Couldn’t we all use a little help getting through the long Minnesota winter? Family Fun Twin Cities Winter Break Survival Guide has something for everyone.
It doesn’t have to break the bank to entertain the family away from home in the Twin Cities! You’ll find seasonal and ongoing events and activities listed here that all cost $5 or less per person to attend.
5/4: Schubert Club KidsJam: Lau Hawaiian Collective @ Schubert Club Museum, St. Paul • 10:30-11:45am • $5/child advanced registration, $7/door • Details: During this hands-on workshop kids will listen to Hawaiian music, explore instruments, and craft a lei.
5/14: Brickmania Toyworks Open House, Brickmania Toyworks, Minneapolis • 10am-4pm • $5/pp or $10/group of 4, under age 4 FREE • Details: Intricate LEGO train layouts, hands-on LEGO activities and displays. This popular event is held the 2nd Saturday of each month. Read about a trip to the open house here.
How will you be celebrating Mom this Mother’s Day? If your plans include time spent together, here are some ideas around town to make her day extra special:
MOTHER’S DAY EVENTS – FREE FOR THE FAMILY
5/7: Mother’s and Father’s Day Cardmaking @ Articulture, 2613 E Franklin Ave, Mpls • 1-3pm
5/7: Mother’s Day Cookie Decorating Event @ Jerry’s Foods, Woodbury, Edina and Eden Prairie locations • 11am-1pm • Details: Decorate a treat for mom and, if you’re one of the first 150 kids to show, snag her a free carnation as well.
5/7: Mother’s Day Storytime @ Barnes & Noble MOA • 11am • Details: Plus, make a card for Mom.
5/7: All About Family – Mother’s Day Card/Gift Making @ Community Covenant Church, 901 Humboldt Avenue N., Minneapolis, MN 55411 • 3pm – 6pm • Details: Mothers Day Gift and Card Making.
MOTHER’S DAY EVENTS – FREE FOR MOM
5/8: American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis • noon-5pm • Moms and grandmas admitted FREE!
5/8: Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, Minneapolis • 12:30-8:30pm • Moms ride FREE!
MOTHER’S DAY EVENTS – PAID
5/7: Mother’s Day Tea @ Scott County Historical Society, Shakopee • 1-3pm • $5/kids, $10/adults • Details: Kids ages 5 & up and their families can enjoy tea and treats, make a Victorian trinket box and snap a picture in the photo booth.
5/8: Mother’s Day Flower Walk & Tea Party @ Lowry Nature Center, Victoria • 1-2:30pm • $5/pp • Details: Take a spring hike, craft a scented firestarter and enjoy tea or juice with Mom.
5/8: Mother’s Day Open House @ Westwood Nature Center, St. Louis Park • 1-4pm • $7-$9/pp
MOM EATS FREE
She hasn’t posted it yet, but Carrie Rocha of Pocket Your Dollars typically has got the best roundup of Moms-Eat-Free deals offered in the Twin Cities for Mother’s Day. When the post goes up, we’ll link to it here.
Want more great ideas? Check out Family Planning, FFTC’s Monthly Newsletter.
My preschooler’s request for a simple picnic in April turned into a full afternoon of nature play, wildlife spotting and cargo-net clambering. And, thanks to the 80-degree temps, we were able to be outdoors for hours. Bonus: if you can make it out this month, you’ll beat both the crowds and the mosquitoes! Here are 10 things we’re confident kids of all ages can enjoy at the Richardson Nature Center and Hyland Lake Park Reserve: Read More
Earth Day is almost here. April 22 for those of us who need a reminder. We’ve combed through the internet to find 22 of the easiest but meaningful activities to do with your kids.
I solemnly swear: None of them include milk cartons.
Activities include books to read, printables to color, projects that don’t take too much preparation, outdoor activities, and songs to sing.
- REMOVE RE-DIRECT BEFORE REPUBLISHING!
- Events in Red are 2016 dates that have not been updated
- Banner needs to be updated for 2017
Earth Day Network’s first Earth Day was in 1970. It’s continuing mission — “to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle to build a healthy, sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the Earth for future generations.” For us, it’s a chance to teach our children about good stewardship of our planet, while getting out and enjoying the long-awaited spring. I think the spring thing may be why the Twin Cities Metro does not skimp on Earth Day activities and events. We have a sampling of Earth Day family events to get out with your kids and celebrate our environment this month.
Does the spring weather have you itching to explore beyond the backyard? Twin Cities-area nature centers and outdoor education centers are wonderful places to seek out signs of the seasons and play in the natural world. Most of them offer programming specially designed for preschoolers, free family events, and indoor exhibits to stimulate little explorers.
TWIN CITIES NATURE & OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTERS
Carl Kroening Interpretive Center, 4900 N Mississippi Dr, Minneapolis
For kids: Big River, Small Fry: Nature for Curious Kids, 2nd Thurs/month, 9am-noon • ages 0-6 w/ caregiver • $5/pp • Details: Drop in for an hour or stay for all three. Participate together in sensory activities, hikes along the Mississippi and science activities. The interpretive center is full of hands-on exhibits for kids including a farmer’s market, brick factory, a dress-up trunk and lots more.
Dodge Nature Center & Farm, 1701 Charlton St, West St. Paul
For kids: Nature Playdates meets select spring Fridays & Saturdays, 10-11:15am • recommended for ages 3-5 w/ caregiver • $6/child • Details: Through outdoor adventures, stories, artifacts, live animals and creative play, naturalists will provide new experiences each month.
For families: Wander the trails through the working farm and observe the animals. Dodge’s annual family festival, Rock the Barn, takes place 5/21/16, 3-7pm.
Have you heard that the popular open houses at Brickmania Toyworks have re-opened the second Saturday of each month? They are no longer free, but a family of four can attend for $10 and enjoy the LEGO train layouts, play tables and much more. Also this weekend are free tours at the Raptor Center on the U of M St. Paul campus and a host of free family programs hosted by Three Rivers Parks. As always, check our Family Fun Calendar for more inspiration this weekend and beyond!
The novelty of back-to-school has worn off, the excitement of Halloween parties have wrapped up, and it’s still weeks until Thanksgiving break. And so we’re left with…November. But take heart, there’s plenty of free and budget family entertainment going on this month; you just have to dig a little deeper to find it. Here are 12 ideas to get you started:
Wednesday Wiggles @ Straightline Dance Fitness
34 13th Ave NE, Suite 104, Minneapolis
When: Ongoing Wednesdays starting Nov. 4 • 10-11am
Details: Join Straightline Dance Fitness every Wednesday for a playdate in their open studio. Balls, ribbons, mats, scarves, dress up clothes, and music provided.
Get Out For Nature Play!
When: Thursday, Nov. 5 • 10-11:15am
Cost: $3/pp plus tax
Details: Head outside and look for the ways nature is changing and preparing for winter. This program is designed for 2-5 year olds who are accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is required.
When: Wednesday, Nov. 25 • 1-2pm
Details: Explore, discover, and play in your local park. Meet families interested in getting their children outdoors. Wear appropriate clothes and shoes.
ExploraTots @ Phalen Lakeside Activities Center
1530 Phalen Dr, St Paul
When: Wednesday, Nov. 11 • 10-11:30am
Details: Join other families for outdoor adventures with a different theme each month! Search for clues that animals have left behind, enjoy hands-on activities and story times, and get up-close looks at treasures from our naturalist’s backpack. It’s a great way to get outside with your child and learn about the natural world and get inspired with ideas to take home.
Nature Play: Green Time @ Phalen Lakeside Activities Center
1530 Phalen Dr, St Paul
When: Thursday, Nov. 19 • 10-11:30am
Details: Swap screen time for green time! Meet up with other families for unstructured nature play. Drop-ins are welcome.
When: Nov. 5 and ongoing Thursdays through April 28, 2016 • 10am-noon
Details: The hall between the Visitor Center and the Conservatory is filled with hands-on activities, manipulatives, art projects and games perfect for the 4 & under set. Explore a different theme each week through April 2016. Donations appreciated.
When: Sunday, Nov. 8 • 1-3pm
Details: Drop in for art projects, explore the grounds, the sculptures, and the current gallery exhibit.
When: Nov. 10 and every second Tuesday of the month following • Noon-1pm
Details: Bring a lunch to Landmark Center in St. Paul and enjoy a sampling of the Saint Paul City Ballet training and Company repertoire. Excerpts from Clara’s Dream:from the Nutcracker with audience participation will be performed Nov. 10. Great for budding ballerinas!
When: Friday, Nov. 20 • 5-7:30pm
Details: Hosted by Doing Good Together, a variety of family-appropriate service projects will be available to participate in. DTG is a proud participant of Family Fun Twin Cities’ Great Give Back Challenge!
When: Sunday, Nov. 22 • 4pm
Cost: Pay what you can, but note these accessible tickets are only available through the box office by calling 952-979-1111.
Details: Aimed at making theater accessible to all families, take advantage of this special pay-what-you-can offer and enjoy this classic Christmas tale presented by the young actors of Stages Theatre Co.
Volunteer with FFTC @ Feed My Starving Children
401 93rd Ave NW, Coon Rapids
Time: Monday, Nov. 23 • Noon-2pm
Details: Pack meals with Feed My Starving Children. When the following link becomes live, you can reserve your space to join in!
Holidazzle begins @ Loring Park
1382 Willow Street, Minneapolis
When: Begins Friday, Nov. 27 • 5-9m
Cost: Free admission this year!
Details: Holidazzle has moved to Loring Park this year, is offering free admission to all, and there will be vendors, activities, food, and fireworks for all. Holidazzle will run Thurs-Sun from 5-9pm on Thursdays & Fridays and 11am-9pm Saturdays & Sundays through Dec. 20, 2015.
If your plans are to stay around town this weekend, you may be interested in some laid back fun. We found a creative artistic endeavor, a natural tea experience, and fun at the river.
- River Beach Art
Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park
My family loves to explore at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. We love to walk along the river and see what we can collect or play in the exposed roots of the trees. The staff at Coon Rapids Dam understands this love of the hunt and want to encourage their guests to do more. So they have invited us to come to the river and create art with the debris washed ashore.
- Wild Tea Sampler
Eastman Nature Center
Drop in at anytime to taste some teas made from plants in your backyard. Kids under 17 must be with an adult. I know that coming home from this event, my kids will try to brew their own tea from the grass in the backyard. What do you think your kids will do?
- Lock and Dam 1 Self Guided Tours and Observation Deck Open
5000 West River Parkway, Minneapolis 55417
10:00 am-7:00 pm
Come and go as you please and enjoy time on the river. Hopefully, there will be a lot of movement through the lock so that you can experience the physics in action.
Whether you have already started school, will start school, or school-age is a long way off, we know you will have fun together this weekend.