So, here are some free (mostly free) things that we love to do in our area. (ok, now it's our old area- but I am sure there are tons of free things in every community). There may be a lot of pictures coming.....
Lowes and Home Depot offer these great clinics for kids on Saturday mornings where the kids get to build something cool from a kit and then take it home. This is a great thing for dad to take them too, but I have been taking them lately as hubby has had lots of Saturday things to do. They even give the kids aprons and patches for each project. Lou's favorite part is the tiny hammer. Lowes program is on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month and is called Build and Grow. Home Depot is on the first Saturday on each month and is called Kids Workshops.
Barnes and Noble has monthly kids programs (in addition to their weekly kids story times) where they either have a book themed party or have a character come in. Our favorites have been theFancy Nancy party and then recently, we went to the American Girls Luau party. They make crafts, play games, listen to a story, have a snack, etc. You can search for events at your local B&N here. FYI: You must register for the party events ahead of time, I always see kids getting turned away and they are pitiful looking.
The zoo sure isn't free, but they often have free nights. Ours has free rides night and since we get a season pass for Lou's birthday each year, it's kinda like it's free. Free rides night is a GOOD deal, the rides are silly expensive. The last time, we got caught in a rain storm and ended up visiting the dingos (who don't like the rain either) for about 30 minutes. Florida rain showers are quick and frequent and heavy. Luckily, the sun comes out and everything is sunny and lovely just a short time later.
Our little town has an amazing parks and rec department. They offer $1 playdough day where you can go play playdough at the rec center. They have $1 painting day, where you can just go and let the kids paint (they clean up!). One ofour favorites is the mommy and me at the gazebo. Each time they have a differnt 'host' to lead some entertainment. They have had a local Music with Mar gal come and lead the kids in songs, we've seen some kids performers, sometimes the waldorf school comes and lead the kids in rhymes and songs. Recently, the local gymnastics studio came and set up a course for the kids to run through. Good free fun.
Our parks and Rec also hosts larger events. recently, we went to snowfest. Silly FL kids didn't mind that it was really just crushed ice. There was even sledding. People waited in line for 30 minutes to go down the 'hill' once. I didn't want to wait in line, it was too hot o I promised Bee and Lou hours of sledding this winter. Lou knew what to do with the 'snow'.... throw it at his sister.
We have so many festivals and street fairs to choose from . Actually, our town has a street fair each month called Third Friday. There is a musical performance at the gazebo (that's how I found one of my favorite bands, Lucid Druid -just checking their website to link up, I see I missed a local performance on friday night, it would have been so awesome to go!), street performers, artists, lots of craft booths, homemade soap, animal rescue groups have pet adoptions, the local resturants bring out tents and serve food. It's a fun evening and we always bump into friends there. (They had a parade last month!)
Our local Clearwater threshers team has one free night a year. They also have $2 Tuesdays (and the kids are free anyway) so that's a cheap good time. $2 to park, $4 for two adults, and if you want, they have $1 cheeseburgers or $2 hotdogs. They also have $2 beers... if you hang out with those types.