It can be challenging to find activities for your children in the winter. During the summer it is pretty easy because if there is nothing on the calendar, the kids can always play outside. However, the winter is a bit different. It’s cold and snowy and sometimes hard to find something to do — and sitting at home all day with the kids can start to wear any parent’s patience thin (or maybe it’s just me).
If your kids are anything like mine, it is imperative to find a place where you and the kids can get out of the house and they can use up some of that energy that otherwise would have been spent climbing and jumping off the furniture. However, if you are able to find something to do, then how can you avoid overspending on those activities?
Here are 5 places that you can go — and most of them are FREE!
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Initially, I only thought that the zoo was for the summer, however, I purchased a Cleveland Metroparks Zoo membership on Black Friday for 15% off. Since I had the membership, I didn’t want to wait until the summer to use it. Therefore, I decided that the kids and I would bundle up and go to the zoo. Since then, the zoo has quickly become one of my favorite places to take the twins in the winter. The zoo is amazing in the winter because there are no crowds, the animals are active, and it is a great way for the twins to be outside, see animals, and get exercise.
If you don’t have a zoo membership, then check out the zoo on Monday, when admission is free for residents of Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township. RainForest admission is not free on Monday; it is discounted. Currently, the price is:
- Adults (12 and older): $6.50
- Seniors (age 62 and older): $5.50
- Children 2-11: $4.50
- Children under 2: Free
Another benefit of the zoo is that parking is free and you can bring your own food inside. Therefore, pack your lunch and snacks for even more savings.
The Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is a great place to take children in the winter. There is so much beauty and richness of culture and history there. I vividly remember going as a child and being amazed at the beauty surrounding me. It is so much fun to be able to experience that through the eyes of my children.
The cool thing about The Cleveland Museum of Art is that it is free. While there is an additional cost for the special exhibits, if you just want to experience the museum (and not the special exhibits), then you can go for free. Parking is extra, but if you are fortunate enough to find street parking, then you will be able to pay less for metered parking (just don’t forget to bring extra change!).
The local library is a great place to go during the winter. I tell moms all the time not to forget about their local library. The libraries have amazing storytimes, tons of free programming for children (of all ages) and adults, and even if you miss a scheduled program you can still take the kids to play in the children’s section.
The library’s children’s classes are amazing. The classes for young children focus on hands-on learning through play and they do it in such a fun and engaging way. It makes learning exciting. The programs for older children look fun and interesting, as well. The next time you head over to the library, pick up a programming guide to see what activities are coming up!
The Metroparks aren’t just for the summer. If the weather is too cold to go on a hike, then look into the Nature Centers at the various Metroparks around the area.
Playground World is another cool place to take the children. Although Playground World isn’t free, I’m including it because there are a few days per week that they have “Donate to Play.” At these times, they only charge $1/child for 1 hour of play. If it is too cold to play on an outdoor playground, check out Playground World and pop in during one of its “Donate To Play” days.
I hope that these 5 suggestions give you plenty of ideas for how to have fun in the winter and not go broke! Leave a comment to let me know how these help you!