Any Free or Inexpensive Activities to Do with Toddler During the Winter?

Updated on December 04, 2008
L.L. asks from Aurora, IL
5 answers

For those of you that are from the western burbs and have children, what activities do you all do during the winter? Because we are on a really tight budget we really did not get to do much this summer with my son. I know I have not done alot with him and have been so into our own problems , me not working and making ends meet that my son is home alot. I feel like I need to take him out see the world not just around our neighborhood or his grandparents house. He needs to interact with other children, run around, see new things. It's very frustrating for me that there are just things I can't do like take him to places that I would have to pay example Naperville childrens museum, someone said it was expensive, well if your broke anything is expensive. Any suggestions on what I can do with him that is free or cheap to do? THings at home what activities do you all do or can I do with a 17 m onth old?
Thanks for any ideas or tips.

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answers from Chicago on

Look into the park district. Bolingbrook has a great play area imagination station (free). Also the Naperville childrens museum you can go and ask about Volunteering. Then oyu and your child can go and help clean up and your child can go too. Your local park district may have some great programs that are inexpensive. I know ours does and we are inBolingbrook... you can check what we have... Oh yes and the library always has free things too. Usually storytimes etc.

I know this is the most frustrating thing about staying home finding things to do for little or no cost!! Good luck on your search!!



answers from Chicago on

There is a place in bolingbrook called Imagination Station that is free.

The Fox Valley Mall and the Joliet Mall both have indoor playgrounds as well, so does the Yorktown Mall and the Orland Park Mall.

Come January, the Chicago museums will have free days coming up. The Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry (great place for a toddler) all have free days. the only bummer is you will need to pay for parking.

I saw that someone mentioned I belong to a group called MOI (Moms of Infants and Toddlers) I have been with them since last year. They are a great group of women! We do things from playdates at each other's homes to outings to the zoo, etc. Definitely a good one to look at. :)



answers from Chicago on

Borders and Barnes and Noble have story time. They read 2 books and then do a craft. Most have one during the week and one on the weekend.

Check your library, they sometimes have a drop in story time and some will have more (free) things to do during the winter break.
Some park districts have open gym. Some of them make you pay if you don't live in the town.

You can go to and join a local moms group. There are several in the area. They do many outings that don't cost anything such as playdates at other peoples home. Most are free to join, some make you pay $1 or so a year.

Check out your local mall. Most of them now have play areas.

Good Luck!



answers from Chicago on

Hey Lisa! I understand how frustrating it can be to come up with cost conscience activities for you kids in this area. Unfortunatly, I don't have alot of ideas for getting out, seemed like everything I thought of cost money! I do have some ideas for stuff you can do at home though, you can google craft ideas for toddlers, I did this once and found a whole lot of free/cheap stuff I could do with my son. It does take some time to gather the materials and you have to make sure that it is age appropriate but I found that it really helped me connect with my kid. Also, I just got a book: The Everything Toddler Activities Book, by Joni Levine. It has tons of games, crafts and activties in it, perhaps you could find it at the library? Speaking of, the library is a good place to go, sign up for readings and such. Do you have a playgroup yet? That can be an excellent way to connect with other moms and let your little one make some friends and develop social skills. Also lets you get out of the house when playdates are at someone's house. has some groups in the area...hope this helps a little!



answers from Chicago on

Check into your park district. Maybe a parent/child music class or tumbling class. They often have scholarships as part of a Leave No Child Inside initiative for those families experiencing financial hardship. You might be surprised. Good Luck!

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