Alternative Locations for a Playdate

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We’re always swapping ideas with other parents for fun things to do with the kids in our city. We all know about the museums and the local library and they’re definitely regulars in the rotation, but are there alternatives to these old standbys that are fun and free?

Call up a friend or two and take a trip together to the following:

Your nearest IKEA. This is a rare but exciting treat for our kids. Admission is always free; it’s the leaving without buying anything that seems to present a problem. My kids aren’t old enough to do drop off in their play zone but there is plenty of other fun to be had in the store. We usually head to the toy and kids’ furniture section and let the kids explore. There’s also a great play area in the IKEA cafe.

The big box hardware store. Home Depot often has monthly workshops for kids and I always found it fun to explore the store with my dad as a child. In the warmer months it’s fun to take the kids outside to the garden area and check out the water features, plants and flowers.

Kid-friendly bookstore. For kids who don’t have trains at home, the train table at bookstores like Barnes & Noble always gives a thrill.

Grocery stores. My kids love the grocery stores with the racing cars attached to the carts. They help me “drive” through the store and the trip always end with free balloons.

Anybody else have suggestions to share?