Free and Inexpensive Things To Do With Kids Around Mid-Michigan

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Are we the only ones that struggle to find inexpensive {or bonus, FREE} things to do with our kids??
If so, we’ve compiled a list of over 100 free and inexpensive things to do with your kids throughout the year.

Keep this list handy for summer break, rainy days, or those days when everyone in the house is SO bored.

free things to do with kids
  1. See a Cheap (and Kid-Friendly) Movie – Throughout the year, popular movie theater chains Regal Cinema and AMC Theaters host reduced price kid-friendly flicks.
  2. Go to a Building Workshop at Home Depot – On the first Sunday of each month, Home Depot hosts an on-site Kid’s Workshop for kids 2 and up. They’re free and open to the public. Registration is available, but not required.
  3. Take a STEM Workshop at a Microsoft Store – Microsoft stores host a series of coding- and gaming-related workshops. Session themes include Harry Potter Creative Coding. Minecraft, and Make Your Own 3D Movie.
  4. Go Roller Skating – Visit KidsSkateFree.com to find a location near you.
  5. Go to a Museum – Many museums have reduced entry and free events.
  6. Enroll in a Summer Apple Camp – Apple offers free three-day-long sessions (90 minutes per day) at its retail locations. Kids can choose to explore music, coding, moviemaking, or art & design.
  7. Exchange a book at a Free Little Library
  8. Eat at a Kid-Friendly Restaurant
  9. Go for a Hike – Find one near you here
  10. Visit a Farmer’s Market
  11. Go for a Bike Ride
  12. Plant a Vegetable Garden in Your Backyard 
  13. Tour Your Local Fire or Police Station
  14. Visit a National Park – Several days a year, the National Park Service waives the entrance fee at all national parks. This includes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (in January), the First Day of National Park Week/National Junior Ranger Day (in April), National Park Service Anniversary (in August), National Public Lands Day (in September), and Veteran’s Day (in November). Find a national park near you by using their Find a Park search tool.
  15. Check Out a Local Library Story Time or One at Barnes & Noble or Pottery Barn Kids 
  16. Go to the Zoo
  17. Be a Trouist in Your Own City – try a new restaurant, new route home, or explore a new place
  18. Go to a Concert in the Park 
  19. Have a Movie Marathon Night at Home 
  20. Have a Backyard Scavenger Hunt
  21. Start a Book Club 
  22. Take Your Kids Bowling – Go to KidsBowlFree.com and register your kids so they can score free games
  23. Take an Arts and Craft Class at Michaels – Michaels craft stores offer a variety of kid-friendly classes (for ages three and up). Find a class near you here.
  24. Go to the Playground
  25. Have a LEGO building contest – strongest, tallest, longest, etc.
  26. Visit a Botanical Garden
  27. Step Inside a Factory – Did you know there are 12 factory tours in Michigan?! To find a fun and free factory tour near you, check out this website.
  28. Take in a Beach Day
  29. Color Inside a Cardboard Box
  30. Absorb History at Monuments and Historical Sites – Most are free to see. Since the National Park Service celebrated a 100-year milestone in 2016, they offer free entrance days every year to several national parks, monuments and historic sites.
  31. Head to the Fishing Hole – Twice a Year Michigan offers Free Fishing Weekends. Find One Here.
  32. Start (or expand) a Rock Collection
  33. Have a Chalk Drawing Contest
  34. Play a Board Game
  35. Play Hide-and-Seek
  36. Register for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – Recieve a free book monthly for children ages 0-5 years old.
  37. Make Mazes (or other puzzles) for other family members to solve
  38. Go on a “Litter Clean-Up” Walk
  39. Build Musical Instruments
  40. Write Letters to Family and Friends
  41. Learn a Magic Trick
  42. Do Some Volunteer Work
  43. Donate Unwanted Items to a Local Charity or Center
  44. Perform a Play
  45. Make Popsicles
  46. Make Shadow Puppets
  47. Make Origami Creations
  48. Have a bubble blowing contest
  49. Read Aloud as a Family
  50. Create a Comic Book
  51. Make Snow Ice Cream
  52. Have a Paper Airplane Contest
  53. Visit Historical Sites in Your Area – Find a location near you here.
  54. Do a Science Experiment
  55. Create a Bug Box and Go on a Bug Hunt
  56. Design Your Dreamhouse Blueprints
  57. Create a Journal or Scrapbook About Your Life
  58. Have a Water Balloon Fight
  59. Camp in the Backyard
  60. Build a Blanket Fort
  61. Check Out Your Community Calendar or Facebook Page for a Local Festival, Fair, Parade, or Event
  62. Bake Cookies
  63. Build a Backyard Obstacle Course
  64. Plan a Family Picnic
  65. Build an Ice Castle
  66. Teach Your Kids About Money
  67. Try Star Gazing
  68. Take a Road Trip and Visit Eastern Market – The largest outdoor farmer’s market in the nation
  69. Watch Clouds
  70. Wash the Car
  71. Visit Your Neighborhood Splash Park
  72. Make Bird Feeders
  73. Make Your Own Mini-Golf Course
  74. Make a Scarecrow
  75. Make a Slip ‘n’ Slide
  76. Go Geocatching – Use a GPS or mobile device to locate hide and seek containers. Find other’s items and follow your item as it travels across the world.
  77. Hunt and Identify Animal Tracks
  78. Car Racing
  79. Play Tag in the Dark
  80. Make Sun Shadows
  81. Create Pretty Vases
  82. Make Pizzas
  83. Research and Learn a New Hobby – Drawing, Painting, Sewing, Bird Watching
  84. Pasta Bead Jewelery
  85. Make Daisy Chains
  86. Fly a Kite
  87. Write a Story or a Play
  88. Create a Handprint Family Tree
  89. Play Grocery Store/Bank/Post Office/etc.
  90. Balloon Ping-Pong
  91. Have a Family Coloring Contest
  92. Life Sized Drawings
  93. Visit One of Michigan’s 129 Lighthouses – Viewing and photographing the lighthouses is free, but admission fees may apply to enter.
  94. Make a Cardboard Town
  95. Tell Jokes
  96. Have a Pool Day
  97. Bake Cookies
  98. Learn to Juggle
  99. Explore a College Campus – UofM, MSU, CMU, SVSU, UofM Flint
  100. Have a Hula Hoop Contest
  101. Learn to Whistle
  102. Visit Little Bavaria – Enjoy free samples, cross the covered bridge, explore the Bronner’s, get your Gnome Hunt Sheet and track down 10 gnomes for a prize, or take a free tour of the brewery!
  103. Press Flowers
  104. Build a Card House
  105. Watch the Sun Rise or Set
  106. Tour Public Areas of the State Capitol
  107. Have a DIY Arts and Crafts Session 
  108. Decorate Shoes
  109. Head to Belle Isle – If you have a recreation pass, your admission to the aquarium, nature center, and conversatory free.
  110. Paint Your Faces
  111. Play Question Games – 20 questions and ‘I’m thinking of an animal/place’ where one person gives clues and the others guess are favorites in our family.
  112. Cooking/Baking Competition – Pick a recipe as a family, divide into teams, and let the fun begin!
  113. Make Snow Angels

Check out all of our guides and resources to the Mid-Michigan area here!
From the best pizza to play groups and where kids eat free – We’ve got you covered.

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