a good place to hang out! It’s warm (you can turn down/off your own home heat while you’re gone), safe, educational and cozy! You can, of course, curl up with a book, or you can play games, play on the computer, or go to any number of weekly/monthly activities that your library is sure to offer. In addition, many libraries offer discounts and sometimes even free passes to local museums and attractions like the local science discovery center.
The Pet Store
Unless your kids will become too attached to a pet you just can’t take home, the pet store is a great place to go spend some time! Play with the energetic pets waiting for homes and enjoy snuggling up with the cute, cuddly, sleepy ones.
Food Factory/Grocery Store/Bakery Tours
If you live in a location with food factories, these make some wonderful ways to spend afternoons! You’ll get to see the entire process from the ingredients coming in off the truck to the final product getting loaded on a truck for the store. Highly educational, and very fun too; plus there are samples involved! If you don’t have food factories near, tour your local grocery store or bakery – these can be just as fascinating! And, if you gather some friends and neighbors together to go with, it’ll be a big party!
Kids Eat Free Restaurants
Purchase something cheap for yourself and then treat the kids to a fun meal out! Kids will go wild over their strawberry banana waffles and you’ll go wild over a free meal and hours spent having fun outside the house! Try Kids Meal Deals to search for restaurants near you.
The Ice Rink
If your town has a local ice rink and you can find inexpensive skates (thrift stores sell them very cheap) or skates to rent, this is an excellent way to get everyone out and to burn off some steam while you’re at it! Skates overly expensive? Find your best slippery shoes, bundle up those toes in extra socks and go have some slip-n-slide fun! Coming home with kids exhausted from too much fun is a good thing!
Sometimes towns have local greenhouses that are very willing for some volunteer help from kids! Help water plants, plant baby seeds, carry plants around, etc. You’ll be warm, out of the house, and playing in dirt – mid winter! How much better does it get?
Local Crafting Store
Craft stores typically have free children’s craft sessions at least once a week. Find the ones that interest your family and go get your craft on!
Kiddie gyms are a blast, but can also be very expensive. Call around and see if you can get free day passes or trial passes. Usually gyms are more than happy to get you in for a day and will happily extend a free guest pass, meaning a Saturday fun day for your kids!
The Thrift Shop
Got some girly girls? Head out to a local thrift shop where you can play dress up all afternoon long! And, who knows, you might find some amazing deals while you’re at it!
The Assisted Living Home
Sometimes nothing puts a smile on a face as much as putting a smile on someone else’s. If you have a local assisted living home, consider showing up with cookies or coming to play games, paint nails, or perform skits or silly songs. Your family will be sure to brighten the day of someone, and in turn, have a brighter day in your own family.
Community Rec Center
Check out your own community rec center and see what kinds of free activities they offer. Getting on their mailing list will keep you up to date with all the options your kids might just love.
When it’s too cold and miserable to bundle everyone up and trundle outside, bring everyone into the best room of the home – the kitchen! Whether you have a baking party or a cooking party or even a bread making party (bread dough makes great pizza dough after all!), you can easily spend an entire afternoon in the afternoon making fun messes and tasty treats! Play some fun music for random break out dance parties while you’re at it!
Jocelyn Anne writes full time for Air & Water and branches out into guest blogging whenever she gets a chance; family and frugal living her two top passions.