Six free and fun activities for mum's and bubs

Being a new mum can be isolating, but there are so many great things to do with a baby that don't cost a cent. Here are six of my favourite.

It can be hard to get out of the house some days as a mum. Not only is there a lot to organise, there is a lot to think about; what to bring, co-ordinating feed and nap times and just when you think you’re ready you realise you’re still wearing ugg boots and you haven’t brushed your hair yet. 

But even though walking out the door can be a juggling act, it is important to get out and about to enjoy some activities with your baby, get some fresh air and partake in some adult conversation. 

There are a lot of baby activities out there and many of them are inexpensive, or even better, free. 

Here’s a few of my favourites.

1. Botanic gardens

If your town or city has botanic gardens this is a prime place to enjoy activities with your baby. Grab a picnic rug, some water and a picnic lunch and meet some friends or fellow mums for a catch up. If you have a newborn there are plenty of great contrasts for bub to look at and it is such a peaceful place. If your baby is on the move it’s a great space for them to crawl around and explore the outdoors. There are usually plenty of private places to breastfeed and if your baby sleeps in the pram, you can enjoy a lovely walk while your baby (hopefully) gets some sleep.

2. Art galleries and museums

While your baby may not appreciate fine art or history just yet, many galleries and museums have activities for babies and children, along with fantastic facilities for parents. Outdoor galleries and sculpture gardens are perfect. The art itself may or may not be interesting for bub, but often there is an area where your little one can have a wriggle around and the best part; most galleries have a coffee shop! Some museums, like the Melbourne Museum, have a baby and children’s exhibit with heaps of different textures, crawling spaces and even a baby disco. While not all galleries and museums are free, they are often inexpensive and if you time your visit right you may even get to take in a bit of culture yourself.

3. Children and baby play areas

If your baby is crawling and you find a good play area in a local shopping centre these are worth their weight in gold! They are soft, safe areas to crawl around and explore, just be careful of the excited three year olds tearing around like there’s no tomorrow. It may take some hunting around to find a good one. A girl from my mother’s group put me onto a fantastic play area in a local homemaker centre. I never would have thought to look there!
a baby crawling on the grass in the park

4. The local pool

Okay so this is only free for babies, parents still have to pay but it’s usually not too expensive and it’s one of my favourite baby activities. Having a splash together can be a beautiful bonding time and it can also be a great way to meet other parents. On a sunny day I love meeting friends with babies at the pool and having a picnic lunch on the grass and taking turns to watch the babies so the adults can enjoy some time out and a quick dip as well. It’s something I love doing with my husband. We head to the pool and tag team looking after bub so we can each get some exercise (and me time), while the other enjoys one on one time with bub.
Depending on the child and the facilities it’s usually best to wait until your baby is around six months old, as cooler water and loud noises may frighten young babies. 

5. Storytime 

Baby time at local libraries is, in my opinion, one of the most adorable activities for babies. It’s a great chance to learn some fun songs to sing at home with bub and meet other parents in your local area. Story time is also a great chance to acquaint your little one with the library to hopefully encourage a love of books at an early age. It is never too early to start reading to your baby, and even if they crawl away or try to eat the book, just hearing your voice and the change in intonation as you read helps to build early literacy skills and is a great bonding activity.

6. Window shopping

This one requires some self-discipline to ensure it stays ‘free’ but shopping centres can be a fantastic controlled environment to take babies too, and they usually have great facilities for parents. When my little one was really unsettled at home and I was getting cabin fever, I’d take her to the shops and walk around. Sometimes I’d be there for hours because she’d fall asleep, then need a feed, then a change, then I’d find something to look at and the cycle was repeated. Christmas time is particularly good as those shiny decorations and characters can be fascinating for some babies. 
Raising children is expensive so finding ways to spend time together (for free!) can really help. For more ideas on how to save money, read our article: Bringing up baby without breaking the bank

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