Friday Tips: Cheap Fun for Kids and Parents

Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap:

Cheap fun around town

This was the first week I was completely done with work, and our whole family fully embraced summer.  We are lucky to live in a town that has a ton of cheap and/or free ways to for us to have a good time with our toddler, and we are using them to our full advantage!  When LP first came into our lives well looked into lots of ways to have him interact with other kids, find indoor playspaces (for winter mostly) and other “activities” for our kids.  We assumed that we would have to pay for these things, and we certainly found plenty of great options when we were able to pay for “drop in” playtime, etc.  However, over time we have learned more about other opportunities in our community that are fun, enriching, and FREE!  Here are just a few that we have taken advantage of recently:

  • Our town’s “family network” that offers free play groups weekly during the school year, and three times a week during the summer at different neighborhood parks.  These playgroups have been a fun way for LP to play with other kids his age and for the G-man (and now me too) to meet some other families.
  • Local parks!  We have a ton of parks near us – two in walking distance and many that are a short car ride away.  One of them even is near a commuter rail station – hence the fact that LP calls it the “choo choo train park.”
  • Nearby woods and hiking areas.  We live near a great reservation with lots of hikes, and it even has a program with guided hikes for families with kids once a week.
  • Our local pond.  We did pay $35 for a parking pass, but this pond has a great beach, swimming area, playground and picnic area.  We are able to go over in the mornings if we want, or even after LP’s nap for a swim and picnic dinner!
  • The library.  On one especially hot day we took a walk to our library, and we hung out in the children’s section for quite a while.  LP had fun playing with some of the puzzles and toys there, and he also picked out some books to read and check out.  The G-man and I took turns watching him and browsing for books ourselves and we all left with something fun to bring home!  Don’t forget story-time that most public libraries have – we haven’t gone yet, but we look forward to going soon.
  • Our own neighborhood.  We live on a street with lots of kids, and the nice afternoons are filled with bikes and sidewalk chalk up and down the street.  Even when people aren’t around LP has a great time playing in our backyard with some hand-me-down yard toys like his trucks and a watering can!

Don’t forget to explore what your area has to offer!  We found out about a lot of these opportunities by talking to parents at the park, googling our town name and “family activities” and checking the local library website.  See what is free and fun in your area!

 

Notes from the Year of Family

Vegan Goodness:

Today we ate:

  • Breakfast: Green smoothies, followed by blueberry muffins from The Joy of Vegan Baking.  Of course, when I said we were going to make muffins, LP ran to the cookbook shelf and pulled down out copy of Vegan Brunch, which he then referred to as the “muffin book.”  Apparently I make a lot of muffins from that book – who knew my little guy was so observant!
  • Lunch: Leftover edamame succotash for LP, Cesar salad and fried “vegan cream cheese” won-tons for mom and dad (it was a pregnancy craving – let’s just leave it at that).
  • Mom had some cornflakes and strawberries for a snack.
  • Dinner: We all enjoyed Guru’s Indian food with some AMAZING friends who came to visit and gave us both a break (since mom is overdue to have a baby and dad has been pulling double duty).  We had a great time and we both feel much more rested and rejuvenated for it!

Money Matters:
Today we spent the following:

  • $20.00 for the delicious take-out delivered by our wonderful friends!!

 

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