Now that my son is in kindergarten, I find myself with ample one-on-one time with my 3 year-old daughter. This is the first year my daughter and I have had so many chances to spend solo time together since she was born because before this, my son also demanded much of my attention. The challenge underlying all of this quality time, however, is finding activities to do together that won’t drive me crazy or break the bank.

Here are five of my frugal, go-to mother-daughter dates that we both enjoy.

Breakfast Date

My daughter and I like going out for breakfast together, as donuts and kids go together like…well, donuts and coffee. I often bring something for her to color or play with so I can attempt to finish my mug of coffee before her attention span takes a nose dive.

Mall Rats

I never, ever took both kids to the mall by myself when they were babies and toddlers. When I went there alone on the weekends, I remember looking around and seeing tired moms dragging around strollers and think Why? Why are you doing that to yourself? But now that I’m down to one kid who no longer uses a stroller, the mall is a simple place to get out the wiggles on a cold, rainy day. My preschooler thoroughly delights in going up and down the escalator, and I don’t mind joining her.

Animals are Cool!

A zoo outing is a bit more of an adventure, but fortunately, we have a small zoo near our home that is completely free. If you go during the week, it isn’t crowded, and it’s a great way to spend an hour or two together. Many zoos and nature centers also offer inexpensive parent-child classes. If you and your kids love animals, the effort is worth it


5 Simple Mother-Son Playdate Ideas

Park Fun

My daughter may love nothing more than going to the park alone with me and claiming all of my attention. She sprints from the slide, to the swings, to the merry-go-round and back like a busy little bee. The hardest part is getting her to the car when it’s time to leave.

Being Bookworms

One of my favorite free activities to do with my kids is visit the library. I’m an obsessive reader, and I especially love reading to my kids. It’s one of those rare activities that, again, we all seem to relish. It doesn’t hurt that most libraries also have decent children’s DVD’s to borrow.

It can be challenging to make quality time without breaking the bank but here are five of frugal mother-daughter dates that everyone will enjoy!