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$5 outings - library and lunch

Reading to your child is good for you and for them.
Reading to your child is good for you and for them.
Photo by Tatyana Gladskih/Photoexpress

One of the keys to keeping your sanity while parenting preschool children is to get out of the house, even for just a couple of hours. However, with budget constraints and cold weather, options seem limited and you often feel stuck. Here is the first of a series of ideas for family outings on $5 or less.

Library – Free
Your local library not only has activities planned for children of all ages, but also has books, CDs and DVDs that you can check out for free. Go for story time, then spend some time reading with your children and let them help pick out some books to take home. Maybe you can even pick out a book or two for yourself. This has the added benefit of an opportunity to socialize with other parents who also need a break.

Lunch - $2-$5
Find a fast food restaurant that has a built-in playground and a dollar menu and you are set for another hour. If you bring your own drinks or just drink water, you can get enough food for everybody for less than $5. Arrange to meet other parents there for an easy play date, and your kids will have friends to play with while you have some much needed adult conversation. If your children are smaller you might consider lunch at off-peak times to avoid the crowds.

Head Home
After your outing it is time to go home, but you feel better for getting out of the house and your children had a good time with other children. At home the kids can nap or watch the DVD from the library while you read your new book. At the end of the day you sleep well knowing that you provided educational experiences for your kids without breaking the bank, and had fun doing it.

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