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8 Budget Friendly Day Trips for Mommy (or Daddy) and Me Days


Your significant other is gone for the day. Now it’s just the kiddo and you! It’s a mommy (or daddy) and me day, and you’re looking for a few fun-filled ideas for things to do. You don’t want to spend your child’s college fund on a day’s worth of awesome activities, and that’s okay – there are plenty of inexpensive day-trip options that your young child will get a kick out of! Oh yeah, and you’ll have fun too.

Park Day
A grassy field, a shady tree, a blanket, and a basket filled with your child’s favorite goodies are all you need for an afternoon of day-tripping fun. Well, you could spend a tiny fortune on a “family restaurant” where your toddler will likely throw a handful of crumbled crackers on the floor and your preschooler will toss their juice on the table next to you. And, then there’s trying to pick from a menu with a picky eater. Or, you could let your kiddo help you to put together a mighty meal of foods that they actually enjoy, and eat al fresco in the park.

Nature Preserve

nature-preserveDucks, deer, bunnies, squirrels, groundhogs and more. Nature preserves give kids access to all kind of cute, creepy and crawly creatures – from afar, of course. Not only can your child watch animals frolic, but they can also get in touch with nature. From trees and flowers to the bugs buzzing around, you’ll both find plenty to see. The best part is, most nature preserves are free. Look for one at your local community or county park.

Going To Grandma’s
A change of scenery can take your child’s day from blah and boring to over-the-top fun. Take a trip to grandma’s house for a family-filled story time. Ask grandma (or grandpa) to pick a book ahead of time. Or, have gram and gramps use a family photo book to tell your little one the story of their relatives, where they come from or their culture.

The Library

libraryYour little reader is all about books. Instead of buying book after book, go where they’re free! The two of you can cuddle up and read a few stories together, check out a bag of books to take home, or try out a free library class. Talk to the children’s librarian to find out what activities they have coming up. Many libraries have tot story-time, music classes, or arts and crafts activities.

Artsy Adventure
You don’t have to be a college-level art history student to enjoy the art museum. Your toddler or preschooler can get a first introduction to famous artists by walking through your local museum’s galleries. Play an “Eye Spy” game as you look at the art. Pick a painting or a sculpture and choose one aspect of it, such as a color, shape, person, season, or anything else you see. Start the game with, “I spy with my little eye” and add what you spy. Your child has to look at all of the art to find what you’re spying. Then reverse it and ask your child to be the spy!

Farm Fun

farmThere are roughly 2.1 million farms in America, according to the USDA. With all of those working farms, it’s likely that there’s one somewhere near you. Yes, you may have to drive a little to get there, but it will be well worth it. And besides, you can sing songs, listen to a story on CD, or just talk to your kiddo during the ride. If your local farms don’t allow visitors, create your own driving tour. Ask your child to look for crops and animals as you make your way through farm country. Stop at a farm stand and buy some fresh produce to bring home and cook up for dinner.

Historical Sites
A battle ground, a centuries-old mansion, or any other historical site can become a magical place for a young child. Visiting one of these attractions can transport both you and your child back in time, all while teaching valuable lessons. Your little learner will get a mini-course on the historical period, and they’ll get to see how people really lived during a different time. Keep the fun going when you get home and dress up in period costumes or paint pictures of what you saw.

Great Gardens

gardenGet botanical at a local garden. Even if your child is totally used to the garden they have in their own backyard, you can still visit the mega-sized version. Plenty of areas have community or large-scale botanical gardens. Take a tour, smell the flowers, and play a game looking for different rainbow colors. If possible, look for a butterfly garden. Your child will get to look at the flowers and see the fluttering little friends.

Planning a fun day with your special kiddo doesn’t always have to involve breaking the bank. These fun activities will allow them to see and learn new things, get their imaginations running, all while fitting into your budget!