Over the years, I’ve been surprised and impressed by some of the budget-friendly fun we’ve been able to find here at Out and About Mom. So today I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite thrifty activities.
Need to give your budget a break? Here are 10 FREE outings to try! And they are all Out and About Mom tested and kid approved 🙂
- The Home Depot offers FREE kids workshops every first Saturday of the month at stores nationwide where your budding carpenter can complete a real woodworking project like a birdhouse or piggy bank.
- Every Saturday morning the New Britain Museum of American Art offers FREE admission when you enter before noon. Tour their family-friendly galleries, then make a stop in the drop-in Art Lab where kids can read, play, and express their creativity in multiple ways. Got a few bucks to spare? Let your little one enjoy a Saturday morning drop-in art class for just $7.
- Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam is a non-profit dedicated to the rehabilitation and care of dozens of animals–from goats to horses to chickens to zedonks (that would be a zebra/donkey mix)–and you can visit with them almost daily for FREE (although donations are always greatly appreciated). Feeling the urge to splurge? A $10 donation will get your little equestrian a pony ride Thursdays through Saturdays from 11:00am-2:00pm.
- Russell Library in Middletown has a wonderful FREE Favorite Stories program every first Saturday of the month with storytime, a craft project and lots of playtime in a fully enclosed, separate kids’ space. Double your fun by checking out their Kidcity museum pass and visiting that nearby location for FREE as well.
- The Shoppes at Buckland Hills in Manchester has an adorable preschooler play area that’s totally FREE. If you’ve got some spare change, you can also head over to the food court where you’ll find a carousel and several other kiddie rides.
- There’s no entrance or parking fee to access the Dinosaur State Park nature trails in Rocky Hill. You can also pick up a nature-inspired bingo card in the Exhibit Center to add to your outdoor entertainment, and even get a prize for completing the card–all for FREE. Want to upgrade your outing? Pick up a state park pass available at many local libraries that will allow you access to the Exhibit Center for FREE as well.
- On the first and third Sundays of every month from 1:00pm-4:00pm, Time Machine Hobby in Manchester opens their massive train layout for a FREE public viewing. Model railroad enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy watching the trains zip around dozens of yards of track and inspecting the true-to-life miniatures alongside.
- Bodie’s Place Playground in Milford is a unique place for kids to play and explore. Its treehouse-inspired playscapes are fully fenced-in and there’s a large, convenient covered picnic area. And of course, it’s all FREE.
- Barnes & Noble stores nationwide offer FREE weekly storytimes that often include cute craft projects as well. Not to mention that most stores also have train tables, LEGO tables, and other fun activities to amuse the kiddos any day of the week. Check your local store for storytime dates and times.
- It may cost you a cup of coffee, but many McDonald’s locations (like Glastonbury & West Hartford) have FREE indoor playscapes that are great for small kids. With winding tubes and tunnels that are completely enclosed, these structures offer worry-free playtime (so you can enjoy some downtime).
Wow. Now that’s a lot of fun without a lot of funding! 🙂
What’s your favorite FREE outing?
- Bounce Town – This popular indoor play destination now has two ultimate bounce centers to choose from with awesome giant inflatables that will have your kids jumping, bouncing, running and laughing the whole time: Bounce Town in South Windsor, CT and Bounce Town in Canton, CT (opening March 1st).
- Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – The state’s only free-standing hospital that offers comprehensive, world-class health care to children. Based in Hartford, Connecticut Children’s also provides services at several locations throughout the state.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
- Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT, welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
- Sleep, Baby, Sleep – Based out of Farmington, CT, this website is dedicated to helping babies and toddlers sleep through the night. It provides tons of great articles and information addressing the most common baby sleep troubles, customized baby sleep plans, and one on one support to help parents and babies get more Zzz’s.
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