Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Budget-Friendly Winter "Toddler" Activities

Daddy and me on Christmas

We are officially a one income family for the time being. This poses some limitations on our family. The limitations of the time being? I don't like the cold (although Mother Nature has been quite gentle so far this winter) or having cabin fever. I usually combat these limitations with spending money. It is practically a hobby.

Although our Christmas holidays were busy, Chris and I tried to relish in some family time. Normally, we would love to go to the mall on a wintery day, however, window shopping is not in our vocabulary. We brainstormed a list of activities we could do as a family, while saving our money. I put toddler in brackets because Rylyn isn't quite toddling yet and one could enjoy these activities at any age. The activities are both budget- and toddler-friendly, because right now we have both a budget and a toddler!

Budget-Friendly Winter "Toddler" Activity Ideas

Rylyn at her 1st Birthday Party
Entertain me and I will applaud
1. Visit family or friends. Cost? Car fuel. Perhaps some patience. Benefits...your children and you get to interact with some different people and hopefully ones with whom you love to spend time.

2. Go for a walk. Cost? Free. Unless you like to have a destination in mind, like Tim Horton's. If that is the case, I suggest maximizing any Gift Cards received over Christmas. Benefits...the exercise and fresh air is good for the body, mind and spirit. Your toddler will enjoy the change of scenery, especially if the majority of your house is painted beige, like ours.

3. Play in the snow or toboggan (on a very little hill with helmets). Cost? Car fuel and a toboggan. We have not seen much of the white stuff this year...yet... Benefits...exercise and change of scenery again.

4. Visit a pet store with aquariums. Cost? Car fuel. Not recommended for parents with a soft heart for furry friends or for their older children's big pouty could end up costing you more. If you live in the Hamilton Area, try Big Al's on Centennial Parkway. Benefits...watching fish is supposed to be relaxing. Your children will love looking at the different animals and you will love their reactions.

5. Swimming. Cost? Car fuel and usually around $8 for a family. If you choose to swim in your tub, it is a little cramped, but free. Benefits...low impact exercise and a new environment for your toddler to explore.

I love playing with new toys, especially the drum
Uncle AJ and Auntie Bekah bought me for Christmas
6. Go to church on Sunday. Cost? Tricky question...I'll leave that up to the theologians. Benefits? Rylyn loves the music and playing with other kids. For parents, support and food for the soul and spirit.

7. Go to an Early Years Centre.  Cost? Car fuel. Once again, if you live in the Hamilton Area, the OEYC at Limeridge Mall is open on Saturday, unlike the others which are only open Mon. - Fri. However, if you go to the mall and window shopping is not part of your vocabulary... Benefits...different toys with which your children may play and information and advice for parents if wanted.

Feel free to add your own ideas in the comment section below!

Bible Reflections:

"So he humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but that man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord." -Deuteronomy 8:3 NKJV

 -Jesus quotes these words when being tempted by Satan to turn stones into bread. No matter what our vice, we cannot live on it alone. Without the Breadgiver, we would not have bread to eat or enjoy. Sometimes we need to be encouraged to give thanks for the simpler things in life.

Rylyn eating her 1st Birthday Cake
Living on bread alone, not wise, on cake alone,
another story...


  1. Our arena has an hour of free tot skating every Tuesday and Thursday ALL YEAR long for kids 5 and under. They allow strollers on the ice so you could totally take a baby skating, I've seen moms just pushing strollers around the ice even without an older kid skating. Great exercise and a fun family outing or mommy play date time. Maybe something to look into in your area. :)

    This was from my cousin Mal! I hit delete rather than publish in my email by accident so I have reposted it here for all your enjoyment! Thanks for the great idea Mal!

  2. We love visiting pet stores with fish. It will keep my 2 year old entertained for almost an hour. Love the suggestion for church! Lots of churches have Wednesday night programs too!