One of the (many) great things about babies is that they’re so easily entertained. Which means there’s loads of fun things you can do with them that cost absolutely zilch
1. Hit the books
Many libraries throughout the UK run really fun, free ‘classes’ for mums and dads with their babies – like nursery rhyme sing-alongs or storytelling sessions. Just get in touch with your local one and find out what they’ve got going on.
2. Buggy fun
Can’t afford to go to an exercise class? Just run through your local park while taking your baby out in her buggy. If you can manage to catch your breath, point things out to her as you jog along.
3. Park life
Just sitting in the park and letting your baby feel grass, watch people’s dogs and other children play is enough to keep her entertained. Also, The Woodland Trust have around 150 free activities you can do with your kids around the UK.
4. Mini theatre
Make some finger puppets by cutting the fingers off a pair of old, light coloured gloves. Draw on little faces or sew on some felt pieces. Then make your ‘puppets’ sing, dance, kiss and wiggle around. You might think it looks lame, but your toddler will be entranced.
5. In-house play centre
When it’s dreadful weather (which, let’s face it, in the UK is more often than not) and you’re stuck indoors, why not make your crawling baby a little obstacle course? Use cushions for her to climb through and over… and play peek-a-boo or lure her around the ‘course’ with one of her favourite toys. It helps build her body strength, balance and co-ordination.
6. Get creative
Make your own play doh. Use the following ingredients: 150g (6oz) plain white flour; 300ml (1/2 pint) warm water with a few drops of food dye; 75g (3oz) salt; 1 tbsp of vegetable oil; 2 tsp cream of tartar. Stick it all into a large saucepan on a medium heat and stir constantly – it should thicken into a doughy texture. Knead it a bit to make sure it’s smooth (too stiff? Add some more water or dust with flour if too sticky).
Then let your little one play poke it, squish it, sit on it… just ensure she doesn’t try to eat it!
7. Disco time
Hold your own mother and baby living-room-disco. Blow the dust off your old, much loved CDs (er, remember them?) or connect your iPhone to speakers, dance around and sing along to your fave tunes with your baby (we’ve found Gangnam Style is a winner).
She’s probably the only person in your life who’ll be entertained by it, not think you’re tone deaf with no rhythm…
8. Get learning
Borrow some foreign language CDs from your local library – put them on and practice them around your little one.
No, she won’t suddenly become bilingual, but research has found that exposing her to another lingo this early in life will help her with learning other languages later on.
9. Start your own playgroup
Recruit up to around 10 other mums and their babies (put up notices at your local shops or on Gumtree if you want to meet new people).
Meet at a different person’s house each time, bring your own food/drink and decide if you want a structured day (you do certain activities together with your tots) or unstructured (the babies play with their toys while their mums get some much-needed gossip time together!)
10. Yoga how
No money for baby yoga classes? No problem. For an initial outlay of just under £8, head to Amazon and get this fab DVD your baby will absolutely love: Tara Lee – Yoga for you and your Baby. We guarantee if you calculate your price per watch it’ll be free within the first month.