Before Baby Beez was born, I would joke that my kid was not gonna be one of those spoiled kids. My kid was gonna have 2 toys: a stick and a rock. And maybe, if she was extra good, she’d get a rusty tin can to kick around.
But once she arrived, she was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. So yes, she was spoiled. Also, I am a total sucker for making her happy, so I basically trip over my own feet in a rush to buy whatever it is she likes. Just to see her smile.
This week, especially after seeing my credit card statement from our Disneyworld vacation, it really struck home what a sucker I am. Sure, she enjoyed Disney and toys and what have you. But there’s a LOT of stuff that this kid loves just as much that is free or virtually free. Prime example: The playground. Going to the playground is probably her favorite activity in the universe. And that costs $0. (Or, more accurately, it costs the tax money I’m already paying anyway.)
Other free/nearly free entertainment that this kid LOVES:
My crack about the stick and rock was prescient, because DUDE THIS KID LOVES STICKS AND ROCKS. She doesn’t swing them around too wildly, mostly she pretends they are wands, and picks them up and keeps exchanging them up for bigger and better sticks.
We are incredibly lucky to have a magnificent library system in Pittsburgh. There are constantly activities and programs for all ages (yesterday, we went to a Japanese cultural program for little kids), and they have a massive collection of books, cds, dvds, etc. Basically, anything you could want, they have it. The kid’s room is not a typical quiet reading area. There’s a train set, toys, computers, etc. Even before I had a kid, the Main Branch of the Carnegie Library was one of my favorite places in the city. With all it offers for little monsters, I love it even more.
Baby Beez loves Dippy the Dinosaur, but she pretty much loves running in circles around any statute. Yesterday she ran around Dippy’s legs, and yelled to anyone who came close by that you should stay away from Dippy’s butt or he’ll pee on you. Because yeah, she’s 4. That’s what 4 y.o.’s do. Anyway, it was a good way to [try to] get her to burn off energy. And it cost zero dollars.
You probably can’t see it, but there’s a squirrel in the tree. Whenever this kid sees squirrels or birds, she’s like “MOM IT’S MY BEST FRIEND, I’M GONNA CATCH IT!” I guess that’s what happens when you’re an only child, you feel like you have to chase down and physically restrain all your friends. I’m perfectly fine with letting her run after small city-dwelling animals, but Baby Beez is in a phase where she flat out ignores me when I yell at her to stop running, which leads to the panic that she’s gonna keep running and bolt out into the street. She’s small and fast and argues with me when I try to explain the threat of moving vehicles. So yeah. There’s potential in this activity, but it needs some work.
Some kids are terrified by the car wash. Not mine. She gets super excited and narrates the whole process. LOOK IT IS THE SOAP! NOW IT IS SPRAYING DOWN THE CAR! This activity technically cost money, but I did need to wash my car anyway, so it’s an added bonus that it’s also fun for the kid.
Other free activities this kid loves: The playground. The playground at the mall. Running around in open spaces. Did I mention playgrounds? Also sticks. And playgrounds.
What are your kid’s favorite free activities?