The following is a guest post from busy mama, Jen, at 4tunate.net.
As a mother of quadruplets, I’m dreading the indoor days of winter. To avoid the winter blues, I’m always on the hunt for cheap outings to entertain my 4 active boys who are on the verge of turning three. To keep the walls from closing in on me this winter, I plan on frequenting these free venues and hope this list also gives you some sanity saving and money saving ideas to keep your family from the Winter Blues!
1. The Airport – Sure most people go there with baggage and a ticket to ride, but have you ever considered just visiting? We have become “Frequent Non-Flyers” by observing the planes taking off and taxing in, as well as people watching, rather than flying. There’s so much to take in that you might not normally have time for as a traveler. You may have to pay a small fee for parking, but fogging up the windows to catch a plane landing is always free.
2. Barnes and Noble – Barnes and Noble stores have a fantastic kids area, where reading and discovery are encouraged. They also have a train table that is a huge draw, as well as a bi-weekly story hour. Check with your local Barnes and Noble for details or on their online calendar.
3. Children’s Museum – Unless you have a family membership it will cost you, but did you know that many Children’s Museums host a monthly free night for families? It’s a great opportunity to check it out and see if a family membership would be worth the investment. They usually pay themselves off within the 2nd or 3rd visit, depending on your family size.
4. Pet Store – Think of it as a small zoo without the lines! Stores like PetSmart and Petco are great sources of entertainment for young ones with their variety of pets on display. You can check out the reptiles, birds, aquarium, and furry critters without spending a dime!
5. Chick-fil-A – I sure hope you have a Chick-fil-A near you, not only for the Chicken Sandwich, Waffle Fries, and Sweet Tea, but for the Free and Clean Kids Play Area. It’s an indoor playground oasis!
6. The Library – Your local library is a great resource with programs for nearly every age group varying from crafts, to hobby clubs, to preschool story time. It’s also a great place to connect with other moms in your community.
7. Shopping Mall – Resist adding stress to your shopping with little ones in tow and instead check out their play area. Lots of malls have really great areas for kids to climb and explore. One of our local malls even has a play kitchen and coloring tables. Another idea is to go early during walking hours and let your little ones burn off some energy and roam the open space.
When Jen (QuatroMama) is not folding Mt. Washmore, she chronicles the adventures, bloopers, joys, and challenges of raising quadruplets on her blog 4tunate.net. She enjoys sharing their unique experiences through candid posts, captivating photography, and enjoyable videos. 4tunate was recently named Best Parenting Blog by the Weblog Awards. Jen and her husband of 7 years, Brad, are thankful for the opportunity to share their multiple miracles and enjoy hearing from their family of blog readers.