Letting children fiddle…for free (an attempt at a frugal summer holidays).

Today I had my niece and J for the day. As it was a sunny day I thought we’d walk into town. If I’m honest the thought of how much the 6 week holiday is going to cost helped me in this decision…after all, walking is free.

It was possibly the longest journey into town ever but I’m glad we did. We found a long row of blackberry bushes so the kiddies (and me) were walking along and eating them. My niece got to learn about the growing process and she took charge of finding ones that were black so ready to pick. J loves fruit so he was eager to join in with the eating…not caring about Mummy imparting her green fingered knowledge.

We went through the nature reserve. The kiddies ran free and we’re doing all sorts of gymnastics. I remember spending ages on the grass practising cartwheels as a child. It’s lovely to see my niece having a go…J’s version was to do an uncoordinated roll on the floor, haha.

We stopped off at the play park briefly. Considering how uncoordinated J is the large majority of the time, he is surprisingly good on balance beams. There was no ‘spinning’ toys so J soon tired of the park so we finally managed to get to town.

We had the obligatory MacDonalds but to save pennies I used vouchers that my niece had brought with her (she knows my ‘frugal ways’). So that save us a few pounds. I could have saved more by just sharing my fries with J instead of getting him a kids meal as he only ate a few nuggets and then refused to eat as there was a man sat next to us. He looked at J…in a friendly way and it just started J from functioning. He came to hide on my knee and then wanted to be in his buggy with the cover over him.

This seems to be a new thing. He’s gone from having zero stranger awareness (to the point he would happily so off with anyone and would try to hug strangers) to freezing and hiding whenever he goes in contact with someone he doesn’t know. This happened wth two girls sat chatting on the low level wall. As we approached, J covered his face and only came out once passed them. Then on the bus home there was a couple sat opposite so J had to have the coat over the buggy to shelter him. The people don’t talk to him or to try to engage him so I’m not sure what the catalyst is (answers on a postcard).

Anyway, once in town I wanted to cram is as much free or low cost things as I could. As we were walking passed the bank we saw a science museum exhibit. So we popped in for a look. It was hands on so I could let the kiddies fiddle about. With my niece I helped her read the info boards and we talked about the science of things.

With J I let him explore and play. I think it’s important for children to have chance to touch and interact with things. Yes, he didn’t give a monkeys about ultra violet light or how the sound strings worked but he felt new textures, saw cause and affect of the lights and sounds. Sometimes, fiddling can be good and opens up new experiences. 

We then went to the park. Again, free…except the children saw the inflatable slide so they had 6 goes each and relieved me of £4 (6 goes for £2-each). But they did love it and the smiles made it worth it…I say through gritted teeth.

We eventually made it to the free part. They headed to the sand and water part. J is fussy when it comes to sand. He’s only let his bare feet touch solid sand. If it’s too dry and too wet then it sticks to his feet and he won’t touch it. Today’s sand was perfect so off he went. It amuses me seeing his brain analyse where to put his feet. He found very weird pathways which took him across the ‘J approved sand’. 

They loved having a go on the water pump and ended up soaked. Again, it’s an example of where fiddling is fun. J was pushing water down the channel, using the bucket to scoop and catch water, using the actual pump etc. He was exploring cause and affect, change in movements etc. 

So, we were wet (the water pump isn’t totally to blame-we also got caught by a quick rain shower) and tired from all the walking. I decided that we’d get the bus home which only cost a couple of pounds as J is still free. The day cost us almost £8 in MacD’s, 80p for 3 cheap bottles of drink from discount shop to take to park. £4 for the slide and around £3 for the bus home. That’s £15.80 for a lovely day out with 2 children. Yes, when you say it like that it does sound more expensive than it needed to be. In hindsight we could have walked home, I could have taken food from home and next time I will take the route to the park that doesn’t go near the rides. So learn by my mistakes everyone, haha. 

Are your children fiddlers? Do you let them have a touch and feel? Oh, and any money saving tips appreciated…apparently I need them more than I thought! 😂 

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