The kids are out of daycare and summer camp this week. Since Cooper’s daycare closes for a week every summer, we decided to keep Mason out of summer camp at the same time since we would have already been figuring out an alternative situation for watching Cooper during the day.
Luckily Jeremy and I were able to split the week (with the help of Nana too). So Jeremy has the kids Monday and Wednesday, and I have them Thursday and Friday. As we approached the week, I started trying to think of fun but free activities to do with the kids. The whole point of keeping Mason out of camp was to save some money, but I realized that we could be spending plenty just to keep them entertained for a week, hence my search for free fun!
So many people say there are plenty of free activities in the DC area. Yes, we have the entire Smithsonian at our fingertips, and yes, that is a big help! But even a museum can have hidden costs. Jeremy decided to take the kids downtown for the day. We found out there was a Lego Architecture exhibit at the National Building Museum. Big score! The kids love that place, and it’s an easy metro ride down there. But when looking into it, we found out it would cost $5 a person. Already stuck on the idea, Jeremy went ahead and did it. Metro fare and $10 later, the kids came back happy, sweaty, and tired. I guess the overall cost wasn’t too bad, but just one day in, and we’re already struggling.
Of the potential ideas I have had, only a few are actually free.
1. County owned pool (Kids are $4.00, Adults are $6.00 = $14)
2. County splash park ($4.50 per person = $13.50)
3. Playground tour of the area (Free except for gas costs and, oh yeah!, it’s super hot outside!)
4. Maryland Zoo (Technically free admission for us with our FONZ membership and a coupon from a traveling zoo show at Cooper’s school. Still gas costs, though.)
5. Great Kids Village ($10 per child = $20)
6. National Zoo (Free! Thanks to our FONZ membership, parking is free.)
7. Rocknoceros concert at Dulles Town Center (Free except for the train ride and carousel ride the kids will most likely want when they see them at the mall. Estimated $7)
8. Farmers Markets (I always have to buy flowers at a farmer’s market, so the cost will most likely be around $15 for a bunch of flowers. I’d put that as a grocery cost in our budget, though, so free entertainment cost. That is, if the kids actually find that entertaining… My guess is no.)
9. Library (Free!)
10. Playdates (Playdates at a friend’s house or our house are definitely free and definitely fun!)
Basically the most fun activities cost SOME money. I really don’t understand how stay-at-home moms do it. I am desperate to get out of the house and experience things with the kids, but I certainly couldn’t spend so much money each and every week. I’m having trouble just with the one week we are trying to fill.
The question still remains – What should we do? Any other suggestions out there? Nonetheless, I’m so looking forward to having two days off to spend with Mason and Cooper with no need to be checking my blackberry or laptop every 10 minutes. What a treat that will be!