Ahhh long time, no see! I have a surprise, and unexpected post about free and cheap baby groups and activities. You can see that my mat leave is coming to the end and I am broke! I really, really hope that the mummies on mat leave who read my blog will find this useful.
Maternity leave is a funny time as you have all the time in the world to visit “eateries”, stroll around and have “coffees”, but actually no money💰 to do it. Coffees and eateries are in quotation marks, as I’m really referring to stuff to do with babies to get out of the house….
We do go to a couple of paid of classes that I absolutely love – Baby Sensory and swimming with Puddle Ducks, and we used to do baby yoga, which I wrote about here, but the further I get into mat leave the less money I have, and so the more creative I need to get.
As we live in a big city, we are lucky to be able to choose from a wide variety of groups; from local nursery rhyme type of meetups, sign language classes, which apparently can be ‘prescribed’ by your health visitor to mini classical music concerts (the last one is not free). I tend to choose groups and activities that are a little bit more ‘active’ and varied, as I’m definitely not a typical nursery rhymes and cookies for mums type of person.
I hope that other mummies will find this post helpful, and perhaps an inspiration to find or set up similar things in your town if they’re not available already.
The things in this posts are suitable for under ones, so as Oliver will be one this summer (!!!) I’m already on the lookout for groups for older babies and toddlers – any ideas are welcomed!
This is a free weekly sensory workshop led by artists and musicians. Basically, the gallery spreads a few blankets on the floor in the middle of one of the rooms, so that you’re surrounded by the gallery’s exhibits, and provide musical instruments, sensory toys and (safe) everyday objects for babies to explore. The format of the class is really laid back, once you sign up, you can just turn up for however long you want, between certain hours.
There’s something really nice about taking a baby for a group at the gallery; the setting is great and it makes you feel like you’re introducing your baby to culture from their early years.
‘Rhyme time is a rite of passage’ said one of my friends to me. So it is, and it’s also a classic hangout for mat leave mums including me 🙂 I blogged about experience before.
The library near us is not very big, but it has a great selection of children’s books, and I quite like an idea of borrowing them in the future to learn about sustainability, sharing, etc…
Crèche / soft play area at the local gym
I have recently discovered that one of our local gyms has a crèche / soft play area that can be used by non-members for a small fee – it’s £1 for under ones. The area for babies is quite small, but there’s enough to keep them occupied for an hour or so. There are mini slides, a mini baby gym and big soft blocks to play with.
There’s also a small cafe with some cheap jacket potato style options and nice coffee. I tend to go there if I don’t fancy trekking to town, or if there’s a half term and our regular paid for classes are not on, and I want to feel like I actually did something that week.
Sensory Room at a local children’s centre
Again, this is the place to go if you want to do something different with your little one, and not spend a fortune. I met one of my mummy-friends at her local children’s centre and was totally blown away by their sensory room, which we used free of charge. I can’t even name all of the toys, rattles and fluffy pieces of material that were available, but they also had a big lava lamp type of thing that kept both boys occupied.
I have also learnt recently that this centre hires out toys for a small charge of £1 per month! Bargain!
Finally, I’ve just started going to a Polish Baby & Mums club, which gives me an opportunity to hang out with Polish mummies and speak Polish, as I don’t have many occasions to do so, and I’m hoping that my little one will be bilingual. This is just an example to show that there are some niche groups out there where you can spend with like-minded people.
Thanks for reading x