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Free things to do with toddlers whilst on maternity leave

(29 Posts)
2015mom Sat 22-Apr-17 13:35:33

I am on maternity leave and I wanted some tips on doing free stuff with my DS1 and DS2. DS2 is only 10 weeks so he will be in a sling when we are out and about.

DS1 is 19 months so needs more stimulation. I did tnot baby classes with DS1 when on maternity leave with him but I don't want to commit to a full term so I will take them to play and go sessions instead.

There is Messy play at local school which is only £2 a session.

I take them both to the local parks and will be taking them to other parks. I also take him to the library and to feed the ducks etc.

I wanted to get more ideas of free stuff to keep him entertained.

Can anybody help?

Macarena1990 Sat 22-Apr-17 13:43:17

Are there any free museums near you? We are in London and there are a good few which often run free stuff for preschoolers or have plenty to keep them entertained. I find most have a picnic area so you are not forced to spend in the museum cafe.

Not free, but there are often really good deals on annual/monthly passes to soft play and similar. Our local soft play sells a monthly unlimited pass for £10.00. Have a look on groupon too.

imsorryiasked Sat 22-Apr-17 14:03:52

Most libraries have a free rhyme time session once a week.
Local churches often have a stay and play session once a week - you don't have to attend the church.
Do you have a toy library nearby?

2015mom Sat 22-Apr-17 14:10:01

Thanks I will look into all of those.

Yes we have a toy library which I am going to go to when DS1 finishes nursery, we have reduced his nursery to one full day now so halved the costs.

I will look into museums actually I just thought he was too young for that I will look into library rhyme time too

Thank you

2015mom Sat 22-Apr-17 14:10:32

I never knew soft play did monthly unlimited play

AndNowItIsSeven Sat 22-Apr-17 14:11:54

Our soft play is £60 a year and £40 for additional siblings.

2015mom Sat 22-Apr-17 14:29:19

That is brilliant! What huge savings I need to call around lol

2015mom Sat 22-Apr-17 14:29:48

Not many Softplays in our area though

BrucesTooth Sat 22-Apr-17 14:35:17

Try your local NCT branch, many/most run baby and toddler groups. Also try local church halls for toddler groups, as well as children's centres/family hubs. Would second libraries and museums too.

Earlybird Sat 22-Apr-17 14:41:57

DD used to love going to the train station to watch the trains arrive and depart. We'd watch the people and talk about what they were carrying, interesting hats, etc. We'd also stop along the way and get a sticky bun as a treat.

In the warmer months, we did lots of picnics in local parks. We'd visit the playground for a bit, have our picnic and maybe go back to the playground again.

We'd also walk to the river and watch activity there - boats, people fishing, etc.

viques Sat 22-Apr-17 14:45:45

Have you got a city farm near you? most toddlers are happy for lots of visits and as long as you are careful with hand hygiene you will be fine.

Apparently joining the NT is a good idea if you use it often,and have houses nearby, and a car! Lots of space for running and a lot have decent play areas too, now the weather is getting better(allegedly) you could take a picnic .

Orangedaisy Sat 22-Apr-17 14:47:36

Not entirely free but bus or train rides occupy mine very well.

2015mom Sat 22-Apr-17 19:29:38

Thank you everybody that is very helpful... suppose it's easy as a toddler because they aren't demanding they just want to get out of the house like it's a jail...

What is nt?

Spudlet Sat 22-Apr-17 19:33:18

What's your area like? Rural, city, small town? Roughly where are you?

Lots of places around here do season passes but if you're not in Norfolk that's no help to you grin

We have a local Forest Holidays park which is open to none guests. There's a decent coffee shop, a playground, free parking and lots of paths to explore. I love it there. Also, some wildlife trusts have sites with free parking that you can walk around and explore.

LonginesPrime Sat 22-Apr-17 19:44:31

Agree that National Trust and English Heritage are great options if you have transport.

Xmasbaby11 Sat 22-Apr-17 19:47:54

For me the easiest way to entertain my 2 yo while on maternity leave was playgroup. There are loads local to us but the best was daily one I could walk to - cost just £1.50 - 9.30 to 11.30. I didn't go every day but at least once a week. Toddlers got a snack and it was free hot drinks for adults so a real bargain and great way of meeting local parents.

2015mom Sat 22-Apr-17 19:49:29

I am from Birmingham. I live in the edge so near farms etc and we have a huge park. One man said the park is bigger than Central Park in New York which i doubt it is but it is big lol.

Are there any websites for finding local parks in certain areas

2015mom Sat 22-Apr-17 19:52:45

Hey xmas baby we have loads of those groups I agree they seem great especially the two hour sessions offering snacks for toddlers and hot drinks for adults .. I have them scheduled in my calendar and will check some out

There are some which charge £5 and offer no snacks or hot drinks... the local church ones seem like the best ones to go

Even messy play at local schooo is £2 for two hours ... it coincides with his nap but I have been planning to put him to sleep earlier to get him there for 1.15 but they do say bring toddler anytime between 1.15 and 3.15

AndNowItIsSeven Sat 22-Apr-17 19:56:56

Ring round your local churches they have the best toddler groups . They are often round by lovely old ladies that will hold your baby while you have a wee . They offer home made cake and coffee for about £1.

AndNowItIsSeven Sat 22-Apr-17 19:57:18

Plus group entry included in the £1.

2015mom Sat 22-Apr-17 20:04:57

Thanks I will do

Mmmmm homemade cake yes please

Xmasbaby11 Sat 22-Apr-17 20:37:52

Libraries are good too. You don't need to go to a session - children's libraries have toys and of course lovely books. I used to go for an hour or two most weeks.

Xmasbaby11 Sat 22-Apr-17 20:38:52

I had to take my toddler out twice daily so I was well versed in all local facilities!

Xmasbaby11 Sat 22-Apr-17 20:39:48

I think the health visitor gave me a list of all local baby groups etc - also there were notices in the gp surgery.

2015mom Sat 22-Apr-17 21:10:00

Yeah I am at that stage with 19 month old .. I need to take him out every morning to tire him out and then he will have a very good nap for 2 1/2 hours and then the afternoon we chill at home.. or take him out if I have not taken him out in the morning

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