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My goal is to socialize my son, since most of the time, it is just him and me. So, I try to find things to do that aren’t going to cost me much. And I have managed to find several places to go with my child that don’t cost me anything other than gas money.

For example, Story time at the local library. The library is eleven minutes up the road and they have story time for his age group at least three times a week. It’s at 10 am, so he is still in a great mood and it isn’t just sitting and reading; the children’s librarian does finger games with them and the books are interactive, so the children can get up and jump and stomp or dance. There is free play at the end and a bit of music for them to listen to.

I know it is finally getting warmer, so the playgrounds and parks are open for business and we have one that is right around the corner; as long as we go during the week when there are not a lot of other children, my son is delighted with that. However, when it was nasty out or when it is raining, I also use our local mall, which has a small area for children to play in, as well as the Chik-fil-a and the local McDonald’s, which both have indoor play gyms. He likes McDonald’s better. My very brave toddler likes to climb to the top, by himself and wave at me.

On Saturdays, our local PetSmart hosts puppy adoption day, so we go and he can pet the puppies and the cats since we aren’t allowed to have pets in our apartment. We do want a dog eventually, so I don’t want him to be afraid of animals. Cautious, yes, afraid, no.

Recently, I also found a weekly music class for 5 and under. It is free but they request a donation; it takes place at Treehouse Coffee Café and I like it because, hello, coffee and he likes it because he is very into music.

Everything I take him to is mostly free or low cost; I worry that if I took him to one of those big indoor playgrounds that he would panic and not want to play, the same concern with a regular toddler music class. If it doesn’t cost me anything, I feel less guilty if we leave in the middle because he is tired or bored.

However, there are some plans in the works that will cost us. I signed him up for swim classes at the local college, so we will be doing that once a week for a bit. I also have plans to take him to the zoo, the aquarium, a children’s garden, the beach, maybe a water park or an amusement park- it depends on how tall he is- and do something once a month during the summer. One thing I would like to do is A Day Out with Thomas, since he loves Thomas the Tank Engine.

But nothing costs more than $25 per person and most of the time, he is still free because he is under the age of two. And if I set my mind to it, he and I would have something to do every day of the week and it wouldn’t cost a thing.

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