I love being at home. There is something so refreshing and renewing about spending a day at home. I love routine, the ability to do what I want and easy access to healthy food and snacks from my pantry. It’s familiar and cozy and it’s a place where I really get to connect with Alexie over her favorite book or while playing with her favorite toy.
But there are those days when you just need to get out! Maybe it’s been rainy or you’ve just been home for a few days in a row. Either way, you are so tired of doing the same thing and looking at the same four walls. You can only read the same book so many times before you start to worry about your sanity.
Fo me, I find the Canadian winters to be particularly difficult. Now that Alexie is a little older, I’m already preparing a list of place and things we can do, especially when the temperature dips below -30’C.
Here are some of my favorite things to do and places to go when I just need to get out of the house. Most are free while others have a small cost per visit. Some ideas are indoors while others are outdoors and totally weather dependant.
- A walk – Weather permitting, going for a simple walk, even just around the block can do a world of good. It’s great exercise, the fresh air alone will help tucker out a little one. I often walk to the post office or grocery store. And it’s totally free, providing you don’t have to pick something up at the store.
- the library – This one is often underrated by many parents. I think it’s because people only think to go there to borrow books. But for a parent, this is like a magical land. Most children sections have an array of toys, activities and of course books you haven’t read 10 times today. Even if you don’t check out a single book, it’s worth the trip. And it’s a great, free option when the weather is not cooperating.
- the Park – Chances are, you’ve been to a park with your kids before. But do you go to the same park all the time? If you answered yes, then maybe it’s time to hit up another park in a neighboring community. A 10 minutes drive and you’ve found a new place to explore and most likely new people to chat with. During the summer, we love to hit up the parks that have splash pads to cool off a little.
- Bookstore kids section – When I need to get out, I often head over to my local Chapters bookstore. I grab some Starbucks and then head over to the kid’s section. It’s kind of like a library. It’s got all kinds of books to read, and toys to play with. They often have a few of their newest toys on display and ready for testing. Minus the Starbucks, it’s a free trip if you can manage to leave without buying something.
- Visit a friend – As a mom, chances are you know someone who has kids. Go and visit them. My sister-in-law lives a few blocks down and we go through phases where we don’t really see much of each other. But every time we do get together, we always comment on “how we should do this more often” especially since we are both stay at home moms, both desperate to find something to do during the week. It’s free and it’s great to reconnect and have an adult conversation.
- Go to a playgroup, drop-in center or Hub – There are some great programs out there for moms with little ones. Drop-in center and Best Start Hubs are common and often consist of a large playroom where you can let your kids loose to play for a while. I personally would go crazy if it wasn’t for my weekly trip to my church’s playgroup. The kids play with the various toys, maybe do a craft and have a story time. And us parents take a few moments to connect over a cup of coffee. It’s really my sanity saver, and I’ve met some really great friends.
- Look for a drop-in class – There are several community and fitness centers that have blocks of time open to the public for a small fee. We like to head to the pool every now and then and go for a swim. Sure it might cost a few bucks but it’s a great way to get active, get out of the house and have some fun.
- Indoor playground – these indoor play zones are gaining popularity. There are all kinds and they have a range of prices to match. Our local indoor playground costs about $10-$15 during the week and a little more on the weekends. But it can be a great treat. Especially when the weather is bad or during the long cold winters.
- Science Center or Museum – does your town have a science center or children’s museum. It might be worth the investment, especially if your kids are preschoolers or older. I have a friend who has visited the same science center with her kids 10 times in a 2-week span and the kids were still ready to go back for more. A membership is the most costly thing on my list, but if your kids are looking for a fun and educational place to go, this might be a good option.
These are some of my favorite places to go. Where do you like to go with your kids when you just desperately need to get out of the house?