So you have been asked to babysit your favourite little person (who is over 2 and does actually care about leaving the house) but don’t know what to do? I am here to help! Sure, there are the standard trips to the zoo, aquarium or museum, but these can be expensive and ridiculously busy on school holidays. The local park isn’t all that fun after the millionth visit in a month, so it is time to think outside the box and create some magical memories with your favourite little person!
Here are my top 5 suggestions of activities with kids that you may not know about, and the bonus is they are either very low or no cost adventures!
1. Shopping Centres
Most of the major shopping centres (think something with at least a Target, Kmart or Big W) have a small indoor playground that the kids can play on for free! It is great for killing a bit of energy when it is wet and you can then go for a coffee so everyone wins!
Pro Tip: Make sure you have hand sanitizer ready because they are germ breeding grounds and don’t assume that they can’t get out or do a runner. They know you are vulnerable and know you may not realise there is a second exit!
Libraries run a huge number of programs during school terms for little ones (Rhyme Time was a favourite meet up for my Mothers Group even before our kids could talk) and most do extra activities over school holidays like Story Time or even iPad programs for the bigger kids. If your local library isn’t running activities (check their website for details), even just a visit for a read of a few books is fun when you are 6!
Pro Tip: Libraries also loan out DVD’s if you need some more family-friendly titles in your house for a few days, and don’t forget libraries are free to join!
3. Train / Plane Spotting
Kids love things that move that they don’t get to see very often. Enter stage left the train station or an airport! You don’t have to get on a train or a plane, but going to watch the comings and goings is always fun for little people and can even be done from the car if you can find the right spot like an airport viewing area.
Pro Tip: Some airport viewing areas are so popular they have semi-permanent food or coffee vans on site and there is almost always a coffee shop near a train station. It can be a fun afternoon adventure with ice cream or cake, just in time to hype them up on sugar before dropping them home.
4. Public Transport
Kids love things that move – see Activity 3 above. But you will certainly get bonus points for actually taking them on an adventure in anything that isn’t a car! Make use of whatever public transport your town or city has, and to little people that never get to go on a bus, even a 5 minute trip to the shops and back is magic.
Pro Tip: Little ones move fast so if you are embarking on a train, tram, ferry or bus adventure make sure you keep them close and don’t get distracted. You can check Instagram later.
Almost everyone has had a Happy Meal in their time, and Maccas is handy to feed them and keep them occupied with their playgrounds! Sure it isn’t exactly a nutritious meal (although you now can get healthier sides like apple slices!), but it is a special treat which is what aunties are for! Almost every McDonald’s will have a playground, some of which are actually indoors so are a good option if its either raining or too hot for the park.
Pro Tip: This is another occasion when you will need hand sanitizer before doing anything else, and sometimes the smaller little people can get a little scared up in the rabbit warren of tunnels and slides so be prepared to go in for a rescue mission.
Whatever you decide to do with your favourite little person, just remember they are generally just happy to be with you (although may miss Mum and Dad). You don’t have to spend a lot of money and it doesn’t have to be the worlds most amazing activity. They will love anything you take them to do, even if it is just a quick bus ride because it is something different, and it’s with you.
Happy babysitting ladies.
Love Gwen xx
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