As I dropped my daughter off at an all day open swim & gym at an area community center during the holiday break, I was thinking about how I am often asked “How do you find all these things?” or “How do you remember all this stuff?”
I often respond that “My brain just works that way and files things away and I remember to look them up”, which is true but I do have a few tricks. There are many events, activities, and resources in our community that are free or at at affordable price in our community. This article will be two parts: Where to find kids activities and how to remember them.
Where to Find Kids Activities
- Libraries have wonderful kids activities that include summer reading programs, special events, storytimes, movie screenings, and more.
- Call around to churches or look on their websites, many will offer programs like Vacation Bible School that are available to any child in the community and you do not need to be a member.
- Read booklets, brochures, and websites of your area Parks and Recreation departments, Community Education departments, ECFE (if you live in MN) and Community Centers. Many places you do not need to live in that community or be members to attend some of the events.
- Check out items on bulletin boards or posted in windows of local establishments, churches, libraries (I can’t walk by a bulletin board without checking out if there is anything new going on)
- Check out the Chamber of Commerce or City websites for your community or those surrounding you, many list community events.
- Check the website of historical societies, art centers, state parks and area nature centers in your area to see if they have any classes or events on their calendar.
- Check out ads or the calendar in local newspapers (which you can read at the library for free if you don’t have a subscription).
- Subscribe to Northern Cheapskate to be reminded of Kids Building Clinics at Lowe’s and Home Depot.
- Call area hotels with pools to see if they offer an open swim time for non-guests for a small charge.
- Ask area family restaurants if they have a a Kids’ Night, where kids eat free (or at a discount) with an adult entree purchase.
- Look back at your online calendar or lists (see below) from the year before and see what events were going on – many events are annual events.
- Make friends with someone who is active the community; they may let you know about events you didn’t know about and share events with them. Become a resource to one another.
- Pick up a brochure about your community or surrounding cities and see what other business and resources are in your community and look up ones you find interesting online.
How to Remember Kids Activities
- Utilize an online calendar — I use Google Calendar and make an event entry (with no time, events with times are things we are for sure going to do).
- Take a picture with your phone — then I can enter it on my online calendar when I get home or I can share it on Facebook with friends
- Make a list — I have lists for community events that happen during Halloween, Christmas, Summer, and Summer Vacation Bible Schools which I share with our playgroup and also reference a year later, just because you don’t do an activity that year doesn’t mean you won’t want to do it the next year if it’s offered.
- Periodically go back and check websites of some of your favorite places to see if they added an event.
- Make a binder filled with sheet protectors — You can also store your lists in here or any brochures or clippings you might make and it is easy to flip through and remind yourself of places you want to visit or events to attend.
- Save brochures & booklets from the previous year to go back and reference if you are trying to explore options before a new brochure is available. (I often do this when I am making our summer travel plans.)
- Sign up for email lists for places you are interested in knowing more about their events, so they are reminding you.
Of course there are also a variety of private clubs, lessons, classes that can be accessed but those may not always be within someone’s budget. You can also check for events at museums and entertainment facilities, but they may require a membership or an admission cost (sometimes in addition to a event/class cost.)
How do you find kids activities in your community?