As a toddler mum, I’m always looking for new ways to keep my little man entertained. There’s only so many episodes of Hey Duggee or visits to the soft play one can take without contemplating spiking your own coffee – even if the wee fella is quite content to watch and do the same thing over and over again.
New activities are good for all – toddlers get to explore and expand their horizons, learning as they go, and us parents get to save our sanity for one more day. However, many activities come with a price tag, which means they aren’t always possible or accessible. So I’ve tried to explore a variety of different activities in a range of locations, both indoor and outdoor, which at least offer free toddler places, if not free for adults too.
It’s important that our kids get a range of experiences and that we have the opportunity to provide them with fresh ideas, games, things to explore and places to go. I’ve started with some of the places closest to home for me, but I am looking to expand locations as I go. On top of this, I’m looking for a variety of different experiences which stimulate different senses or get different parts of the brain working. So it won’t be a list of physical activities (playparks, outdoor adventure etc) and viewing activities (farms, aquariums etc) but also experiences and learning activities that encourage skills like reading, writing, counting etc.
The list below will link to posts about each activity or attraction. The posts are a mixture between a review, our experience and what you can expect for free, plus any other information such as additional extras, accessibility etc.
- Ardardan Estate – we visit here quite regularly, and they are currently improving the farm to include more animals and a children’s playpark by 2020 (Unfortunately this has been postponed due to Coronavirus pandemic). Read the post to see what’s on offer there.
- Loch Lomond Faerie Trail – Brilliant attraction and walk in a scenic area. Read the post to find out how to make the most of the trail.
- Briarlands Farm – this Stirlingshire farm contains more than your regular farm animals, with tractor rides, play areas, mazes, archery and even go-karts! Located next to Blair Drummond Safari Park, it offers a completely different animal experience.
- Lamont Farm – a charity farm project based in Erskine. Dense city-farm which focuses on the welfare of animals and rehoming animals
- Loch Lomond Sea Life Centre – Aquarium based at Loch Lomond Shores in Balloch, with seasonal displays and interactive experiences.
- Tyndrum Gruffalo Trail – Free woodland trail based on characters from the book by Julia Donaldson. In Tyndrum, Stirlingshire.
- Monty’s Farm Park
- Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre
- Riverside Museum
- Tall Ship
- RSPB Loch Lomond