Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fun: On the Cheap

I was recently reading a blog post written by a friend of a friend. I totally understood where she was coming from when pricing out activities for toddlers. I want to involve Linus in many activities but can't help but scoff when I see such high prices. I mean, this is stuff I have a degree to do. A degree that I am STILL paying for. Thus the reason I am refusing, for now, to sign Linus up for any tuition required classes.

Instead, I will scour my brain, the internet, my fellow mommy and teacher friends, and every parenting newspaper/magazine out there for stimulating activities to do with Linus for FREE, or at least economy class.

And because I like you, I will try to pass along many of these ideas to you. Here are a few, we've been loving in recent days.


Listen & Move: This song, from a Greg & Steve tape courtesy of my many years teaching, offers up instructions and sounds to get kids moving. There's a mild beat for walking, boing-boing sound for hopping, and a country rhythm complete with yeehaws for galloping. The first few playings, Linus just observed me making a fool of myself modeling but now, he loves to run, tiptoe, and hop right along with me. As an added bonus, on that same album there's also "The Freeze" dance and "The Boogie Walk" for more dancing fun.

The Hokey-Pokey: You all know it from the wedding circuit, but your toddlers and preschoolers will really dig it. Linus is still getting the hang of it, but his cousin who is 2 months older was really getting her groove on doing the Hokey-Pokey with me.

Wittle Gym (the Little Gym knock-off): I highly suggest taking Little Gym up on their offer of a trial session. Take the session and learn then come back to the house, pull out your foam alphabet mats, throw down a few quilts, and get busy. You can help your child do somersaults and other gymnastic feats right there in your living room and you don't have to pay the astronomical fee to do it.

And don't forget these classic art activities: homemade play dough, safe-enough-to-eat fingerpainting, and waterworks. I can tell you that Linus can't get enough of rolling his toy cars through the play-doh and checking out the tracks left behind.

Now, I'm not criticizing at all parents who do enroll in these classes. Believe me, I would if I could, but as it is we have to make do and I think we're doing just fine.


Midwest Mom said...

Great Post. Our school district runs two playgroups a week at the local library. There are fun activities and plenty of social time. The children sing songs and do fingerplays to go with them, there is a playdoh station and craft center with a different craft every time, and a really great group of children. We love that social time -- and it's free. :)

- Julia

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

The proud mama of three boys here, I confess we got more value out of the free stuff--story hour at the public library, the parks, the occasional festival than out of the swim lessons, the gymnastic class and the music lessons. Money spent on them before they were 3 was really wasted. You are wiser than I was.

Anonymous said...

Abby you are so creative! Kudos to you! But I would love to see a video of mom and Linus doing all the dancing! That would be great. Hope the little man is feeling better and as a result you too. gramma B.

nikki said...

Thanks for this post, Abby. Abigail is still a bit young for some of this stuff, but our budget is extremely tight and I was just wondering last night what I'm going to do with her when she's officially toddling. I'm saving this post for later!

Missy said...

You are so creative! I constantly struggle with the thoughts of whether I'm stifling the kids' creativity or athletic abilities by not putting them in all of those organized expensive classes. I don't know how some people afford it, not to mention all the on-the-go time! Thanks for helping me feel better about my choice of not paying those high fees.