I have written before about free online resources for homeschoolers, but how about not online. How about physical classes (outside of school setting) that you can attend at a location and that happen to be free. Usually it is in local stores, and while I am focusing on the NJ area, most of the stores are nationwide chains, only toward the bottom of the list I will mention a few that are NJ specific.
Before heading out make sure to call the location, find out if there is a pre-registration required!
Low Cost and Free Classes and Activities at your local stores, movie theaters and more:
- Your local library! First and foremost check out your local library. Libraries offer way more than books. It is always chock full of activities for kids and adults alike!
- Home Depot has a variety of workshops available. Many are geared toward adults, but there are some for younger kids. Things like learning to build a birdhouse! They are free of charge and you can register online.
- Microsoft has something called Youth Spark Programs, where kids of all ages get to program, explore digital art, create apps and more. Microsoft also has a camp available. I know many stores will work with parents to create a class just for Homeschoolers if you gather a group large enough. I see them happening all the time, and have joined in the past.
- Apple stores have a fantastic selection of activities. From Apple’s Free Summer Camp for ages 8 to 12 (it fills up super fast, and you really need to be on top of the registration to get it), to Kid’s Hour, which is one hour long activities for kids of various ages. Just like Microsoft, Apple stores are willing to work with your group of students, just call and find out. As a matter of fact we recently went to one organized by a homeschool mom, and it was fantastic! The kids got to make a video, edit it, and bring it home on a USB drive bracelet that they were given. The teachers were fantastic as well.
- Michael’s stores have a Kids’ Club, and offer all sorts of wonderful and creative classes for a very tiny price, like $2.00, and sometimes even free. There is also a camp, Camp Creativity, at a $5.00 a session or $12.00 for all three sessions.
- Ac Moore has a fantastic series of classes for kids. They are all about $2.00 per class, and this summer (2017) they are happening on Wednesdays.
- Lego Store offers mini build sessions. They are free. The registration starts on the 15th of the previous month. It fills up quickly, and you need to be on it! It can be a lot of fun though.
- Sam Ash Music Store has open mic nights on Wednesdays, and they will give you a $10.00 gift card to participate.
- Guitar Center has stand alone free music classes. If you take a look on their website you will see classes that teach you how to play Guitar, Ukulele and more.
- Free Bowling In The Summer. You can register your kids for two free games a day all summer long! I have done it, it is easy, and fast. You can find a list of locations on their website. We have gone several times and it is fun!
- Regal Movie Theaters have summer movie express, where you can attend a family friendly movie for $1.00. Also, JerseyFamilyFun has a good list of free movies for the summer.
- Pottery Barn has a weekly story time every Tuesday at 11 am.
- Whole Foods offers free tours for homeschoolers. They also have various events, classes, and family fun throughout their various locations. Just check the event calendar of your local store.
- Ikea also has family events throughout the year. To find out about the events near you, you’d need to visit their website to locate your local store, right HERE. Once you locate your store, click on ‘Go To Store Page’. Once there, click on ‘Events’ and you will be able to see what they are offering.
- Shop Rites have Kids Cook Mondays Workshops. They also offer culinary workshops that go by location.
- Stop and Shop has a free store tour. You can also order a free Passport to Nutrition Kit.
- Barnes and Noble has a ton of events, readings and signings. They also have a summer reading program where kids can earn a free book.
- Back To Nature Nursery is a local nursery located in Basking Ridge, NJ. They always have a fun thing going on, but for the past few years they have had a wonderful Christmas Tree decorating event for kids.
- NJ State Museum is one of our favorite places to visit. In the past we have been able to organize some amazing science and history classes at little or no cost. The admission is donation based, and the planetarium is a lot of fun.
- Two more fun things to take a look at are Zimmerli Museum School Tours (we have gone to one and it was fun) and Passport To Art Days.
- NJ Geology museum, which is located across the street from Zimmerli, offers a bunch of awesome events and class at no cost as well.
Do you know of any fantastic classes or tours? Let us know in the comments below!
Also, please know that I am in no way affiliated with any of these locations, all opinions expressed here are my own. I am simply doing the research on places to take my own family, and choose to share what I find with the world.