Cost effective things to do with a toddler during colder months
It may seem a strange time to take a holiday for some, the middle of January isn’t usually when you fight other staff members for a time slot off. But I work in retail, anyone who’s worked or works in retail understands the need for a bit of respite after the busy Christmas period and boy am I looking forward to it.
‘The best things in life are free.’
You got to love the long wait between weeks that comes with an earlier pay-day before Christmas, always rejoicing when we can buy those extra few presents for our loved ones. Not to put the entire male species in a bracket, but we do mostly leave gifts to the last-minute. This can make January a painfully long month, almost especially if you have children, they just seem to eat a lot more in colder weather I find. Maybe they start to get used to a full turkey dinner every evening and then expect this all year round like a mini King Henry VIII. So on a restricted budget (sorry Peppa Pig World and Paultons Park) I need to plan a list of activities suitable for the winters cold. I honestly don’t think I have the mental strength to watch the likes of Monsters Inc., Frozen and other such animated films for the entreaty of my week off.
Swimming – Come rain or shine you can always count on your local swimming pool to provide a little entertainment for you and your child. Of course it isn’t the warmest feeling when you have to dry and re-clothe your toddler while you basically drip dry, especially during these months. A trip to the pool should easily cost under a tenner and at the end you have yourself an exhausted little one and an early night, winner.
Visit a farm – It’s a great way to interact with a two-year old. There are so many things to see, do and touch, it’s a whole new adventure for a toddler. For added cost efficiency why not bring along a packed lunch (don’t forget the oversized flask of coffee). Then after a car journey of farm-yard animal dreams, grab an animal book (you’re sure to have plenty) and get your young ones to point out what animals they saw that day.
Indoor play areas – a fantastic way to cure your toddler’s boredom. Unfortunately at times their whole world is a play area, my son seems to think he is the Flash, which would be pretty cool if it wasn’t practised in our bedroom at five in the morning. Again, there is no reason this should cost over ten pounds. But be warned, you may leave ten pounds lighter in weight after a session chasing a two-year old through tunnels, slides and obstacles designed for, yes that’s right, a two-year old! I’m not sure why they don’t cash in and double up as a gym for adults, it certainly warms you up and more on a freezing cold day. I’m still recovering from the physical and mental scarring from my last trip…
The woods – They are outside, extremely interesting for children, you get a nice hit of fresh air, you can let your child run free(ish) without worrying if they are going to run out into a road and the best part is it’s free. Remember to take a bag of extra clothing and plenty of wipes, those will be to line your car with for your return trip.
And Finally (providing you have one) Your own back garden. While it may have seen better days, left to fend for itself over the harsher months, there’s no reason you can’t put it to use. I plan on setting out a treasure hunt, purposefully placing objects for him to find and play with. My son is struggling with his speech at the moment so we can find the objects together and I can tell them what they are called, getting him to respond as best he can, perhaps treating him for his efforts.
So there you have it, my plan of action for a successful and cost-effective week off with my family. I would love to read your other suggestions.
– MojoDad Jim