Preschoolers can be such adorable little balls of energy. But on those days where you have to stay inside and entertain these guys, it’s easy for the cuteness to fade. So whether you’re dealing with a heat wave, extreme winter, or just a rainy day; here are some free and cheap ideas to keep the little kids occupied – and hopefully tire them out so you all get a nap day! Yeah!
Take advantage of special toddler time pricing at trampoline and inflatable parks. Ages are capped at about 6 and under, so it’s safer for the little guys this way. Plus, it’s cheaper! At Rebounderz Lansdale and Sky Zone, you’ll have to get special socks. But keep them after and you can reuse each time you go. At inflatable parks like Jumpin’ Jacks (Jr. Jump) in Hatfield and Bounce U (Preschool Playdate) in Horsham or Collegeville, you’ll use your own. Let the kids go crazy for about two hours and spend about $10!
Visit an Attraction for Free:
Gymnastics Open Gym:
Much like toddler time, gyms sometimes offer special preschool times where the little ones can run around and play on the equipment. Montco Gym in Harleysville is one such place that you can go for about $10. The kids can jump, run, swing, and roll to their heart’s content. And my favorite part about it – it’s safe to fall here. It’s literally designed for that!
Prolong a Storytime:
All libraries offer storytimes for this age group. So why not stay a little longer and take advantage of the change of scenery? The North Wales Library often brings out some toys and coloring pages after storytimes, Indian Valley Library has a cute puppet theater, Lansdale Library has computers to play, and Perkasie has a dollhouse. Be on the lookout for more structured playtimes in their programming as well.
Convert Home into a Play Space:
Don’t overthink it. Devise easy ways to turn your home into an active play area. My go to? Indoor hopscotch. Slap some painter’s tape on the floor, and let them go nuts! End of the night – just chuck that tape and it disappears. It might buy you 15 minutes here and there 😉 .
Sign Up for Classes:
Classes may seem like a lot at first, but when you break it down by session, it’s not always so bad. If you’re already family member at the North Penn YMCA, for example, each class comes to about $5-8. (Plus, they have babysitting included with the membership. The kids can always play there while you get time work out. Win win!) Other places have great classes too, but you’re likely looking in the $10-15-ish ballpark per class.
Let Out the Inner Artist at Home:
Take a ridiculously long bath and call it a “pool day.” They might be gullible enough to believe you! Let them show their creative side by adding in bath paint. They can get all messy and it’s easy to clean up after! Don’t have bath paint at home? Learn how to make your own with a few ingredients likely sitting in that pantry.
Visit Indoor Playgrounds:
Bring outdoor play inside during open play at playground shops. Superior Play Systems in East Norriton and Rainbow Play Systems in King of Prussia both offer open play times for about $10 and under per kid.
Special Pricing Days for Attractions:
So many attractions around here are excellent, but it gets expensive. Be on the lookout for reduced admission days. For example, the Please Touch Museum (one of my favs!) does $2 admission from 4-7pm on the First Wednesday of each month. Crayola Factory gives free admission to teachers and discounts for family members on Tuesdays. Or if you find a place you really like and plan to frequent, consider an annual pass. Most of the time: going three times a year already saves a lot of money (like Legoland Philadelphia).
Find Varied, Active Play Spaces:
Kids can climb on the giant indoor play structure at The Little Pod. Engage in some activity and imaginary play at Giggles Discovers in Peddler’s Village (part of Giggleberry Fair) . Head over to the mall and spend time in the play area (Montgomery and King of Prussia malls have decent ones). Or go play on the slides and grab some coffee at Mr. B’s in Souderton!
Join a Playgroup:
Bouncing from one friend’s house to another works just fine for this age group! It breaks the monotony of home life. And it allows parents to socialize as well! Find a parent group to join at minimal to no cost, and enjoy play times for free!
And as always, be sure to check out the NPUT Calendar to see if there’s anything else going on in the area!