Trying to find frugal fun this autumn with a toddler in tow

Trying to find frugal fun this autumn with a toddler in tow

So I noticed that there was quite a lot of negativity around here and not a lot of joy. It probably reflects how I feel right now, hell, how everyone feels. And it’s good to have an outlet and actually learn that other people feel the same.

However, these days are not perfect, but they are still days in our short lives that I want to try to make the best of, both for me and for my rambunctious toddler. Credit for inspiring this post goes to this ‘Free and Frugal Toddler Fun: The Autumn Edition’ from picksuppennies.

Though Autumn is an undeniably beautiful season, there is often the temptation to stay in where it’s warm. With reduced entertainment options (looking at you, germ infested soft play centres), it feels like there is a lot of autumn and winter to simply ‘get through’. But I’m hoping to mix things up so it feels like we’re more than just getting through.

So, here are some of the things I’m planning for October and November, with a 2 year old in tow.

Conker and aeroplane hunting

I’m guessing that my child, who loves to pick up sticks and stones, will also love picking up conkers and sycamore seeds that we always referred to as aeroplanes as kids for the way they fly when thrown up in the air.

I know our nearby park has horse chestnut trees so hopefully we’ll find lots of conkers there. I need to rack my brain for where there are sycamore trees that aren’t next to a main road but that we can collect safely but I’m hopeful that a play area nearby may have some. 🤞

‘Who can see’ autumnal walk

Penny’s Scavenger Hunt idea is just awesome, but just a tad outside my little one’s understanding and attention. So for now, I’m going to have a go at playing ‘who can see’ game. Hopefully this will provide a bit of a distraction from the cold when we’re out.

I know things like ‘who can see a girl on a bike’, ‘who can see a big brown dog’ and ‘who can see lots of leaves’ are things he will be able to understand and point to, and a good way to develop his language and understanding. (He loves the vehicle based version of this in the car, naturally!)

Brush up on my tree knowledge

Days with a toddler can feel like they’re all about the toddler, usually because they are. It’s hard to do something for yourself. They’re always there, smearing their grubby hands down the windows, taking bottles of milk out of the fridge or randomly throwing toys they’re getting frustrated with.

Whilst a 2 year old may be a bit little to appreciate different trees, I’m going to make it a mission to take photos of trees and leaves when I’m out walking so I can brush up on my awful tree knowledge. For someone who adores being surrounded by trees or being nestled under one, I sure don’t know much about them. In the next few years, it will be cool to pass that knowledge on.

Make porridge

On the one hand, I feel it’s important that kids are hands on in the kitchen, that they get the opportunity to bake and make and experience cooking. On the other hand, I’ve cooked and baked with kids and omg it’s stress stress stressful.

I recently tweeted about the idea of this versus the reality, and it’s clear that other people relate!

Making porridge is a really simple little thing that can just take up a little bit of time on those long days stuck at home.

My toddler was delighted to spoon porridge oats into a bowl, add in his choice of dried fruit and ‘help’ pour the milk in.

I’m now racking my brains for similarly easy ‘cooking’ ideas that are limited in stress and mess…

Plant up some spring bulbs

Much like cooking and baking, gardening with kids is both beneficial and stressful (deep sigh). But with fewer options for entertainment than this time last year, and a toddler with an interest in flinging soil about in general, I figure planting up some spring flowing bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, might be a fun activity for him and provide us with some homemade Christmas gifts for the grandparents.

I read that cauliflower can be planted year round, but I need to have a think about whether we’re ready for that level of gardening responsibility!


Yep, I went there.

The fact is, when you spend more time in the house, you make more mess. There’s the ‘do it when the toddler has gone to bed option’ or the ‘attempt to do it whilst they’re entertaining themselves even though it won’t last option’. So I’m trying to find ways to involve mine at least some of the time.

He will happily play a game of ‘who’s is this?’ when we fold dry washing (and is pretty darn accurate most of the time), and loves hoovering with his little hoover at the same time as me. It does, admittedly, elongate the process but it gets it done and involves him.

What else?

So this is where I ask for your ideas. Any suggestions at all for entertaining a toddler in these cold, wet months, and even better, any suggestions of things I can do FOR MYSELF whilst he tags along happily, always gratefully received. (Hilarious stories about attempts to bake or do gardening with kids also accepted!)

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