20 Free or Cheap Toddler Activities to Beat Winter Cabin Fever!

February is tough!  The excitement of Christmas and the New Year has subsided and we are still left with the blistering cold weather.  As February begins, we all need a fresh list of ideas for things to do with our little ones! There are many toddler activities and projects you can plan inside, but sometimes you just need to get out of the house on some toddler outings to beat winter cabin fever.  20 Free or Cheap Toddler Activites to Beat Winter Cabin Fever! Ideas to get out of the house with your little ones!

Many mornings I look at all the coats, hats, gloves, scarves and diaper bags and I seriously think about not going anywhere. (Can I just make a side note how incredibly evil it is that you have to take their coats off to put them in carseats and then put them back on! Like it’s not hard enough already to be a parent and get out of the house in the winter…but I digress).

When we do get out and do an activity, we ALL feel so much better, myself included.  I can see Ellis looking at EVERYTHING- smiling and laughing at all of the scenery, making connections from all of the new things.  Miles practices socializing, sharing or lack thereof and learning to follow directions and sit still during the art classes.  I can potentially have an adult conversation or help them learn something new.  The benefits are sooo worth it!

Most people that know me, know that I love to research.  I’ve always planned vacations, researching the best things to do and places to stay.  So I started to research what our options were so that we could make it part of our routine. For us, morning outings work best and we get out of the house at least 3 days of the week.  The other two days I use that time to catch up with housework. (Or we make orange slime so I can avoid cleaning! Lol) During the summer we made a super fun bucket list to take advantage of all the events and pool time we can manage! 

This list is geared towards toddlers, because my 7 month baby Ellis will be happy anywhere! He enjoys the music activities best though.  The majority of the activities on this list we have done and enjoyed with a toddler and a baby, except for the swimming- I haven’t worked up the nerves to be in a pool with both of them by myself. We also don’t really have a mall in Chicago so I don’t go, but February may give me the surge to drive to the suburbs.

After looking at all of our options, we decided that these are the 20 best winter outing options to beat winter cabin fever!

  1. Story Time at the Library
  2. Discounted Museum Days
  3. See a Children’s Theatre Play
  4. Events at the Zoo
  5. Dance in a Music Class
  6. Playdates/ Local Play Groups
  7. Go Sledding
  8. Indoor Playspaces/Cafes
  9. Visit an Aquarium
  10. Make Snow Angels
  11. Nature Museums or Conservatories
  12. Kid Places- Bounce Houses, Fun Centers
  13. Walk through the Mall
  14. Take an Art Class
  15. Build a Snowman
  16. Indoor Family Swim
  17. Mommy and Me Yoga/Workouts
  18. Try a Sport at a Gym/YMCA
  19. Park District Toddler Play
  20. Kid Events- Concerts, Winterfests

As an example, here are 10 of our favorite outings in Chicago.

  1. Our neighborhood library- Tuesday Morning and Thursday Afternoon Story and Play Time
  2. Lincoln Park Zoo- Free Electric Neil Concerts on Wednesday and Friday Mornings (In the Barn so it’s warm!)
  3. Little Beans- Indoor Playspace is half off on Mondays
  4. Got a Discount Pearachute Membership for drop in classes. We like Mixed Media Art for 2-5 year olds and a Stomp and Shout Music Class.
  5. Kids Concerts- Various places and times
  6. Children’s Museum- Free the first Sunday of the month
  7. Shedd Aquarium/Museum of Science and Industry/Field Museum- Free Illinois Resident Days! Many dates in February
  8. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has daily butterfly releases at 2pm- Free for Illinois Residents on Thursdays
  9. Garfield Park Nature Conservatory- Morning Glories on Mondays and Juicebox Concerts on Saturdays
  10. Toddler Open Jump- Early Weekday Mornings at Pump It Up Bounce House

Make your own city specific list!

I used these resources and jotted down our options on the calendar.

  • Redtricycle.com
  • Macaronikid.com
  • Mommy Nearest
  • Parent Magazine (for your area)
  • Websites: Park District, Library, Museums, Zoo, Nature Museum
    • Look for deals!
    • Other Moms/Caregivers

20 Toddler Activities to Beat Winter Cabin Fever! Get out of the house with your little ones for these fun activities!What are you waiting for? Get out and have some fun! Come back and tell me how it went. 🙂

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About Shantall Bond

Hi! My name is Shantall and I’m here to share all things parenting, handling change and tales through the city with my boys.

2 thoughts on “20 Free or Cheap Toddler Activities to Beat Winter Cabin Fever!

    1. Shantall Bond says:

      Definitely! It’s a lot of fun to see their faces light up in new surroundings.

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