Now that winter has really set in with its frigid temperatures and snowy days, keeping a infant or toddler entertained can be challenging. With a new baby of my own, I'm always looking for reasons to get out of the house for a change of scenery—I find it helps both my little one and me avoid cabin fever. Here are 10 of my favorite ideas for busting boredom and staying sane during the upcoming chilly weeks.
Make a habit of going to a regular library storytime for babies. Whether you pop in for a formal story time or just go to read some books on your own, visiting to the library is a great way to get out of the house. There are often singalongs and other activities geared for all ages, but even just exploring new books can be a breath of fresh air. Bonus: Libraries are free and provide a quiet place to nurse if you’re still in the phase. And many libraries provide free or discounted museum passes to members, which leads me to my next suggestion...
Soak in some culture with baby. Photo courtesy of Parents Tours
Take advantage of deep discounts for babies at museums. If your child is really young, bring them to a museum that you like so they can nap in the stroller or carrier while you take in some art. Dozens of museums and attractions around Boston are free for babies. We recently did this with my baby and he loved looking around the Museum of Fine Arts once he woke up (they even have play dates for slightly older kids). And if your child is a bit older, they’ll love visiting the Boston Children’s Museum and Museum of Science to explore the exciting exhibits. If you want to meet other parents and caregivers while visiting a museum, check out the guided Parent Tours meet-ups—there’s one coming up soon.
Bundle up and get out! If the weather isn’t too frightful, bundle up and head outside for a breath of fresh air. You can stretch your legs right in your own neighborhood or you can venture to a local walking path or park. And if it’s too cold to stay outside for long, walk indoors at a local mall. It’s one of my go-to activities for sneaking in a stroller nap and some exercise now that the ground is so icy.
Shop around for a great play place or playgroup. There are tons of indoor play places all over the Greater Boston area that are perfect for your baby, toddler or older kid. Many local cities and towns also have free or inexpensive playgroups that can you can sign up for in advance or drop in to if you’re not ready to commit. These are the options in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville.
Find out if your local book store that has story times or singalongs. Libraries aren’t the only places to hear music or a new book. Many local kids’ stores, bookstores and play places also host storytellers and musicians for weekly events that are usually free. Stick around after for playtime or head to a nearby coffee shop with fellow moms to keep the outing going.
Go to a babywearing event. Babywearing International hosts regular meetings so you can try on or even borrow baby carriers—and meet other moms, dads and caregivers. Plus the group often gets together for fun activities like brunch at kid-friendly restaurants. Both are great ways to get out and meet other parents and their little ones. You can also get some exercise while babywearing when you attend one of Mama Ballroom’s classes—find the group in Sudbury this January.
Keep up with—or start—a yoga practice. There are tons of yoga studios in and around Boston that have classes geared toward mom where baby is welcome. In my experience, these have been one of the most fun ways to get out of the house and meet other moms. The classes are helpful for healing postpartum and a fun way to entertain baby in a different environment.
Take in the sights and smells (and pick up dinner) of one of Boston's great markets. Cold weather makes me want to eat all the comfort foods, and there are no better places to find delicious treats than the Boston Public Market and Eataly. They are both super kid friendly (BPM even has a children’s play area) and the perfect spots to spend a chilly morning or afternoon. And because Eataly is in the Prudential Center, you can walk off your pasta and pizza without ever having to put your coat on.
Photo courtesy of LEGOLAND Discovery Center
Give in to Lego mania. The Boston outpost of Legoland is actually in Somerville at the new Assembly Row development and its a winning spot to spend a winter day with a toddler. In fact, most second and fourth Tuesdays of the month are Toddler Tuesdays at Legoland. This means there’s a special activity and storytime that’s age-appropriate for younger kids.
Introduce baby to the water before pool season is here. Even if your baby is only a few months old, you can sign up for swimming lessons. There are a ton of places in the Boston area that run programs where babies and toddlers learn to love the water and you learn water safety. It’s a great way to bond and get out of the house in a warm, indoor location when the weather isn’t cooperating.
Post originally published in January 2015; updated January 2018.
Top photo via Bigstock