By the time your baby sits up, you’re probably aware of the myriad enrichment classes available to you: Music Together, Gymboree, Baby Massage, Le Petite Baleen, and more. I am a fan of all of them and have not one bad word to say about them.
Okay, maybe one bad word: Expensive.
While I do encourage you to try out a bunch of classes, because you never know where you might meet your new best mommy friend, I want to also make sure you know about these amazing, local, tax-payer-funded goodies for families with young children. Put them on a bucket list of things to do before your little one’s first birthday.
1. The Library. We all know the library is full of free books. But have you been to the children’s section of your local branch yet? There’s more than just books. There aer puppet shows, story time for babies, bean bags, and lots of other things for babies to climb on. It’s the perfect place to explore when you just need to get out of the house. Look online to see what free events for babies are on the schedule.
2. The Park. Every city’s got ‘em. Think your baby is too little for a playground? Nope! If she can hold her head up pretty well, you can put her in a baby swing and give it a little tap to put it in motion. Also, keeping a picnic blanket around (in the trunk of your car) means grabbing takeout and heading to the park for dinner can become a summer evening ritual. The park provides grass, shade, fresh air, and a place to stroll about—all for free.
3. Parks and Rec. It’s not just an Amy Poehler sitcom. You can discover fun events and classes at your town’s recreation center. Fairs and festivals are perfect for weekend outings with a stroller. Check your own city and others nearby that you’d be willing to drive to. You never know which town has a Leslie Knope championing baby-friendly activities.
4. Swimming pools. Public pools offer “family swim” times (meaning the lap swimmers make space for kiddos) in their weekly schedules. Research the opportunities in your area and pack up your swim diapers for a big adventure. If it’s your first time in the pool with your baby, you might want to read our tips on RookieMoms.com.