As a stay-at-home mom to two school-age kids who are always on the go, I can confidently say I’ve mastered the art of entertaining them on a budget. As we head further into fall, I find I need to be a little bit more creative in the activities we do, since endless hours outdoors isn’t an option in cooler weather. Here are just a few of the fun and affordable ways I keep busy with my family.
Choose a new park to explore
One of my favourite places to take my kids are the conservation areas near our home. Not only are they a fabulous way to get your little explorers in touch with nature, but most offer free educational workshops for kids. This time of year programming is often focused on our feathered friends, with citizen bird counts, bird feeder and bird house building or interpretive hikes throughout wetlands to see migratory birds.
Visit the library for their weekend programming
My kids love to visit our local library, not only for the expansive collection of Hardy Boys books (for my son) and Rainbow Fairy books (for my daughter), but each weekend our library hosts a craft program. Not being a crafty person myself, weekend programs at our library lets my kids create interesting works of art that we would never make at home - especially since most of the library crafts include sparkles!
Step back in time at a local museum
Who said museums had to be quiet? Shake off the dusty notion that museums are hands-off places where you shush your kids because today’s museums are anything but boring! Affordable admission fees (locally, most of our museums are free to the public) mean that you can learn about everything from pirates to primates and bodies to bugs! Keep an eye open for special children’s programming for a truly family-friendly experience.
Kick up your heels at a festival
The region of Eastern Ontario I live in is famous for the family-friendly festivals hosted throughout the year - most of which are free! This time of year look for gingerbread cookie decorating events, holiday parades, local food festivals, craft fairs and seasonal music festivals. Your local Chamber of Commerce or travel council is a great resource should you wish to be a tourist in your own town.
Don’t let fall - or finances - keep you from getting out and having fun with your kids. A little imagination is all it takes to keep them entertained all autumn long.
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