I’ve discovered I don’t do well cooped up in my house. I’m good for one day, but after that I start climbing the walls and I need to get out. Also? When we stay in, the kids play well together for about 10 minutes and then they start bickering and messing with my stuff.
So I’ve developed a list of rainy day outings (or snowy day outings…or too-hot day outings…whatever) that don’t cost anything but get us all out for a bit and restore some sanity.
-Indoor playgrounds — we find most of ours in malls and fast-food restaurants. I prefer the malls because there isn’t any food to tempt the kids there. I’d say if you’re going to a fast-food restaurant playground, have a clear discussion ahead of time about what, if anything, you’re buying there for the kids to eat so no one is disappointed.
-Free days — many museums, zoos, and other venues offer free days throughout the year. Some are even free year-round. Check out their websites and schedule the free days on your calendar to take advantage (and check out this post for more ideas).
–Free workshops and clinics — Home Depot, Lowes, Lakeshore Learning stores — and many others — offer free craft days and building workshops. Materials are usually free and they are drop-in programs so you can just show up without planning ahead.
-Storytimes — Barnes and Noble stores offer free storytimes for kids (the one near us includes a craft and snack as well!). Check the main website to find events at stores near you. Most local libraries also offer storytimes, and sometimes crafts and other fun activities as well.
-Visitor centers — We always check out park visitor centers when we go hiking. And there are a few that are worth visiting even if the weather’s no good for hiking. Our favorite has lifelike dioramas of local wildlife, binoculars for looking out the windows at the meadow, and a kids’ room with books and microscopes for exploring. And, of course, friendly docents who love talking to kids about nature.
I hope this helps! What do you do with the kids on days when the weather’s no good to go out?
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