Earlier in the year, I wrote about three places I’ve taken Toddler L as part of a day out. “That sounds a pretty boring post, Dave”, I hear you say. Well, you might be right. However, the difference was that these were alternative days out.
We’re not talking about the normal stuff – you know, soft play, the park or the zoo. Instead, my days out comprised of pet shops, DIY stores and furniture shops. Why? Well, a pet shop is basically a free zoo. A DIY store has loads of things to push, pull, open etc to entertain a toddler. And a furniture shop is basically a huge soft play. There was method to the madness.
With another six months now passed since that initial post, I thought I’d share three MORE alternative days out that I’ve discovered. These may not be as ‘out there’ as my original three suggestions, but they still serve a similar purpose – they entertain your toddler without needing to fork out money.
Once a place for the old and boring, Garden Centres are now becoming a regular haunt for Toddler L and I – no quips about me being old and boring please. I wouldn’t say that I enjoy them, but they certainly serve a purpose. There’s usually so much to look at and so much space to run around in that it keeps Toddler L occupied for a good few hours.
You’ve got the outside aspect which features stuff like flowers, trees, sheds, plant pots and decorative animal statues. Then inside you have seasonal stuff (great at Xmas!), toys, a cafe and (sometimes) pets. That’s a hell of a lot of stuff in one place. By the end of it, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’ve had multiple days out in the space of just a few hours. What’s more, it’s all free – just don’t get caught stealing the food in the cafe.
We became proper old people today by willingly spending the afternoon at a garden centre. It wasn’t all bad though. We found a giant plant pot which we were able to dump the toddler in. She was unable to escape, which meant that the missus and I could have a few hours to ourselves whilst she was kept safe and secure. Who needs a baby sitter?
Since having a kid, we now do our food shopping online. Although this is great as it means we get our food delivered to our door with no travelling, it does get rid of an alternative day out. With loads of aisles to run down, people to look at, stuff to touch and baskets to put items, a supermarket really is the stuff of dreams for a Toddler.
It sounds proper loserish, but we will occasionally go to a supermarket just to have a wander. We have a fully stocked fridge and freezer back home, but I still find myself browsing the aisles, all in the name of toddler entertainment. This is agony – I hate food shopping at the best of times, let alone being in a supermarket when I’m not actually shopping. Still, the upside is that some now give out free fruit. Entertainment and food – might as well move there.
We all know how important it is to encourage your toddler to read. We have a fair few books at home which we read regularly, but we don’t really have the space, money or inclination to create our own study / reading room. Luckily, we don’t have to. It turns out that most towns have a place called a library. This is a building packed to the rafters with – you’ve guessed it – books!
This means you can head to the library for an afternoon of free reading. What’s more, you can also borrow these books should you choose. Mind blowing! We’ll often pop along to the library to check out some of the kid’s book. As Toddlers are annoying, we usually manage to read the first two pages of 100+ books before I get irritated and we head home. Why create your own library when you have a much better one down the road?
So those are three more alternative days out with your toddler. Do you actively do any of these with your kid(s) like I do? Are there any other places you’d consider to be alternative days out? Let me know below!