Weekly listing of free or frugal fun family activities~weekend of August 28

Every week I publish a list of free or low-cost activities for your family. At the very least, every activity has a discount code or coupon available. Keeping the kids busy and entertained is hard, doing it on a budget is even harder. So here you go, here is this week’s list. I usually start with what is in the metropolitan Philadelphia area and then the second part is a national listing. Visit this site every week for free family fun and family activities in and around Philadelphia and Chester county. Thanks to More With Less Today for help with the list.

Both LONGWOOD GARDENS and SESAME PLACE will have fireworks this weekend! Check their websites for details.

I apologize for not having done this post in over a month! But here you go, new and updated.

Have fun and if you want anything ever listed here, just email me.

Visit my list of free summer reading programs for kids.

Events in Philadelphia and Chester County

Greenfest Philly returns with FREE Family Fun!

Edible bugs, rock wall, kids’ yoga, arts, crafts, food, music, more

Join us for the Clean Air Council’s 9th Annual Greenfest Philly on Sunday, September 7, 2014 from 10:00am to 4:00pm in Headhouse Square (2nd/South Street). The tri-state region’s largest environmental festival is bigger than ever with live music, free demos, an outdoor beer garden, organic food and drinks, handmade and green shopping, MOM’s Organic Market Kids’ Corner, a twenty-five foot rock wall, and even edible bugs. Admission is free. Festival “Green Cards” are also on sale at www.greenfestphilly.org for $30 that includes food and drink discounts, a free t-shirt, and eco-friendly swag. For more information, visit the website, call 215-567-4004, and follow @greenfestphilly on Twitter.

Labor Day Fun: Celebrate the holiday weekend with family – and famous friends from outer space this Sat! Stop by the FREE Labor Day Barbecue with Buzz Lightyear at Richboro, PA’s Gasper Home & Garden Showplace to meet-and-greet the Toy Story star or venture to the Delaware Children’s Museum in Wilmington for Star Wars Science, where the Empire invades with favorite characters and hands-on experiments and activities. Looking for something to do on your Monday off? Head into the city for Franklin Square‘s Labor Day Celebration, complete with carnival games and train rides. Or celebrate with Philadelphia’s Tri State Labor Parade and Festival at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, where the whole family will be entertained by face painters, magicians, a make-and-take craft center, kids’ attractions and live music. The parade begins at 9am and travels from Columbus Blvd. & Washington Ave.

From the “you know you want to” files: All summer long, Governor Tom Corbett and his wife are hosting Second Sunday events and they will be opening up the Governor’s Mansion grounds to the public. For more information, visit www.pa.gov/firstlady or contact the First Lady’s Office at 717-787-1965. I’m assuming that these events are free as I do not see a price listed any place.

Editor’s Note: The dates and themes of the Second Sunday events are as follows:

Sunday, Sept. 14:  Gallery Walk and Artist-led Canvas Painting​

Don’t miss my nice long list of free summer reading programs.

First Friday events: Different boroughs and municipalities do different things for First Friday. Some do Art Strolls, some do Family Activities. Some of the locales in Chester County that do First Friday Events are:

west chester thursdays
kimmel center
PNC is once again sponsoring some FREE programs at the Kimmel Center. Visit KimmelCenter.org for more information.

The Philadelphia Art Museum has “pay what you wish” Wednesdays. This program is also available the first Sunday of every month.

The Philadelphia Art Museum also participates in the Blue Star program for military families. See their site for details. The Blue Star program allows military families to visit over 2000 museums nationwide at no cost.

From now until September 1, the Academy of Natural Sciences has a $2 coupon on their website for their Birds of Paradise exhibit.

Locals, the Avon Grove Lions Club Book Barn is now open. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from April to October. I have found great deals there on kids’ books. Contact them for specific hours and directions (on the grounds of Mother Earth Mushroom Farm in Avondale, off of 41) because they do change it up for holiday weekends.

Garden State Discovery Museum: Offering special BOGO days, if the weather is sunny (not raining) and higher than 65 degrees, come in for a special BOGO admission. Not sure of when it starts and ends, contact them for details.

Sunday Bird Walks-Date: Starts January 5 at 8:00 am. Repeats every Sunday from 8-11 am. Please visit the Delaware Nature Society website to register. Or contact  office@bucktoecreekpreserve.org  Cost: FREE Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve: 432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA. Description: Hike with a Delaware Nature Society staff member through the meadows and woodlands of Bucktoe Creek Preserve every Sunday at 8:00 am.
Free Sunday Mornings at Brandywine River Museum, runs now through mid-November.
Free First Sundays at the Barnes Foundation-limited to 2 adults and 2 kids per family.
If you are interested in any of the theater shows at the Avenue of the Arts in Philadelphia, I recently learned that you can go to the box office the day of the show and buy discounted tickets. Visit the Kimmel Center page for more information.

Ongoing events or events for kids with special needs:

Special Needs Story Time-Every Wednesday and Thursday at Spectra Support Services in Havertown

EcoZone Afternoon-Pocono Environmental Education Center, Dingmans Ferry PA-Sundays.

free family fun


Happy Labor Day Weekend! We hope you will enjoy a long weekend with family and friends. If you are looking for some fun on a budget, we have compiled a list of national retailers with hands-on workshops and free events for this weekend and many more that are coming soon.

Make some memories and try a new workshop, lesson, or craft. There are free and fun weekend activities are available all across the USA! If you enjoy this list, be sure and bookmark this master list of free store events or PIN It for later!

 Be sure to share this money-saving list with your friends and family. If you know of any others to include, please let us know! We update this list every Thursday.

 It is always best to call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.



:: American Girl Store Events

Special events differ by location. During August they include Celebrate Pets, a Summer Flower Anklet Craft, Summer Fun Celebration, Doll ‘Dos and How-To’s, Bitty Baby and Me Story Time, and Meet the Author Tours.

Many of the American Girl in store events are free, however some have a fee and some have age restrictions. Get the details here and find participating stores.

barnes and noble nook events

:: Barnes & Noble

Free Story Time, NOOK events and Author Events - Find the times and participating Barnes and Noble stores here.


hometown festval bass pro shops

:: Bass Pro Shops

August 30th and August 31st – Hometown Festival with Free Family activities.

From 11 AM to 5 PM both days, kids can win prizes, find hidden treasures, get their faces painted, test their casting skills, and enjoy free ice cream. Contact your local store here for details.

Ongoing – Outdoor Skills Workshops – free classes offered on a regular basis on topics such as bass fishing, fly fishing, hunting and more. Contact your local store here for details.

container store events

:: Container Store

Learn the tricks of organization with expert demonstrations on Saturdays and Sundays, now thorough October 19th. Find more information and find your closest Container Store here. Times and event dates vary by location. 

disney summer-playdays

:: Disney Stores (the last weekend)

Disney Stores are offering Summer Play Days every day this summer now through September 1, 2014. The fun includes Art of Animation, Trivia, Story Time and Showtime. Check your local store for event details and times. Kids will receive a free button for participation each week.

guitar center free classes

:: Guitar Center 

Saturday, August 30th {no age restriction}

10 AM - Recording Made Easy for iPad

10:15 AM – Group Guitar Lesson

More free classes are offered during the week with their Music Mentor Series. Register at the Guitar Center website here.

whimsical wind catcher

 :: Lakeshore Learning Store

Saturday, August 30th from 11 AM-3 PM  and a few locations offer crafts every Sunday. 

Kids make and take a Whimsical Wind Catcher. Get more information here

michaels kids crafts in stores

:: Michael’s Kids Club

Saturday, August 30th – 10AM – 12 Noon

Grandparent’s Day Card

Kids Club – for $2 per child, you can reserve 30 minutes for kids to create while you shop at Michael’s. Sessions start every half hour from 10AM – 11:30. See a store associate to sign up.Get more information here.

microsoft summercamps

:: Microsoft Camp (last weekend)

Registration is open for free weekly in-store camps, now through August 29th. Camps are broken up into two age groups for Jr. Designers (recommended for ages 8-10) and Designers (recommended for ages 11-13), so choose the camp that fits your student’s interest and sign up today.


williams sonoma technique

:: Williams-Sonoma Free Technique Classes

Saturday,  August 30th {for kids} at 10 AM ~ Jr. Chefs will learn how to make delicious pizza dough from scratch.This Jr. Chef Class is suitable for ages 9-13. To reserve a spot, contact your closest store right here

Sunday, August 31st {for adults} ~ Learn how to make homemade pizza by mixing and matching seasonal ingredients for custom-made pies.To reserve a spot, and find out specific class times, contact your closest store right here.


::  Bank of America Customers – FREE Museum Weekend

Saturday, September 6th and Sunday, September 7th

Bank of America’s Museums on Us is offering free admission to more than 150 museums nationwide. Simply present your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card along with a photo ID to gain free general admission to any participating institution. Cardholders only; guests are not eligible for free admission.  For more information about Museums on Us, visit: http://museums.bankofamerica.com.

:: Broadway Week Two for One Tickets

September 1st through September 14th

Get two for one tickets for many of the top Broadway shows and musicals. Get more information and tickets here.

:: FTD FREE Flowers for Good Neighbor Day 2014

Celebrate friendship and local heroes on Wednesday, September 10th when hundreds of FTD florists all across the USA are planning local events and spreading kindness by giving away free floral bouquets. Get more information and find participating florists here.

:: Gymboree

September 5th from 10AM to Noon

The World of Eric Carle – caterpillar crafts and storytime at Gymboree stores. Get more information here.

:: Home Depot Workshop for Adults

Saturday, September 13th and Sunday, September 14th from 10AM to 11:30AM

 Come Improve DIY Skills. Learn home improvement skills at your favorite local store. Contact your local store for individual topics. You can pre-register online here.

:: Home Depot Workshop for Kids

Saturday, September 6th from 9 AM to 12 PM ~ Build a Wizard of Oz Birdhouse. You can pre-register online here.

:: Lego Mini Model – Next event is 9/2 at 5PM

Usually held monthly in stores, kids ages 6 to 14 can build and binoculars. Contact your closest LEGO® Store here for details.

:: Lowe’s Build and Grow

Saturday, Septembe 13th  at 10AM ~kids build and take a Monsters vs Aliens Robot. You can pre-register right here.

:: FREE National Parks Entrance Day

September 27th Free National Park Lands Day

Most national parks will have free entrance on September 27th. Go to the National Park Service website for more information and to find all participating national parks.

:: Pottery Barn

Sunday, September 14th at 11 AM ~ Decorate Your Living Room. Find a participating store and RSVP here.

:: Smithsonian Magazine Free Museum Day- 1500 Participating Museums

September 27th get FREE general admission for 2 people to many fabulous museums all across the USA! Request your tickets here, print them out and bring them with you.

:: YOGA Month

September is National Yoga Month with over 1,600 yoga studios offering 1 free week of yoga classes during September and October for new students. Get more information and print out your free pass here.

More to Explore Throughout the Year:

:: Apple Camp

Enrollment is open for kids ages 8-12 to attend Apple Camp. This is popular free camp where kids can learn to make movies or create interactive books complete with their own illustrations and sound effects. Hurry, spots fill up quickly. Go here to sign up.

:: Apple Store

Free workshops – learn the basic of Mac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod. Learn how to create slideshows with iPhoto. Edit home movies with iMovie and more! Find your local store and make a reservation for a free workshop here.

:: Bass Pro Shops Free Classes

You can sign up for free workshops such as archery basics for kids, hunting, fishing, fly-fishing, camping, and boating. Contact your local store for their schedule.

:: FREE Beauty Events

Find free beauty events at local stores with free samples and demonstrations. Visit the website that keeps track of these right here.

:: Sephora: Free In Store Beauty Classes

Join the Sephora Beauty club {it is free} and attend free beauty classes inside Sephora stores to learn everything from building a skin care routine to creating the perfect smoky eye. Classes are held on Sunday at more than 60 stores across the USA. Check with your local stores for schedules and times.

:: Home and Garden Shows

If you like Home and Garden shows, this site will give you a free pass. Check the ACS Home Show site.

:: Michael’s Show In Tell {for adults}

Learn something new with in-store demonstrations for new craft ideas, techniques, and creative new trends. From cake decorating, jewelry making, art painting, paper crafting and more, get your local calendar of events right here.

:: FREE Major League Baseball Clinics

Through the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, kids can attend a free baseball clinic in many locations across the country. The free program is called Free Legends for Youth Kids Clinics.

:: FREE Bowling

Kids Bowl for Free at select bowling centers. Just join their mailing list to get notified of the next Kids Bowl Free Day.

:: Free Fitness Classes

Lululemon locations offer free yoga classes, go here for schedules and locations. Athleta stores offer free in store fitness classes, go here for schedules and locations.

:: Free Flying Lessons

Young Eagles - kids ages 8 to 17 experience aviation and get free rides in private aircraft flown by experienced pilots. Get more information here.

:: FREE Roller Skating

Kids Roller Skate for Free: Find the closest participating facility right here.

:: FREE SKI Passport for 5th Graders

Go to www.5thgradeskipassport.com to get a free pass in Idaho or the Pacific Northwest. For other areas, search for your state with the words “5th grade ski pass + your state”, or the name of your local ski resort.

:: FREE Wine Tasting

Total Wine stores offer free wine tasting classes each weekend. Learn about specific producers, regions and varietals. Where allowed by law, participants receive special discounts on the wine being tasted. View the FREE Wine Tasting Schedule here.


:: More Free Museum Dates

This site, www.freemuseumday.org, tracks free museum days in the following cities: Boston, Chicago,Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Francisco Bay Area, and the Seattle Area.

:: Celebrate Crazy Holidays 

Have some silly fun on a budget! Celebrate Slinky Day, Trail Mix Day, Windcatcher Day and more! Get the schedule here.

Be sure and check out your local library and parks and recreation departments for free programs and summer events right in your hometown!

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