Now that I’m on
Statutory Maternity Pay zero pay, I’m trying to keep an eye on the pennies and reduce any unnecessary spending. Trust me as a major shopaholic this has not been an easy task for me so far!
I think many families experience a bit of a tight financial squeeze during the last part of maternity leave, so I therefore thought it would be a fun idea to put together a list of my top free (or very low cost) things to do outside of the house with Baby B. Hopefully this will show that you don’t need lots of pennies to get out of the house and have a great time with your baby.
1. Check out your local Sure Start centre
Before I had Baby B, I didn’t actually realise what Sure Start Centres were. I just assumed that they were only available for “qualifying” families or people referred there by their GP. However, Sure Start children’s centres are open to all and they generally have a range of free and low cost activities available for you to join in with.
Baby B and I were fortunate enough to attend a free 4 week Baby massage course, a weaning workshop, a weekly sing & story session and a weekly breastfeeding support group at out local Sure Start centre all for free!
Unfortunately some Sure Start centres are being closed and they are all facing budget cuts which I think is a real shame. However its worth checking out what they are still running in your area.
2. Visit your local fish shop!
This sounds like a really random idea but trust me, if you find a good one then its basically like visiting a free aquarium or sea life centre!
There is an amazing tropical fish shop in our local garden centre with about 100 different varieties of fish (including Nemo!) and Baby B would be happy in there for hours. Our shop also has a special tank where you can pay 20p to feed the fish!
3. Visit your local pet shop!
As above, Baby B loves looking at all the animals in our local pet shop and she doesn’t yet know that there’s a difference between an expensive zoo and a free pet shop! Baby B particularly loves the birds.
Also if you have any friends or family with child friendly pets then a visit to theirs will be a great fun activity for your baby too! Baby B adores playing with our 2 cats and giggles every time she gets close to see them properly. Sooo cute & educational too!
4. Go to the local park
Baby B is now big enough to go on the swings and she absolutely adores trips to the park. Who needs expensive soft play when you can get into the great outdoors and have a swing?!
5. Check out any council run museums local to you
I hadn’t thought of taking Baby B to our local museum as I assumed that at 9 months old she was too small. However, our large local museum has a sensory room for toddlers which Baby B loves! Even without the sensory room she really enjoyed our visit because there was lots to look at – she was fascinated by the large dinosaur skeleton and the Egyptian mummies!
The best thing about our local museum is that it is free!
6. Have a play date with a friend
Baby B loves seeing her little friends so we often have play dates. All you need is some tea and biscuits, take it in turns to host and both mums & babies have some fun!
7. Check out your local churches
Our local church runs a mother and baby group which only costs £1 and includes unlimited tea, coffee and biscuits! Beats Starbucks as they usually have toys for the babies to play with!
They ran a lovely session at Christmas with carols & a Nativity puppet show. Baby B was fascinated!
8. Organise a buggy walk with your friends
Its a great way for you all to get out in the fresh air for a good gossip and the babies can enjoy observing different sights and sounds. Combined with number 3, this is a cracker of a free day out!
9. Visit your local library
Baby B and I love a good book and what better way to try new ones than by borrowing them for free from the library?!
Our library also runs very low cost (£1 per family) story and song sessions which are a great low cost activity comparable to many of the more expensive franchise alternatives. Its worth checking out whether your library does too!
10. Have a picnic
If the weather is nice, take your lunches outside and have a picnic together! Baby B loves it! If you don’t have a garden then the park is fab as it has the added benefit that Baby can people watch too!
What fun free activities outside of the house would you recommend? Would love to hear more ideas!