Cheap Dates with Toddlers series


I write a regular series called “Cheap Dates with Toddlers” about fun, cheap activities that kids age one to five will enjoy (and learn from!) Many include recommendations that are specific to Seattle/the Eastside, but hopefully most of the core ideas apply to all parents everywhere. Check out:

  • Swimming – includes games to play in the water, info on water safety and other tips on introducing your child to swimming. (And includes info on Peter Kirk Pool – outdoors in Kirkland, Bellevue Aquatic Center – indoors, and Henry Moses – outdoor in Kirkland.)
  • Buses and Trains – If you’re not a regular rider of public transit, you may not realize just how thrilling a ride can be for a little one. Or you can Take a Ferry.
  • Farm Parks – It’s fun to take kids to meet farm animals. On the Eastside, there’s Farrell McWhirter Park in Redmond, Kelsey Creek in Bellevue, and more.
  • Wildlife Viewing – using Juanita Bay park as an example.
  • Farmers Markets – Relaxing, pretty, low-cost fresh produce, free to attend…. a great summer to fall outing! (Includes schedule for markets in Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond.)
  • Garage Sales – more easy, free entertainment!
  • Egg Hunts – need a rainy day play activity for any day of the year? Plastic egg hunts – they’re not just for Easter anymore!
  • Nature Shopping – collecting rocks, leaves, pinecones, or photos.
  • Explore New Parks – covers St. Edward’s, O.O. Denny, and Big Finn Hill in Kenmore.
  • Counting Cars” on any street corner… kept my boy busy for hours!
  • Winter Outings to the Playground – who says you can’t go to the playground on a cold or snowy day?
  • Go to a Dog Park – even if you don’t have a dog!
  • Pet Stores – I call these “the small animal zoo” – young kids LOVE visiting the fish tanks, the hamsters, the birds….  Similarly, you could visit the Seattle Aquarium, or you can go to a restaurant or hotel lobby with a big fish tank and watch the fishies.
  • Sushi Go Round – I like sushi – and when I’m eating with young ones, I like the sushi restaurants with the conveyor belt – they LOVE watching the food go round.
  • Indoor Playgrounds – During the cold and rainy months, many community centers offer these as an opportunity for little ones to run off some energy.
  • Library Storytimes – find listings of storytimes on the Eastside.
  • Construction Theatre – do you have a construction project in your neighborhood? Take your child by from time to time to see the progress.
  • Big Stores – whether it’s IKEA, the grocery store, Costco, or Home Depot, kids can have a great time riding around in the cart checking things out. (When I had a toddler who woke up at 5:45 am every day, we’d often go shopping at 7:30 or 8 am because there were no other toddler friendly activities available at that time!)
  • Rock Shops and Plant Nurseries – offer fun outdoor exploration and an opportunity for some basic botany and geology lessons.
  • Watch the Big Kids Play – I like taking toddlers to big kid baseball games, concerts, or sports practices to just sit and watch the big kids play.

If you’re also looking for advice on more serious topics like: Early Literacy, Brain Development, Discipline, Potty Training, and more, check out the “Categories” section in the right hand sidebar (or on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the page).

1 thought on “Cheap Dates with Toddlers series

  1. Pingback: Keys to Brain Development | More Good Days – Parenting Blog

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