Looking for ways to entertain your kids on the cheap? Here's a round up of free and nearly-free events that your kids are sure to love. It includes workshops, summer camps, story times and more.
The Home Depot Kids Workshops
Bring out the do-it-yourselfer in your child by taking part in the free Kids Workshops at Home Depot. Workshops take place the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. - noon at all store locations. You child will receive a free orange apron, and a new pin for their apron, each time they complete a project. Adult participation is required. These events are popular, so be sure to register ahead of time to guarantee your spot. To register, visit the HomeDepot Workshops page, and enter your zip code to bring up all the stores in your area. Then, click on the "register" button next to your preferred store to complete the sign up process.
Michael's Kids' Club
Have crafty kiddos? Then, the Kids' Club at Michael's is a must-do. It features a new craft each Saturday. Just drop in anytime between 10 a.m. and noon; pay $2; and you're free to shop while they create. There's also Camp Creativity in the summer. It runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. til noon, and costs $2 per hour for ages 3+ and $5 per hour for ages 6+, which includes all supplies. The camp runs seven weeks, and each week has a different theme. Fridays are all about making slime. Be sure to check the store calendar for free Make Break events that you can participate in as a family. These happen throughout the year, usually on the weekends. Just drop in during the scheduled hours to try your hand at a fun project, and you'll get to take it home with you when you're done.
Barnes & Noble Storytimes
Foster a love of books in your child by participating in one of Barnes & Noble's free story times, which include a story and a creative activity to go along with it. Themes and times vary from location to location, so check with your nearest store for specifics. Be sure to sign your kids up for their summer reading program, too. They'll earn a free book, after they read eight.
Pottery Barn Kids In-Store Events
With story times, character meet-and-greets and more, there's always something fun (and free) to do at Pottery Barn Kids. Kids receive a surprise after attending five events.
The Apple Store Youth Workshops and Summer Camp
Sign your kids up for a free one-hour workshop, where they can learn how to do things like make movies or record music. Apple also has a free three-day summer camp for kids age 8-12, Choose between coding, robotics, moviemaking or musical storytelling. Camp tends to fill up fast. Sign up to be notified when registration opens, so your kids don't miss out.
Lego Store Free Mini Builds
Each month, Lego Stores offer a free building event for kids ages 6-14. Register in advance to claim a spot for your kids (Registration opens the 15th of the month for the next month's event). They'll get to build the monthly model, and take it home with them. That means a free activity and free Lego bricks!
Note: You now need to be a Lego VIP member to participate in the monthly builds. It's free to sign up.
Kids Bowl Free
Register your kids on KidsBowlFree.com, and they'll get two free games of bowling each day this summer, at participating bowling alleys. This doesn't include the shoe rental, but some bowling alleys allow you to purchase an unlimited shoe rental pass.
Free Museum Admission
If you're a Bank of America, Merrill Lynch or U.S. Trust customer, be sure to take advantage of their Museums on Us program. Just flash your credit/debit card and I.D. at the admission counter to get free admission to hundreds of museums on the first full weekend of every month. The list of participating locations includes children's museums, history museums, botanical gardens and more. Use this program to cover your adult admissions, so you only have to pay for your kids. Some of these museums already offer free admission for kids, making for a totally free outing once a month.