Curing Winter Blues: Finding Free Activities at Local Stores


With the festivities of the holidays over, we’re starting to look into the future of months of cold weather. Having a four-year-old and a two-year-old, I dread this time of year. The kids are full of energy, and there just aren’t enough indoor activities in the house to keep them busy.

Luckily, retail stores kind of see this as something they can solve. It gets (sometimes desperate) parents into the store in the dead of winter (or really any time of year…I usually just participate more in the winter.) It tends to work because there is always something at a craft store, book store or home improvement store to buy. More than that, because I can count on all of these crafts as being semi-regular, I tend to plan my shopping at these stores around the events.

Indoor Activities at Local Stores

Home Depot: We love taking our son to the monthly Home Depot kids workshops on the first Saturday of the month. We’ve created everything from Christmas countdown calendars, planters and heart boxes. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron and a commemorative pin. Every location is different, but some get really busy … so plan to arrive early to ensure a pin and apron! This is one of our favorite indoor activities! 

home depot kids activitiy

Michael’s: Most Saturdays, Michael’s hosts crafting projects for kids that are either free or almost free (>$5). We’ve done everything from decorating cookies to crafting snowmen. We never have any issues dropping in, which makes it a great last-minute decision for the kids (and a fun shopping trip after for me.)

michaels cookie

Barnes & Noble: The weekly Saturday morning B&N storytimes can vary by store. Sometimes it’s ten minutes, other times it’s 45 minutes. For consistency, most bookstores read the same book every week and have a craft (coloring) after. The non-storytime events are the ones to watch for- they often have special characters, free Lego builds or pajama storytimes that are a great indoor activity! 

Disney Store: These events are less regular, but it’s also Disney. Whether it’s storytime or crafting classes, the Disney events for kids are always a solid bet. Check the Polaris store for events happening each month. 

JoAnn: Once a month, JoAnn hosts Hands-On events. I find that, for the most part, these events are for older kids. However, I have found a few Lego events (thank you Frozen) that my four-year-old has loved.

joann lego make and take

Lakeshore Learning: This store also offers a Saturday craft each week. The craft takes place from 11 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and you can drop in without a reservation. The crafts are usually holiday-themed and are for children aged 3 and up.

What did I miss? Any local stores that we should be following for kids’ activities?

If your kiddos need to get even more energy out, head to an open gym or to another indoor play area. Or, check out these local libraries with great play areas!