The Holidays have come and gone and our wallets are a little lighter. But with a new term about the start up you might be wondering how to keep kids busy without breaking the bank. I have rounded up 10 free or low cost activities that will keep the learning going and the kids active till the snow melts.
There are lots of great winter festivals in Edmonton. They allow you to try out different winter sports, take in beautifully designed ice sculptors and listen and watch music and dance from different cultures. Deep Freeze (January 11-12, 2020), Flying Canoe Volant (January 30 – February 1, 2020), and the Silver Skate Festival (February 7-17) are three great festivals not to be missed. Celebrations like the Chinese Community Lunar New Year Celebration at Kingsway Mall (January 26, 12-5pm) are also also a great way to learn about other cultures
Outdoor rinks are open and ready for fun. Many Community Leagues have outdoor rinks with admission included in your membership or usually $2 per drop in visit. The City of Edmonton outdoor rinks are free to use and their locations and conditions are listed on their website. Also listed on the bottom of their page is the free Learn to Skate Drop-in Program Schedule. If you want to get in from the wind and cold, arenas across the city will have free drop-in time slots, more information and schedules can be found HERE.
Winter Green Shack
Another great way to get kids outside and active this winter is through the free Winter Green Shack program. Their theme this season is Winter How To, with opportunities to learn kicksled, snowshoeing, or learning to cook outdoors. Full schedule and locations can be found on the City of Edmonton website HERE.
ESO Education Series
Every spring, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra hosts fabulous low cost educational concerts. At only $8 per student and one free chaperone per 10 students, they are a great way to introduce students to the orchestra and a wide range of instruments. Seating is limited so sign up soon. Concerts and registration information can be found on the ESO website.
Family Fun Drop-in Gym Time at Saville Centre
The Family Fun Drop-in Program at the Saville Centre runs from September – June, Monday – Friday, from 9am to noon. For only $8, up to two adults and 3 children ($4 per additional attendee) can burn of some pent up energy. Multi-sport equipment is available to help engage younger children in a variety of activities. Check out the Saville Centre website for more information and to confirm drop in schedules. PS – the first Wednesday of the month is free!
Alberta Legislature Tour
The Alberta Legislature hosts free hour long tours year round and they are a great way to learn about the history of Alberta’s government. You can also visit the Legislative Assembly Visitor Centre and explore their free exhibits, interpretative centre, and 4D theatre.
Art Gallery of Alberta
The Art Gallery of Alberta is always full of wonderful exhibits and programs (additional costs may apply, BMO All-Day Sundays for kids is free with admission). Admission is free for youth 17 and under, Alberta post-secondary students, and their All Access Evenings on Thursdays from 5-8pm is free for everyone.
Alberta Aviation Museum
Visiting the Alberta Aviation Museum is a great way to learn about local history and the history of aviation in Alberta. The last Thursday of the month the museum hosts the Servus Free Access Night from 5-8pm. More information can be found HERE.
Edmonton Public Library
We love our library and visit it frequently. EPL has loads of free programming including storytime programs for younger children, maker space and Lego drop-ins for older kids. The weekly Evil Genius program is a favorite of ours, focusing on STEM activities. Check out their complete line up of free drop-in programs here on the EPL website. Other local libraries like St. Albert Public Library and Strathcona County library also have free programming available, with some specific to homeschoolers.
Edmonton Commonwealth Walkway
The Edmonton Commonwealth Walkway is a fairly new addition to the City. Completed last fall, it is a 10 km loop along the river valley, with frequent sign posts pointing out Indigenous, historical, family and river related facts and information. It’s a great way to explore the city and learn while you’re doing it. More information, including link to apps, map and signpost information can be found on the Edmonton Commonwealth Walkway website .