10 cheap or free activities with toddlers and preschoolers

10 cheap or free activities with toddlers and preschoolers

We’ve all been there, Monday morning, 9am and the kids are already driving you slightly mad, you start to wonder how you are going to survive the next week?!

Top this off with the fact you’re not made of money, and unfortunately, no money trees have magically sprouted up overnight in the back garden.

So, here are our top ten free/cheap activities to do with your preschooler:

  1. The library! Our local library is only small, however the the kids love spending time there. We will often go and do some reading (obviously!), and they also have colouring activities which occupies my two for a fair amount of time. Lots of libraries will have a rhyme time and/or story telling session too, which are a great way to spend 30 or so minutes. To top it off, most councils won’t charge for late returns on children’s books, which is perfect for (unorganised) me!
  2. New Play area – as much as we love the play area close to us, after visiting twice daily for weeks, there was only so much more of it I could take, and I could tell my 3 year old was having similar thoughts. After a 5 minute drive down the road, we found a play area we had never visited, and the children were so excited to explore. Amazing what a change of scenery can do.
  3. Museums – there are many, many free museums throughout the country. Our personal favourites are the National Coal mining museum in Barnsley, along with the national railway museum in York. What’s great about places like this is that most of them also have picnic areas, meaning you don’t end up having to spend your hard earned dosh on a dry sandwich and a fruit shoot. Word of warning – avoid the gift shop at all costs if you want to keep your sanity. https://www.nationalmuseums.org.uk/what-we-do/encouraging_investment/free-admission/
  4. Pets at home – my kids are always very excited to be going to a pet shop. We have one close to our local Aldi, so like I like to promise (bribe) the children with a visit, providing they are good during the food shop!
  5. Feeding the ducks – A classic, but one of the best! This is one of my 3 year olds favourite activities, and all it costs is a loaf of bread (or even better, use up a stale loaf).
  6. Play dates – Inviting friends over is a sure fire way of keeping the little ones entertained. We basically let the kids run riot whilst we enjoy a hot drink and a slice of cake, and not worry about tidying the mess up until they’ve left. Adult conversation is also something that keeps me sane!
  7. Movies 4 juniors cinema – We have a nearby cinema that will have ‘movies for juniors’ showings during the school holidays. These are brilliant, as the tickets are only £2.50 each, plus the screen is full of other children, so noise isn’t an issue! Sneaking some snacks and drinks in that we’ve bought before ensure this is still a cheap morning activity.
  8. Picnic – I don’t know about your preschooler, but my son loves a picnic. Whatever the weather, apparently cheese sandwiches are 100x more exciting when eaten outside. Quite often I have quickly made lunch, and just walked up to the local park with them and used one of the picnic benches there.
  9. Garden centres – I can’t say I stepped into a garden centre much before having children, I had no desire to buy any plants and most likely didn’t think they were very ‘cool’. How wrong I was! (Or how uncool have I become!). We love to have a look around, there are always interesting things to look at, plus usually a cafe, which is always a winner.
  10. Conkers collecting/berry picking – depending on the time of year, we really enjoy going out for a walk, and collecting things just makes the walk that bit more appealing. Blackberry picking was lots of fun in the summer, and autumn leaves can be great for craft projects (or be left in a box and never used..they had fun collecting them though!)

So there we are! I hope some of these help you out, and gave you some new ideas for free/cheap activities!


What are your favourite cheap things to do?

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