I almost fell into the trap myself; paying for activites to do with my son. When he was an infant, I was still pretty isolated. I didn't yet have the playgroup to hang out with and no real mom friends. So I when I would see local advertisements for Baby Yoga, $10/class I would start salivating. It sounded so appealing, being in a calming class with other new mothers and my new bundle of joy; however, I literally did not have the $10 to spare. So I didn't pursue it.
As I noticed how many paid baby activities there were in my neighborhood and in New York City in general, I started to feel like maybe there was something wrong with me. Perhaps I had to pay for activities to do with my baby to have a good time. So I hung my head down and went home.
Out of sheer curiosity, I began researching free baby activities online. At first I couldn't really find much. But then, I remembered my best friend, who recently graduated from an Early Childhood Education program, telling me that the Public Library had a great Early Childhood program.
Boy was she right! First I tried to attend a Story Time program at one of the Manhattan branches, but because of my perpetual lateness, I missed the program. This was after lugging my son and his stroller on the subway to West 4th Street.
But I didn't give up. I found out that The Grand Army Plaza branch of The Brooklyn Public Library was having Story and play Time for ages 0-5 Saturdays from 10am - 11am. This program was absolutely totally FREE.
The Story and Play program is awesome. All the children and parents gather in the children's room of the library which is very warmly decorated and carpeted. The librarian reads three stories, sings many songs, and then the kids are free to roam around and play with copious amounts of plastic toys! How wonderful! And it didn't cost me a cent.
The same library, at Grand Army Plaza, also has the Story Time/Babies and Books program for babies from 0-18 months. This takes place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am, 10:30am, and 11am respectively.
Each of these programs runs for 30 minutes. But beware, there are limited seats so you have to get there early to get a ticket for the program you wish to attend. It is similar to Story and Play except there is no play time. It is just reading books and singing songs. But there are puppets involved too!
I am so happy to have found the library. It's a great place hang out with your baby and it won't cost you a dime!