Paradise has the benefit of not being 80-gazillion degrees with 100% humidity. WOOOOO.
Paradise has a lot of things to spend money on, but it also has a lot of fun activities that are completely free. And we’ve been enjoying them!
1. We have been going to all sorts of different parks and playgrounds. The kids love this. And, unlike the playgrounds in our hometown, they still have swing-sets. Enjoy those swings while you still can, kids. We’d do playgrounds in our hometown as well, and many of them are shaded, but even shaded it was really an early morning or late evening activity. In Paradise we can take the kids whenever they’re feeling squiggly. Drawback: Their endurance is going way up.
2. The library! The last time we lived in a city this was a 20 min walk and we’d go once a week. Now it is a 7 min walk and we go LOTS. There are puzzles and so many books. Their romance section isn’t great, but their other branches have more books and they deliver to this branch, so that’s been fun. In our hometown the library isn’t as good and we have a lot more books at home so it was more of a once a month activity. Related: We’ve been reading more books. DC1 has technically done two summer reading programs this summer, one in our hometown and ze is signed up for the one here.
3. Free movies in the park. Every Friday evening in the summer there are free movies in one of the city parks. We do not do this in our hometown because it’s hot and there are too many mosquitos. I don’t go to these, but the kids have been enjoying them (DH has been tolerating them).
4. First Fridays. Every first Friday of the month there’s music and dancing and booths and so on in the townsquare closest to us. DC2 has been talking about the first one ever since it happened and cannot wait for the next. At home the town next to ours has first Fridays, but it’s a drive and there’s less free stuff. Related: there have been a couple of community street fairs that have a few food stands for local restaurants but are mostly things like the firepeople letting people climb all over the firetruck, ditto police people and a police car, the library staff playing banjo music etc.
5. Driving to state/local parks. (This does cost gas.) Some of the state parks in the area cost $ (though not much money) for either entrance fees or for parking, but many of the smaller ones do not. They spent two hours throwing pebbles and sticks into a pond and did not want to leave.
6. Grocery shopping/farmers markets/specialty markets. While not technically free, we have to get food for the week *anyway* and it’s been fun seeing all the different kinds of food there are. The kids love Trader Joe’s! Our friends out here with kids the same age say they never take their kids grocery shopping because they don’t behave, so YMMV on taking kids to do chores.
7. Biking. I haven’t gotten a bike yet [update: I ordered one], but DC1, DC2, and DH all have bikes, and DH has a seat for DC2 for longer distances. They have been having enormous fun just biking around. They’ve been doing a lot of seeing if they can get to daycare and DC1’s school, checking the cheap neighborhood bike guy to see if he has any adult bikes in yet, trying out playgrounds that are farther afield, and so on.
8. Walking. Just checking out the neighborhood and places we can walk to from where we live.
9. Playing with friends. We have some friends out here with kids exactly the same age as our kids and they’ve been having a great time. It’s been really odd socializing mid-week instead of just on weekends.
10. Going to short plays put on by a summer camp every other Friday just outside the library.
That’s it for so far, but we haven’t been here long! I suspect there will be activities attached to public school.
What have we been doing less of? Less ipad. Less Netflix. Less swimming (DC1 is taking lessons, but the HOA pool was free and we don’t have passes for the nearby pool). Fewer video games.
What have we been doing that costs money? Street fairs with yummy food. DH and the kids went to a museum (there are plans to do more, but spread out and when relatives visit). DC1 did a daycamp that had a field trip to an amusement park. As mentioned before, we signed DC1 up for a few daycamps in addition to swimming lessons. DC2 has daycare. DH has used up most of his saved up allowance on exploring coffee shops and sandwich places.
What free fun things do you do?