Wednesday, March 12, 2014

10 [mostly] FREE Rainy Day Outings

Rain, rain. Go away.

I'm someone who just so happens to love the rain. The sound. The smell. The fact that I don't have to remember to water my flowers. Rain, in my mind, is great. But I do understand that rain...constant rain...can be a problem when you have kids. Not only is going outside an important part of development but getting out of the house provides a level of stimulation that tires my kids out enough to have a quiet afternoon, which something (as I'm sure you can relate) I need.

Here in Washington, we get plenty of rain. Especially during January - April. These are honestly tough months (and this is coming from someone who prefers living in Washington over Southern California). But if there's one thing I've learned as a mom, it's how to improvise. I've used Pinterest to get some great rainy day indoor activities (many of which are fabulous) but sometimes (or most of the time) I just need to get out of the house before I lose my ever-loving mind.

Here is my list of [mostly] FREE Top 10 Rainy Day Outings |

1. Target. Or Toys R Us or wherever else they have boat load of toys. You don't have to be there to buy anything. Most of the time we don't (yay self control). We simply go, walk around and I let the kids look at toys for a while. No, it isn't a ton of exercise but remember, kids are little. A few aisles of toys and books can provide at least an hour of entertainment and stimulation.

2. The library. Most public libraries have a great kids section...not just books but toys too. The library near us even has puppet show stage. They also have story time and even free classes (usually done by the local children's museum).

3. Petsmart. We love to go here! Or any other pet store. We usually spend all our time looking at the gerbils and rats and guinea pigs then we make our way to the fish, the cats up for adoption, and then we'll watch the doggies get groomed. We love the pet store.

4. Hunting Stores. Okay, this might sound crazy to some of you but hunting stores are really cool for kids. If you live near a Cabela's, lucky you! The animal display at those stores are always fun for kids to look at and even educational because we get to talk about a different array of animals. We don't live near one but we'll go to Sportsman Wearhouse and check out their animals. Isaiah especially loves the plastic ducks.

5. Wiggle Works and the like. Wiggle Works is a great place to take your toddlers and preschoolers. Don't have one? Think Jumpin' Jack and Jill's or Pump It Up! or Piper's Playground. Any indoor get the crazy wiggles out of your body playground/bounce house type place. These places do cost money - typically $5-10 per child depending on where you go. We love these types of places but we treat them as special occasions in an attempt to not go broke.

6. The Children's Museum. If you have one near you, look it up! These museums are great and most of the time are completely different city to city. Most are free but ask for a donation at the door. They also will not let anyone in without kids (much like the places in #5). This always eases my mind a little as it can be difficult keeping track of two youngin's.

7. McDonald's Play Place. No, probably not to eat (I prefer not eating fast food, anyway). Bring a sack lunch or just snacks and let your kids go crazy in the play place. Awesome.

8. The YMCA. I'm always telling my mama friends to get their kids a Y membership. It is seriously the biggest bang for your buck. I pay $35/month for Isaiah's and it includes ALL the classes he wants to take. We do Toddler Gym (where they can run around in the foam pits, jump on trampolines, climb crazy obstacle courses, then do songs for circle time), Sports Class (basically PE for preschoolers), and swimming lessons or free swim. And there are more...so many more. I know some moms stay there all morning going class to class, working out themselves, and having snacks in the common areas. It's a lot of fun and I've met some great moms this way too.

9. The garage. Haha. No, but really. Sometimes I'll get out the side walk chalk, clear out the cars, and let the kids scribble or do bubbles or ride their tricycles in circles. I'll even them "drive" and just play in my car too. As long as your garage is safe (i.e. gasoline cans, tools, etc. are out of reach and you're supervising carefully), put their coats on and let them play.

10. Puddle Jumping. When all else fails, put on their rubber boots and let them stomp in some puddles. They will get muddy, they will get wet, you will get muddy and wet, but they will have fun! And you'll probably have fun watching them. And you know what else? They'll probably get tired. And then they'll rest. And then you can have a nice quiet afternoon. Isn't that treat?

What are your favorite rainy day outings?

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