Weekly listing of free or frugal fun family activities

Edited 10/26/14: After reviewing the reader statistics for this post, I have made the decision to not maintain it. Sorry if you read it and enjoyed it, not enough people were reading it to warrant the time spent on it.

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.

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

Halloween events in and Around the Philadelphia area

Don’t miss the TV schedule for the ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween.

Special Event for Special Needs–coming next week!

On Sunday, October 26th, the Mummers will be joining The Friendship Circle of the Philadelphia Region South in hosting a walk-a-thon at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy . This special event helps raise awareness for youth with special needs and helps to fund various programs that the Friendship Circle holds. The walk will kick off at 1:30 pm and there will also have a Fun Fair where families can enjoy food, crafts, moon bounces, and more! For more info please check out the website here.

Events in Philadelphia and Chester County

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:

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.

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. THIS IS ALMOST OVER FOR THE SEASON–GO NOW IF YOU WANT BOOKS!

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. Coming soon–Pirate Day!

Pirate Adventure Day

Sunday, November 2, 10 a.m. to noon

Free admission 9:30 a.m. – noon  

Ahoy, mateys! Set sail for a morning of amazing pirate adventures for all ages. Create pirate-themed crafts, participate in a rope-tying demonstration led by Pirates of the Northern Star, hunt for art treasures in the museum, and hear tales of adventure presented by Hedgerow Theatre.

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:

Join Variety for an exclusive day at Sesame Place® on Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 10:00AM to 4:00PM! Ideal for families with young children, Sesame Place® is the place where parents and children can share in the spirit of imagination and experience Sesame Street® together. This event is open to Variety children and up to 5 additional family members (which can include a TSS/Aide). If you are from somewhere outside of our “service area,” which includes the Greater Philadelphia Region, Delaware and Southern New Jersey, you are still invited to attend! CLICK HERE to be taken to the Sesame Place website to register and receive your tickets.  When asked to enter a gift code, please enter 10-72651. **Must be registered with Variety Club of Philadelphia!

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 frugal family fun

Fun, Free or Cheap Weekend Activities for Everyone

Do you have plans for the weekend? 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. If you enjoy these free activities, be sure and bookmark this master list of free store events or PIN It for later!

Share this fun,money-saving list with your friends and family. And, if you know of any others to include, please let us know! It is always best to call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.


:: American Girl Special Store Events

Special events differ by location. During October, they include the Project Runway Inspired by BeForever™ tour, BeForever Postcard Craft, Decorate a Halloween Haunted House, Acorn Pouch Craft, Paper Pumpkin Craft, and more.

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

October 17th – October 26th building and modeling with Zoob for children ages 4-7 in select stores. A hands-on learning event.

Educators Appreciation Days, now through October 19th- special events and discounts for our wonderful teachers.

Free toddler story time, NOOK events, hands-on learning events and author events – find the times and participating Barnes and Noble stores here.


bass pro shops logo:: Bass Pro Shops

Outdoor Skills Workshops – free classes offered on a regular basis on topics such as archery, bass fishing, fly fishing, hunting, Successful Striper Angling (Fridays in October), 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 through October 19th. A $15 Store More Card is given away at each demonstration. Find more information and find your closest Container Store here. Times and event dates vary by location.

Disney Stores DressRehearsal_105x105

:: Disney Store Halloween Dress Rehearsal

Friday, October 17th from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Saturday, October 18 from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

You are invited to the Halloween Dress Rehearsal! Come dressed in your favorite Disney costume and enjoy Crafts, Games, and a Costume Parade! *Minimum age for participation is 3 years. Event limited based on store capacity. No lineups prior to 30 minutes before event begins. Event subject to change or cancellation without notice. While supplies last. Call your local store for details.


guitar center free classes

:: Guitar Center

Saturday, October 18th {no age restrictions for free music lessons}

10 AM – Recording Made Easy for Pro Tools

10:15 AM – Group Ukulele Lesson

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

:: Home Depot Workshop for Adults

Saturday, October 18th from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM – Correctly install a CO2/Fire alarm detector and a family emergency plan

~ Learn DIY Skills ~Topics vary by store~ You can pre-register online here.


bunny reading pointer lakeshore learning

:: Lakeshore Learning Store

Saturday, October 18th from 11 AM-3 PM and a few locations offer crafts every Sunday.

Kids make and take Bunny Reader bookmarks. Get more information here.

michaels kids crafts in stores

:: Michael’s Kids Club

Saturday, October 18th – 10AM – 12 Noon

Fun Frankenstein Mask craft project

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.


Pottery Barn Thanksgiving

:: Pottery Barn

Sunday, October 19th at 10 AM – Host the perfect Thanksgiving meal from setting the perfect table, centerpieces, decor and more. RSVP at your closest store, right here.

bricktober build

:: Toys R Us

Saturday, October 18th from 10 AM – 11 AM

Baby’s First Halloween

Bring your baby in costume and join in the fun Halloween parade. Meet other parents celebrating their baby’s first Halloween, plus raffles, giveaways and more.

Saturday, October 18th from 12 PM to 2PM

Bricktober Build

Build and Take a LEGO Bat Signal

williams sonoma technique

:: Williams-Sonoma Free Technique Classes

Saturday, October 18th {for kids} at 10 AM ~ Jr. Chefs – Pumpkin Treats – There’s more to pumpkin than just pie – join us and we’ll teach you how to make delicious pumpkin treats you can share with your family and even take to your Halloween parties. Suitable for ages 5-13. To reserve a spot, contact your closest store right here.

Sunday, October 19th {for adults} ~ All about pumpkins! We’re your destination for delicious pumpkin treats. Join us and learn how to prepare delicious and easy pumpkin favorites perfect for lunchboxes, weeknight dinners and weekend entertaining. To reserve a spot, and find out specific class times, contact your closest store right here.


:: Bass Pro Shops

October 24th – October 31st. It’s the Great Pumpkin Free Halloween Event -make crafts, get a FREE 4×6 photo, scavenger hunts and more.

October 25th is Trunk or Treat- get more information on their Facebook page here.

November 15th – Santa’s Wonderland Kids Event – more info coming soon.

:: Home Depot Workshop for Kids

Saturday, November 1st 4th from 9 AM to 12 PM ~ Build a Pallet Coaster. You can pre-register online here.

:: Lego Mini Model

Friday, October 31st – Trick or Treat event at Lego Stores.

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, November 8th at 10AM ~kids build a Science Lab. You can pre-register starting 10/27 right here.

:: Pottery Barn Kids

Saturday, November 1st from 5PM – 9PM .Pajama Jam – bring your teddy bears and enjoy cookies, milk, crafting and more. RSVP at your closest store right 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.

:: 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.

:: Factory Tours

Find factory tours all across the USA, go here, The site has 570 tours and counting! Many are free but some may have an admission fee. (thanks to the Happy Housewife for sharing this!)

:: 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.

:: Target – Free Community Events

Target is also sponsoring FREE community events ranging from free museum admission, free theater tickets, family activities and tours at some of our countries most famous venues. Times and locations vary by city. Find free family activities sponsored by Target in your area right 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 Chocolate Cupcake Day, Mulligan Day, Wear Something Gaudy Day, and more! Get the schedule here.

From time to time this blog may generate compensation through free products, sponsorship, advertising/ads, and links. But trust me, it's not 'retire early' kind of money and most of it goes back to keeping the blog online and fast, as well as lobbying trips for special needs kids. Any form of compensation will in no way influence my opinion or content of the blog post-I only work with brands that I already use and love, or think that will benefit kids with special needs. I am committed to providing honest and open opinion and commentary. I reserve the right to decline offers of advertising and sponsorships if it is not consistent with the goals and philosophy of this blog and its readers (and I turn down way more than I accept!). For inquiries about advertising or product reviews, please send an email to info@adayinourshoes.com. This blog is intended to offer general advice and should not be construed as either legal advice, medical advice or state or federal policy. For your family's needs, you may need more specific help from a local professional. A reminder that terminology and procedures may vary from state to state.


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