Category - Free

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Twin Cities Independence Day Events and Activities
2
10 Twin Cities Beaches & Playgrounds to Try This Summer
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Family Fun Idea: Community Entertainment for Kids, Summer 2016
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FFTC’s Guide to FREE Summer Music in the Twin Cities
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FFTC Guide to Free and Cheap Summer Movies
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Take a Kid Fishing Weekend – June 10-12
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Splash Happy: Twin Cities Guide to Beaches, Pools and Water Parks
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Twin Cities Summer Reading Programs
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BookHounds Invites Stephanie Watson
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Twin Cities June Family Festival Calendar

Twin Cities Independence Day Events and Activities

Do you have a Independence Day Go-To Plan? Or do you like to switch things up each year? Since I didn’t grow up here, I like to check out different festivals each year.

Independence Day 2016

We’ve collected several ideas for celebrating Independence Day as a family. If you know of an event — free or paid — that you’d like to see added, please drop us a line via our contact form. Thanks!

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10 Twin Cities Beaches & Playgrounds to Try This Summer

tm big marine beach

Tired of heading out to the same old swimming spot? We’ve combed the Metro in search of new places to try with our own families and came up with ten we think are worth checking out for their beaches, playground, and other recreational opps nearby:

Lake Johanna Beach in Tony Schmidt Regional Park
3500 Lake Johanna Blvd, Arden Hills, 55112

Open: Daily during regular park hours – half-hour before sunrise to half-hour before sunset
Cost: Free
Highlights: We love this beach for its clean, soft sand and playground so close to the shoreline that I have no problem letting my older children play while I keep an eye on the younger ones in the water. That is, if you can grab a spot of sand near the equipment; this is a pretty popular beach with families. There is space to picnic nearby in the large pavilion. Read More

Family Fun Idea: Community Entertainment for Kids, Summer 2016

summer

There is so much fun to be had out in our local communities. There is something to do every day of the week during the summer. The libraries have programming all summer for Bockawocky.  You can find out more information about all the different summer reading programs we found for Twin Cities families. Don’t forget to explore your own community for fun in your local parks where you can find music or maybe even the puppet wagon.

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FFTC’s Guide to FREE Summer Music in the Twin Cities

Find parks at Family Fun Twin Cities

Summer Music at Normandale Lake Bandshell courtesy City of Bloomington


This summer music post is sponsored by Open Window Theatre. Enjoy two one-act plays together as a family.
Wizard-of-Oz_email-banner

Open Window Youth Theatre
Open Window Theatre
(Metropolis Minneapolis Building)
1313 Chestnut Ave., Ste.#102
Minneapolis, MN 55403


The Twin Cities practically sings in the summer.  Every corner of the metro is full of music and a lot of it is FREE! What could be better?  Not much! Enjoy strains of strings, rhythms of rockers and energy of ethnic music.  Read More

FFTC Guide to Free and Cheap Summer Movies

Minneapolis Music & Movies in the Parks


This post is sponsored by Open Window Theatre. Enjoy a fun theatre experience with your family on June 24-26.
Wizard-of-Oz_email-bannerOpen Window Youth Theatre
Open Window Theatre
(Metropolis Minneapolis Building)
1313 Chestnut Ave., Ste.#102
Minneapolis, MN 55403


Summer movies are a classic choice to enjoy together.  Especially in the parks where they are free. Did you also know that there are movie theaters with free or bargained price summer programs? Read More

Take a Kid Fishing Weekend – June 10-12


Enjoy two one-act plays together as a family.
Wizard-of-Oz_email-banner

Open Window Youth Theatre
Open Window Theatre
(Metropolis Minneapolis Building)
1313 Chestnut Ave., Ste.#102
Minneapolis, MN 55403


Minnesotans 15-years-old or younger and their grown up companion can fish without licenses on Friday, June 10, through Sunday, June 12, during Take a Kid Fishing Weekend. You don’t even need to own fishing gear!, Take a Kid Fishing Weekendbecause it is available for loan from Minnesota State Parks. We borrowed fishing gear last year at William O’Brien State Park. It was very easy to do and a park ranger stopped by to give the girls pointers. If you can’t make it to Take a Kid Fishing Weekend, Minnesota residents generally can fish in state parks without a fishing license, unless the body of water requires a trout stamp.


Take a Kid Fishing? Print a Poster

Get the Full Size Printable version at Explore Minnesota

If you are interested in learning more about the fish that live in Minnesota lakes and rivers, Explore Minnesota has a PDF poster you can print and take with you to compare to any fish you encounter.


Take a Kid Fishing in Minnesota State Parks - I Can Fish Program

Naturalists Kao Thao and Krista Jensen – I Can Fish (Image courtesy Minnesota DNR)

DNR Tips To Take a Kid Fishing and Some Colorful Personal Commentary:

  1. Plan to have fun and remember to bring a camera. This seems like a no-brainer to me, but as a kid, I’ve gone fishing with adults who took it very seriously. This is not your fishing day. This is the day to help you secure fishing buddy when your children are older.
  2. Choose fishing spots with a high likelihood of success. (Learn where, when, and how the fish bite). Several years ago, we had amazingly good luck off the pier at Roseville’s Central Park. Every time my daughter dropped her Pink Princess fishing pole into the water, she brought up a Sunny. I don’t know if that is normal, but that is where I would personally start.
  3. Use live bait to increase the chance of catching a fish. (Live bait is more interesting to kids, too.) I’m not sure if I agree with the part in parenthesis. My kids don’t particularly like handling worms and neither do I. If you are going to deal with live bait (and plan to keep your fish for that matter), bring someone who is not squeamish.
  4. Pick a place that is comfortable, safe, and easy to get to—public fishing piers are a great place to start. (Find a fishing pier This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.).  If its windy, public fishing piers can be a little nerve wracking with preschoolers and toddlers.  You may want to put them in life-jackets.
  5. Bring snacks! That’s just good advice for parenting. Always bring snacks.
  6. Remember the basics: sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first aid kit. Again, I’d add life-jackets, diapers & wipes, a change of clothes and towels.
  7. Provide kids with simple tackle in working order. If you already enjoy fishing, you can probably dig through your own stash.  Otherwise, see the part about State Parks offering this stuff for free.
  8. Start with realistic expectations. With short attention spans, kids may want to move onto something else after a very short time. Choose a park with a playground or a beach. Bring a non-fishing adult who doesn’t mind taking them if you want to continue fishing for a bit.
  9. Have patience! I think they are talking about fishing, but this is also just good advice for parenting.


Giliane E. Mansfeldt Photo FAM 0615 2cx2 - resized


 

Splash Happy: Twin Cities Guide to Beaches, Pools and Water Parks

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As the line between late spring and early summer starts to melt away in the rising temps, it’s time to update our master list of Twin Cities beaches, outdoor swimming pools, water parks and splash pads. Several are anticipating an opening Memorial Day Weekend with dozens more following suit in early June. Find your new splash happy spot from our following suggestions:

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Twin Cities Summer Reading Programs

I don’t recall summer reading programs when I was a kid. One year, my mom challenged me to start tackling the “college reading list”. 2016 Summer Reading ProgramsThis list doesn’t actually exist, but I was able to find a book at the library that had an extensive list of books that every college student should read. Knowing my childhood library, the book was probably written in 1942 and the first book on the list was a college level psychology book. I didn’t get past that first one. Luckily, that was the year I discovered a love for science fiction and fantasy novels, so I read all summer — just not the books my mom thought I should be reading.

Where do your kids fall in the summer reading spectrum? Whether they love to read or hate it or are somewhere in between, there is probably a program out there for them. If they are ambitious, they can participate in several.  There is no rule that can’t use the same books for several programs. Here’s a few programs we found.

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BookHounds Invites Stephanie Watson

Stephanie Watson is a native Minnesotan who grew up immersing herself in stories:  reading, watching TV, acting in Children’s Theatre Company shows and spending lots of time at the library.  She is a local author who teaches writing classes and does picture book critique work as well.

Most importantly, she is happy to be a soul parent.  (Trust me, it’s most definitely soul and not sole–her heart and humor is two sizes too big)

She and her 5 year old daughter (who shares my birthday!) live in Minneapolis.

We are pumped to have Stephanie on BookHounds this month as she is a dynamic mama with a really cool job.  She talks about what it’s like to be an author and how they foster reading in their home.

For more information, see the Show Notes below.

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Twin Cities June Family Festival Calendar

Family Festival Calendar - Get Your Fill of Twin Cities Festivals in June

TWIN CITIES JUNE FAMILY FESTIVALS – FREE ADMISSION

Get your fill of festivals throughout the month of June with this handy list of local celebrations around the Twin Cites. Family-friendly highlights are listed for each:

6/2-10: I Love Burnsville WeekFamily highlights: New sculpture/water feature unveiling in Nicollet Commons Park (6/2, 5:30-9pm) with live music & free apps, Thursday Rockin’ Lunch Hour & Rockin’ Readers for kids kicks off 6/9, and Friday Fest is held 6/10, 6:30-10pm, a free movie at dusk.

6/3-5: Edina Art Fair @ 50th & France • Family highlights: Live music and a Kids Zone filled with art activities, inflatables and a shady place to rest.

6/4: Waterfest @ Phalen Regional Park, St. Paul • 11am-4pm • Family highlights: Celebrate clean lakes and outdoor rec with family canoeing, fishing lessons, crafts, games, interactive exhibits and more.

6/4: Springtime & Rhubarb Festival @ Le Duc Historic Estate, 1629 Vermillion St, Hastings • Family highlights: Tour the historic house, grub on some rhubarb, visit the chicken coop and more.

6/4-5: Flint Hills International Children’s Festival, Downtown St. Paul • Family highlights: The whole shebang, from outdoor artist performances to the exhibit and activities tent, is great for kids. Get tips for bringing the whole family at the link.

6/4-5: Grand Old Days, Grand Ave, St. Paul • Family highlights: Plenty of kids activities in the Family Fun District (for a fee), but no charge to enjoy the live music and parade.

6/5: Rhubarb Fest @ New Brighton History Center Museum, 700 Park Dr, New Brighton • 1-4pm

6/9-12: Spring Lake Park Tower Days, Spring Lake Park • Family highlights: Festival at Lakeside Lions Park (6/12, 10am-dusk) features interactive lumberjack shows, a visit from the Ghostbusters of MN, and other kids activities.

6/9-12: Hugo Good Neighbor Days, Hugo • Family highlights: Parade and fireworks (6/11).

6/10-12: Wannigan Days, Taylors Falls/St. Croix Falls • Family highlights: Kids parade through Taylors Falls (6/10, 6pm)

6/11: Lakefest 2016 @ Trapp Farm Park, 841 Wilderness Run Rd, Eagan • 10am-2pm • Family highlights: nature art projects, kids science experiments, no fishing license required to fish; equipment provided.


Twin Cities Summer Festivals, 2016


6/11-12: Art on the Lake, Excelsior • Family highlights: Get creative in the Kids Art Tent and treat the whole family to a discounted cruise on the Steamboat Minnehaha ($5/pp).

6/11-12: Chalkfest at Arbor Lakes, Maple Grove • Family highlights: A Chalkfest Family Zone is set aside for families to create together, plus games, music and food.

6/14-18: Farmington Dew Days, Farmington • Family highlights: Tour the Dakota City Heritage Village on Friends & Family Fun Day (6/17, 10am-noon, $5/pp).

6/16-18: Fridley ’49er Days @ Commons Park • Family highlights: Parade (6/16, 6:30pm), Kids Day with watermelon-eating contest, Kids DJ and inflatables, and fireworks at 10pm.

6/16-18: Tater Daze Festival, Brooklyn Park • Family highlights: Parade (6/16), free root beer float social, live music and a movie in the park (6/17).

6/16-19: St. Louis Park Parktacular, St. Louis Park • Family highlights: Both the Grand Day Parade (noon-2pm)  and Kidtacular Family & Kids Activities (2-6pm) are 6/18. Activities are free or low cost.

6/16-21: Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest, @ Kingston Park, 9195 75th Street S • Family highlights: Free kids tractor pedal pull (6/16), free petting farm (6/18, 1-5pm), self-guided StoryWalk through the festival, and $3 tethered hot air balloon rides.

6/16-7/4: Manitou Days, White Bear Lake • Family highlights: Movie on the beach (6/18), sandcastle contest (6/20), Family fun night (6/24), free pontoon rides (6/27).

6/17-19: GermanFest Minnesota, @ Historic Schmidt Brewery, 900 7th St W, St. Paul • Family highlights: Kids can make FREE Father’s Day cards in the Art Tent on Fri (4-7pm) & Sat (10am-6pm) plus daily music and maypole dances.

6/17-19: Stone Arch Bridge Festival, Minneapolis • Family highlights: Take a stroll across the bridge to seek out the Family Activities Area with birdhouse-building, games, and a family photo opp.

6/22-26: Columbia Heights Lions Jamboree, @ Huset Park, 3965 Jefferson St NE, Columbia HeightsFamily highlights: Jamboree Parade (6/24) and FREE activities in the park including rock climbing, an obstacle course, and an art class (6/25).

6/23-25: Earle Brown Days Festival, Brooklyn Center • Family highlights: A full Saturday (6/25) of fun in Centennial Park with a petting zoo, crafts, family games, horse-drawn wagon rides, ice cream and more.

6/23-25: Oakdale Summerfest, @ Walton Park, 15th St & Hadley Ave, Oakdale

6/23-27: Rosefest, Roseville • Family highlights: Skate for FREE at the Roseville Skating Center or hit up Family Fest at Central Park (6/24), roast smores around the campfire at Harriet Alexander Nature Center (6/25) and get up in some big rigs on 6/26. Annual Rose Parade is held 6/27.

6/24-26: Kaposia Days, South St. Paul • Family highlights: Try your hand at kids carnival games at Central Square (6/25, 10:30am-2:30pm), FREE kites to fly 6/26.

6/24-25: Blaine Festival @ Aquatore Park • Family highlights: Family beach party (6/24), kids magic shows and dance parties both 6/25-26, parade (12-2pm, Sat), safety displays and exhibits.

6/25: Summer Fest 2016 @ Minnetonka Civic Center, 14600 Minnetonka Blvd • 4-10:30pm • Family highlights: All activities are FREE (excluding food): pony rides, petting zoo, kids races, games, fire department open house, music, fireworks and more.

6/25: Burnsville Fairy Festival, Burnsville • 11am-8pm • Family highlights: Celebrate summer solstice with fairy walks, storytime, music and workshops.

6/25: Midsommar Dag @ Gammelgarden Museum, Scandia • Family highlights: Tour the historic buildings FREE, complemented by kids “Immigrant for a Day” activities plus Swedish music and dance.

6/25-26: Eagan Art Festival, Eagan Festival Grounds, 1501 Central Pkwy, Eagan • Family highlights: Art activity tents sponsored by the Eagan Art House.

6/26: Scandinavian Summer Fest @ Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis • Family highlights: Potluck lunch, children’s parade at 11:45am, music and maypole dancing.

6/27-7/4: Apple Valley Freedom Days, Apple Valley


Twin Cities Summer Festivals, 2016

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