Head to the playground
No matter what ages your children are, an outdoor playground (preferably with lots of grass and trees) will provide plenty of stimulation. Even if you have a baby too young to walk, she'll enjoy picking blades of grass and watching the colourful activity around her. And don't forget, fresh air and sunshine can be very therapeutic for tired mums, too!
Visit a library
Council libraries are a fantastic resource for parents. As well as offering books, CDs and DVDs that are all free to borrow, many libraries hold storytime and craft sessions for young kids. They can be a great way to foster a love of reading in a fun, community-oriented way.
Just hang out
From hide-and-seek to 'What's the time, Mr Wolf?', some children's games never go out of fashion. When they were younger, my kids loved a game called 'Where's Piggy>' where I'd hide a toy and they'd search for it while I told them whether they were far away, getting closer or almost there - you know the one! Anything that includes your involvement, your kids are certain to enjoy.
Depending on the age of your kids, taking them out to walk the dog, ride their bikes or just practise cartwheels on the back lawn are all great activities. Kicking a ball or playing catch or just going for a walk down the street can also be great, simple fun. Try setting them a goal while walking (Can you find 10 leaves and five different flowers?), to give them something to focus on.
Visit a museum or art gallery
If there's one near where you live, these are amazing cultural resources, and if entry isn't free for all, its often free for young children. Many galleries and museums are very child-friendly these days, and even offer shows, programs and activities for littlies.
Check out your local council website
Many council websites have a 'what's on' section outlining the many and diverse activities that are happening around the council venues. From exercise classes to live music, local markets, gardening events and concerts, you can find some great, free events.
Phone a friend
Kids love company, so why not phone a similarly child-busy friend and organise a picnic together? Or a walk through the botanic gardens? Perhaps feed the ducks at the local creek or go for a bushwalk. The more the merrier!
As you can most probably tell from the above list, I'm a big advocate of getting out of the house as often as possible. I personally think that getting out and about helps to lift the spirits of both parents and children and a happy and relaxed mum (or dad) helps to make for happy and relaxed kids. So if weather permits, outdoor activity is a breath of fresh air in more ways than one.
Another truth that's often said but always worth reiterating is that its the quality of your time not the quantity of dollars spent that counts. When your kids reminisce about their childhood in later life, they won't remember the possessions they had or the money that was splurged, but simply whether they enjoyed their time with you.
This article was originally published on Practical Parenting.