Like most moms, I am dreading those long Midwest winters. Long days stuck inside, trying to entertain crazy toddlers with cabin fever. Battling it out day after day over toys, Paw Patrol vs Daniel Tiger episodes, and countless requests for fruit snacks. I am always in search of fun, free activities that get us out of the house!
Here are just a few activities I always make sure that are on our calendar! They are great ways to get the kids out of the house and share a special experience with them!
Lakeshore Education Store
Many of the Lakeshore Education store locations offer free crafts a few times a week. They are free of charge and they are for kids three and up. They supply all of the supplies at no cost. There are super cute craft projects ranging from chore charts, snowman hat, wild turkey plates, beach ball wreathes. Check out the upcoming activities here!
This is one of my favorite and least favorite ideas. We do this EVERY month! Once a month they offer a free kid building workshop on a Saturday morning from 9am-noon. They provide the project and all the supplies. They also provide a home depot apron for the kids to wear and every time you do an activity you get a pin. Kind of like earning patches.
The projects range from bird houses, toy air planes, and picture frames. These do require an adult to help the kids. I love to send dad with them or grandpa. It’s my worst nightmare to sit on home depot buckets and watch half a dozen toddlers with hammers and paint. However, it’s so worth it and they kids just love it. It’s a great memory they make with daddy and they love to give the projects as gifts.
Michaels Craft Store Classes
Michaels offer a free kids class once a week at their local stores. They provide a class room and most of the supplies. However, they do require you to buy a small portion of the craft beforehand at the store. Ranging from $2-10 depending on the craft. For example, tie-dye day you have to provide the shirt but they provide the dye.
This is a great way to do craft projects without having to deal with the mess or clean up.
They also offer a few classes during the week for school age kids also. These classes do come with a cost however, its minimal charge of a few dollars. They make things like slime and jewelry.
Check out the classes they offer here!
Toddler Tuesday Mall of America
Toddler Tuesday at Mall of America is completely free. They host music time, crafts, and special charter appearances starting at 10:00am on Tuesday mornings. This event is completely free! They also have special Tuesdays that are themed. For example, there is a Paw Patrol one where the charters will be there for pictures, and they will screen a special episode that morning.
They also have many, many restaurants that feature ‘kids eat free’ on toddler Tuesday! Including the café in the American Girls store!
Check out a complete list of special events and restaurants here.
Barns and Noble
They offer a free story time a few times a week! Check out your local store for times and dates. This is a great way to get your kids interested in reading. Most of the time we buy a $3 kids book and grab a hot coco at Starbucks as a fun “date day” activity with my kids. It’s something special that only cost a few bucks and it means a lot to the kids. Plus, they have so much fun playing with the train set in the kids area, and looking at all the books.
I hope these ideas help break up the long winter days with your kids. Make sure you check out your local community education and library for other great activities!