As a mother with not a lot of money and no car, I am a big fan of local entertainment and, more importantly, free entertainment.
In the Summer it is much easier, there is playing at the playground, walking the dog in the park, and chasing pigeons in the square. Any outdoor space can be used for a picnic, and any area can be explored. When the cold weather and the rain comes… it gets more tricky.
I’m very fortunate that my mother, due to both enjoying our company and taking pity on her daughter’s finances, pays for our membership at her fancy gym. This means that, after a half hour walk, we arrive somewhere with a beautiful indoor pool, a café, and a big bucket of toys. Obviously this is a scenario we utilise almost daily so I will not lie and pretend that all day, every day, we are able to indulge in free and stimulating entertainment of our own design.
However, I am quite lucky that Miss Rose is relatively easily entertained.
We indulged in new welly boots. So, after an initial layout cost of approximately £20, we have effectively an entire season of entertainment spread out ahead of us. The joy that can be had from finding nice deep puddles and shouting “SPLOSH” then launching yourself into them to create a tidal wave enough to soak passing dogs is, quite frankly, immense. I’m sure Rose enjoys it too.
Shops have the advantage of being indoors, warm, and usually with a toilet. At least the bigger ones do. Miss Rose is obsessed with shoes and totters around in them with glee. She likes to explore the aisles and look at different products. In general shops are, so long as she is free to explore, an adventure playground. The fact she doesn’t come away with anything is incidental. So far anyway… I realise that is unlikely to last.
Assuming the weather is dry, just cold, don’t rule out the playground. Wrap up warm and you will find the place is far quieter than in the summer, AND you can usually entertain any wayward grandparents for free at the same time! (Plus, in my experience, the grandparent in question is likely to get chilly and insist on buying coffees to warm up… ahem…)
LEARN SOMETHING TOGETHER
Can’t bare the outside world? Rain, snow, thunder, general grotty misery? Learn something! I’d highly recommend a bit of baby yoga, for the entertainment factor as much as the fitness. But seriously, it’s great. Plus if you’re doing it with a toddler there’s nobody to laugh at you when you fall over… except the aforementioned toddler. But she laughs at me for most things so I’m used to it.
However, when all is said and done, you might not be met with any enthusiasm for adventures in the wintery weather.
So sometimes write the day off, get into your onesies, and put on the TV. Make a mug of coffee, leer at Mr Bloom, and let your child rampage around the house scattering crayons and jigsaw pieces in their wake. Afterall, that’s what Winter is designed for really.