Friday, January 6, 2012

Get Out and About - Free Activities with Kids

Lately, I've been on the lookout for ways to get myself and Nolan out of the house, exploring and trying new things together, while getting the chance to meet other moms and kids. Thankfully, there are a number of kid friendly ways to get out and about, without touching your pocketbook!

Check Out Your Public Library
  • Most libraries offer a free story/song time, for babies on up. This is a great opportunity to meet some other parents and let your little one socialize with others his or her age. Before or after story time, take advantage of your library’s collection of books, CDs, and DVDs. Sit down, share a book with your child. Start the love of reading early. Many libraries have very current selections of titles, and you can’t beat FREE rentals!  For Durham readers, the library on South Alston has story/song time for babies and young toddlers every Wednesday at 10:30. You can check out the schedule of events for all Durham County Libraries here (choose a location, then click the events calendar).
Visit Museums
  • A trip to a museum can be an expensive outing, with many adult tickets priced around $10. BUT - most museums offer at least one day a week where admission is FREE for local residents. The Museum of Life and Science in Durham offers free admission every Wednesday between 1:00 and 5:00 pm. If you want to see the museum outside of those hours, you might consider purchasing a membership. For as little as $90 a year, you will receive unlimited admission for two, in addition to other perks. Two adults or an adult and child over the age of three (under 3 = free) would need to visit the museum just four  times a year to make membership a better deal than paying as you go. The children’s museum in Kidzu Chapel Hill is free on Sunday afternoons. Though these museums are a bit more crowded on these days, saving on admission for the entire family is well worth it! Check the websites of your local museums to research admission breaks.
Drop in to Barnes & Noble
  • As a former third grade teacher, I seize any opportunity to put a book in front of Nolan! Most Barnes & Noble locations offer a FREE weekly story time, some followed by a craft and treat. The Barnes & Noble at Southpoint Mall in Durham holds story time every Friday at 10:30. Spend some time before or after browsing books and playing with the toys. Nolan LOVES the trains and blocks our Barnes & Noble sets out for play! For older kids, they also runs periodic book clubs. Search for events at your local Barnes & Noble by visiting their website and searching the ‘Find an Event’ tab.
Head to the Gym
  • Memberships to baby/tot gyms are VERY expensive, but be on the lookout for opportunities to try classes for free. National chains like Gymboree and The Little Gym offer free trial classes to any interested parent. It is also possible to score free classes through product sponsors. Similac Formula recently e-mailed with an offer of four free classes at The Little Gym. New mommas, check your e-mail, you might have received the same one! Nolan and I have attended all of our free classes, and he LOVED every minute of it!
Look into Social Groups
  • Perhaps you’d like a play date for your kids, or to meet up with another mom for a cup of coffee, but you just don’t know anyone else who stays home during the day. Check out, a site that connects you to others in your area with similar interests. Using Meetup, I was able to find a group called South Durham Moms, which is designed for area parents with young children. Organizers post events, like playgroups, walks, and outings. Members are able to RSVP and attend events of interest. Many of the events posted on by Durham Moms group are absolutely free. Meetup groups exist across the county, and it is likely that one is in your area!
What inexpensive activities have you found to help you and your little one get out and about?


  1. I have been meaning to do a post on this. Barnes & Nobles & the Public Library are awesome resources! We also love gymnastics ($5) to burn off some winter energy.

  2. What age did you start gymnastics with Quinn? That sounds like fun!