Monday, April 22, 2013

Free Activities (Yes, really FREE!) Around Boston

Written by Sara Nechasek

Does it feel like every time you bring your family out for fun activities you spend a ton of money?  Here are some budget-friendly ideas including museums, crafts and play groups.  I’ve included a few of my family’s favorites along with a few that are on my “to do” list. 

·       Building Workshops at Home Depot and Lowes:  Both Home Depot and Lowes offer free monthly project workshops for kids at all the locations.  These are great opportunities for kids to learn how to pound a nail or glue some wood.  A few weekends ago we made a bird feeder at Home Depot with my son.  He’s had a blast watching the bird visit the feeder since we hung it in the yard.  Both stores provide a full kit with instructions, the necessary tools, and an apron and safety glasses for your child to complete the project.   Check out the store websites for the schedule and a list of what kit will be offered.  It’s best to register ahead of time: Lowes and Home Depot


·       DeCordovaMuseum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln MA:   A short drive from Needham, the DeCordova museum has a large outdoor sculpture park in addition to inside museum space.  On a nice day, you can pack a picnic and have the kids run around the sculptures or hit the exhibits inside on a rainy day.  There are tips for parents bringing kids on the website.    Admission is free for everyone the first Wednesday of the month.  

·       HarvardMuseum of Natural History, Cambridge MA:  This museum is free to Massachusetts residents (bring your ID) on Sunday mornings from 9:00-12:00. The permanent exhibits include dinosaur bones, mammal fossils, and mounted specimens of African wildlife. 

·       Instituteof Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston: The ICA is free for families (up to 2 adults accompanied by children 12 + under) on the last Saturday of each month (except December).   They offer kid-friendly activities on these Saturdays in addition to the regular exhibits.  The museum is located on the waterfront in Boston with a great deck for kids to hang out and watch the harbor activity.  

·       LakeshoreLearning Crafts, Needham Street in Newton:  Lakeshore Learning store offers free crafts each Saturday from 11:00-3:00 pm.    Check out the store website for a list of what craft they plan to offer.  No registration is necessary. 

·     Freedman Center for Children and Families, Newton, MA: The Playtime groups feature weekly themes, related parent tips, and fun for children up to age 4 and their caregivers.  The format is drop in and first come first serve until capacity is reached. The Freedman Center for Children and Families is located within the Massachusetts School for Professional Psychology on Wells Avenue in Newton and offers other free parenting and child offerings such as new mom support groups (similar to what Isis offers but free).  The spring 2013 playtime groups schedule is Thursdays 3:00-4:30PM and Fridays 3:00-4:30PM but check their website to verify the schedule.  More information and directions can be found on the Freedman Center website.

I’d love to hear what interesting free activities you’ve found to do with your family.  Please share them in the comments section.

About the Author
Sara Nechasek lives in Needham with her husband and four year old son.  She works at a non-profit health care company.

Image credit photo credit: Ruslіk via photopin cc

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