Summer camp, kids activities, swim lessons – all of that stuff is really one of the most expensive parts of having children and so we’re always looking for ways to cut the costs, take advantage of free activities and still get those fun experiences.
1. Free Dance Classes
Every Sunday at Ivivva stores, there are free dance and yoga classes that you can take advantage of. We usually take Olivia to a couple of these classes a month, reducing the cost of putting her in a formal dance class and getting her out there interacting with a teacher in unparented classes, while giving her the chance to interact with some other kids.
2. Parent Soccer League
Once a week, get together with some parents with kids around the same age, divide the kids into teams and play at a local field or park with some green space. It’s a great time for parents to get together and comes without the formal fees that come with soccer. Finding parent volunteers can be simple, but it’s important that the parents know the rules of the game. Whistles optional. I recently saw someone trying to start a group like this in a Moms page we’re in and thought it was genius. You can find other parents to swap coaching duties with from night to night in Moms groups, the community, posters and even through online groups or preschool parents and it’s a perfect introduction for younger children that are going to learn the basics of team play.
3. Library Programs
If you sign up for them early enough, there are many free library programs available. This includes parented programs for younger children, like sing and sign (programs that are upwards of $100 through other organizations) and unparented reading time and classes for older preschoolers, even activities for older children, like Lego building clubs. Check your local library for free programming.
4. Happy Hour Admissions
Heading out to places like Cafe O Play isn’t on our list of things that we regularly do with the kids. The $6 admission for the handful of climbing structures can get expensive. When we do go, it’s during happy hour when it’s half off. Somewhere between the last couple of hours of the day that it’s open, you can get in for half off, reducing the price. Look for deals like this if you’re going to use indoor playgrounds. Feed the kids before you go.
5. Choose Facilities with a Monthly Membership Fee
Take advantage of admission based playgrounds. During the winter, we pay $20/month or so for Olivia and we can head to Millennium Place to play anytime that we want (Parents don’t pay for admission to the indoor playground) making it the best deal for indoor play. Finding a facility with similar monthly structures like Servus or Terwillegar and paying for the kids to get into the playground is going to provide you with the best bang for your buck when it comes to indoor playground.
6. Free Art Instruction
A few times a month on Saturday mornings there are free programs at Michaels. Usually simple crafts, you can leave older pre schoolers in the classroom to finish their art projects while you spend the time browsing around the store. As a bonus, you can also bring younger children and help them with their project. For simple arts and crafts instruction and help from the on site guide, it’s simple free art projects.
7. Home Depot + Lowe’s Building Projects
Once a month at both stores, you will find free building projects for children. You have to sign up before the actual event (Home Depot is always the second Saturday of the month) but you can do this online, or in your local store. Kids can attend the event, get a free apron and build that week’s kit. The kits are fun and they kids are usually able to complete it themselves (5+) so it’s a nice change and a free activity available to parents and children through the Home Depot Kids Club.
8. Get in the Know
From free concerts that happen all around the city, to free festivals and events every single month, there are hundreds of things every single year that you can do for free, in Edmonton. Free activities and being the first to know about concerts through the TD Music Access makes it simple to get entertained for less, and take advantage of kids activities.
9. Themed Preschool Parent Hosted Play Days
Getting a group of friends together, or five people with the same age and working out a themed program is simple when you each take a turn hosting throughout the sessions you’ve created. It’s easy to find ideas that are going to teach the children, whether you’re focusing on sensory activities or outdoor fun, literacy and numbers and you can avoid the costs of preschool while still allowing the kids to get some fun social interaction and hands on experience. When Violet’s a little older, this is something that I am definitely going to coordinate.
10. Groupon and other Group Buy Sites
From time to time, you’ll find some great deals on kids activities from karate to music lessons through Groupon and other similar sites. It’s a great time to buy and try something new, but make sure that you read the fine print for any restrictions before you buy the deal.
What are some of the ways that you cut the costs of kids activities?