As a parent I know only too well the cost incurred with having kids. When my husband and I decided that I would stay at home to raise my kids, there were many sacrifices we had to make. However; I looked at the value I was getting by staying home. I got to be there with my kids to witness every milestone, to teach, discipline, love and guide my kids every day. I had no commute time, no lunches to buy, no money needed for gas or transportation, no clothing to buy to look good while at work and I didn’t have to pay for daycare! So really was I that much worse off when all the numbers were calculated, maybe a few hundred dollars a month, but this was worth every penny to me.

Since we didn’t have extra income to throw around, I became very good at finding free activities to do with my kids, which were fun, interesting, social or private, for a short time or the whole day, near home or further from home. Some activities we did with friends and their kids but many it was just me and my two kids. So let’s see, where it began? When my son was a baby and I needed adult company, there was a free parenting course run by the local public health, once a week. I signed up and met about 10 first time mums and their babies. Most of us became friends and from there went to local parks and did a work out called stroller fitness, which we paid for in the beginning. Once we got the idea we continued with one of our friends being the instructor and we did our workouts 3 days a week pushing babies in the stroller then placing them on the grass or used the babies as our weights, as we did other exercises. The babies loved it as they got to socialize, and so did the mums…..the best part was it didn’t cost us any money and it was keeping us fit!

As toddlers, on rainy days I put the kids in the van and drove to construction sites. Usually I brought snacks with me and the kids and I sat in the van and watched the trucks do their thing. My kids would sit for a long time mesmerized by this. I taught them the names of trucks and what each of them did… education for me too.
Going for a walk and ending at the local park with pails and shovels to dig in the sand was another way to spend a few hours outdoors at no cost. I would place them in a shady spot with their digging toys and I sat and read my book. Sometimes we had a picnic in the park. We used to go on little hiking trails and I would bring snacks and I made a scavenger hunt list of things for them to find, this was one of their favourites. One day I planned a trip to Ikea and I had the catalogue so I marked off items in the catalogue and when we were going through the store the kids were on a scavenger hunt to find the items, then they got a sticker or cookie or some small item at the end. I got to shop at the same time and the kids were not bored. We had a small local farm called Lionel’s Petting Zoo near our house, the kids loved to go there too. No entry fee and you come and go as you please. So we used to go to the local grocery store, ask the produce manager for any outer leaves or spoiled produce that we could take to feed the animals. This was another great hit, they got to have fun and learn about the animals.

You can see with a little bit of imagination and creativity there are many ways to spend quality time with your kids, having fun and at very little or no cost and now I have all of these wonderful memories. To me that’s that what parenting and being a family is all about?

Author's Bio: 

I am a Law of Attraction Life Coach and a Counselor

I have many years of experience working with children and parents in the Children’s Aid facilitating the PRIDE course. I have worked in a group home setting and school setting. My experience covers facilitating peer groups of school age children, a peer support group of pregnant teens. Many years of my experience has been working with special needs kids, with mild intellectual delays to many variations of the Autism spectrum. I am the proud, sole parent of 2 terrific teens.

I help families become happier and healthier by empowering and teaching parents and children better communication skills, positive parenting strategies and the importance of healthy lifestyle choices.