10 Indoor Places for SAHM and WAHM to Take Their Kids (& you can even dress-up!)
Whether you are in the first few months of your maternity leave or an experienced stay at home mom, at some point you may feel like you have no where to go and nothing to do (aside from the MILLION things you have to do at home!).
Getting out of the house when you are a stay at home mom (sahm) or work at home mom (wahm) is an important part of feeling connected to society at large. Both you and your kids get a break from the daily routine, or even better…. you make “getting out” a part of your daily routine.
I’m often asked if I dress up even when I stay in, the answer is NO! Instead, living in Italy, I take inspiration from the Italian way of life, to create various social situations and give myself reasons to get out and look good doing it!
One of the best ways to get out of the house with your kids is to go outdoors, but sometimes you can’t . Rain, snow, sleet and the cold can make it nearly impossible to get out with your kids. So here is a list of my favorite INDOOR places to go with my little man.
I only have one child and I don’t think all of these options are possible if you are going out alone with more than one kid! But who knows, you may get some weekend ideas for the family, or you can always invite a relative or close friend to help you manage the kids. (Or maybe you are much more organized than me and can totally do it alone!)
1. Major Art Galleries and Museums
Art Galleries and Museums are a FANTASTIC way to spend the morning (or whole day) with your kids. During the weekend these places become a zoo, with long lines for tickets, entry and coatcheck. It is no wonder that as soon as you are in your kids are already fed-up!
Go during the week! You’d be surprised how empty most places are during the week. You may even get lucky and join a school group tour.
My recommendation is to try to make the visit as easy going as possible, don’t worry too much if you don’t get to read any of the informational panels, just enjoy your surroundings, soak in as much as you can and let your kids enjoy the environment.
Money Saving Tip:
Do some online research for entry coupons, offers, or “outreach” days when admission costs less. Sometimes local libraries have a “residents card” that offers locals the chance to enter into many museums for free.
Another option are the tourist packages that often include a variety of major museums and galleries for one low price.
Check the museum or gallery website for children’s workshops days. There are often crafts, guided tours or special activities.
2. Small Art galleries and Contemporary Galleries
If you’re not an art person you may not even know that these exist in your home town, but I guarentee you, there is something! Local artists and artisans often show their works at artist run centres or collectives and these places are DESERTED during the week.
Many towns have small galleries huddled together on the same street or even in the same building. Plan on being in each gallery for 10 – 25 minutes and seeing 3 or 4. If you need help find something like this in your area, shoot me an email and I’ll see what I can find!
You could aim for 3 and then lunch somewhere new. It is surprising how kids can be well behaved in new environments. Plus, you could always invite a friend with kids and make a date out of it.
I never know if my son will be well behaved in these situations so I usually prepare my iphone with some cartoons just incase. If your kids are older you can prep them with a talk of where you are going and how they are expected to behave. (aka stuff your purse with bribe treats!)
3. Your Local Event Website
Every weekend I go to a few different local even listing websites for ideas on what to do and where to go during the week and on the weekend.
Often the city website has a “Children Appropriate” event listing section where you can find readings, puppet shows, kid’s days and fun indoor events in your area.
These events are smaller than the big blockbuster events like Disney on Ice. You have to search for them, because most likely they don’t have a big marketing budget. With a bit of research you can find plenty of great local things to do with your kids, and often support some fantastic initiatives.
Make it a group outing and invite some friends along!
I like to sign up for all the e-newsletters for the local event websites so that I never miss an event. Chances are there will be SOMETHING each month that interests me.
4. Theatres, The Ballet and Concert Halls
I know what you’re thinking….money, money, money! But I guarentee you the theatre, ballet and opera are not just for the extremely wealthy.
These performing arts institutions receive public money and often have a lot of “outreach” programming. “Outreach” refers to events for a broader audience including the general public and kids. Since you are already supporting the arts with your tax dollars why not see if they are hosting any special public workshop days.
I worked for a number of years for Canada’s National Ballet, and a few times a year they offered free backstage tours, free outdoor concerts, open rehearsal sessions and other events.
The New York City Ballet offers Children’s Workshops and Movement Workshops for $12 a person (I’d say that’s pretty reasonable!). Plus, they have “FAMILY SATURDAYS” with real performances open to the whole family at a really cheap price. If that’s not reaching out I don’t know what is!
5. Rediscover Your Roots
Are you part-Greek, part-Japanese, part-Chinese? Did you have a German Great Great Great Grandmother?
There are a lot of cultural organizations in even the smallest of towns that offer free language workshops for kids and families. They may have a workshop to learn songs and dances, and often these classes are either free or at a very low cost.
I should know I taught one! My husband and I offered tarantella dancing workshops in Toronto for a small Italian Children’s Language school. It was only a few dollars per kid and we did a full two hour dance class!
6. A Parent-Child Class
Now a days it is not very difficlt to find Mamma Toddler Yoga, Mamma Baby Dance or Family Music Classes
4 Weeks post partum I did a course called “Mamma Fit”, it was only 30 euro a month and included a twice weekly outdoor stroller workout. I made some great friends (that I still have) and my son really enjoyed getting out in the fresh air.
It is important not to over-do it!! In the first few months of your maternity leave your life may be pretty hectic. What ever you manage do….. GREAT!! Whatever you miss … WHO CARES! Even if you’ve paid for the whole class and you only go to half the sessions that is still an achievement. I found the motivation of a fixed appointment a few times a week a great motivation to get out with my baby.
Of course there are a lot of mamma baby classes, but again the price is somewhat of a problem. I take my son to weekly Music Together classes, and it’s not cheap, but it is well worth it. I figure that I save a lot by not paying for daycare and this is a portion of that savings re-invested in something we share as a whole family.
Often these “groups” hold special events that aren’t connected to a class. For example, even if you are not taking the full music class you can participate in their Dancing Together evenings for 5 euros a family. Similar to their classes they are open to everyone and you don’t need to sign up to go.
Of course there are other great options like the YMCA, Recreation Centres and Movement Centres, but this is a MOMMY FASHION blog and I’m trying to encourage myself and others to not live in sweats!! So, I would say it’s nice to find a balance between at home days, the “Y” and some of these suggestions.
7. The Library
My number 1 go-to place when the weather is bad is the library. Since I am raising my son to be bilingual (Italian and English) I like to check the library often for new English books or other bilingual resources.
He has the best time ever in their “under 3″ section, and really enjoys when I read to him here because there is a nice echo!
In Italy these are called Ludoteche, which means place of play in Latin (I think)! These are fantastic, and are organized in a similar way to a day care or pre-school but with fewer teachers.
They are FREE and parents MUST stay with their children. It is a great way to meet other moms, play with your child in an environment that is out of the house (new toys, new situations) but that can also become familiar.
The teachers organized structured activities just like a daycare from outings to puppet shows to song and story times daily. If you are planning to be a stay at home mom until your child goes to kindergarten but are worried about socializing them this is a great solution. You can even organize coffee and lunch dates with the other moms and make a whole day of it.
9. The Mall
Most likely you will find that in colder months the mall becomes your go to “outing” destination. There is ALWAYS something you need from the mall right? Plus you can justify going there because there is space for the kids to walk/run, there’s always something to eat, there’s a coffee shop and it is warm!
The only thing about the mall is that sometimes it may seem like a “cheap” solution, but once you’re there you end up spending money anyway! Sometimes this is how I force myself to think so that I invest in other things (like the New York City Ballet’s $12 workshops…that is a great deal!)
HOWEVER, if you have to go to the mall, use this time to engrain in your child the types of gifts they should be getting you once they start making good money!! Kidding (but not really).
10. A Greenhouse
Bet you didn’t see that coming!
Local greenhouses are a great way to rejuvinate yourself and your kids in the winter. The air is clean, the environment is green and the temperature is toasty!
The only thing I would be careful about is the incredible difference in temperature, which can cause some people to get sick. My advice is take off your coat and heavy items as soon as you enter so that you and your kids don’t sweat. AND, when you leave MAKE SURE YOU BUNDLE UP!
As I mentioned here, Italians live with the fear of a draft, and nothing is worse than cold air on sweaty skin. So try not to sweat with you are in there, and cover up well when leaving!
Aside from that, green houses are a great way to pass the morning or afternoon with your kids. They are often free or very low cost, they are open year round and are very educational!
That’s my list but I would love to hear yours!
Where do you take your kids when it is cold outside?
In Februrary my “Real Mom Style” Feature is starting. A once a month feature of a reader’s style or mom blogger’s style. If you ever feel that you look great and there’s no one around to appreciate the effort you’ve put into yourself SEND IT OVER! I love chatting fashion and I’ll be happy to show you off.