The fall is definitely my favorite season. I love visiting farms, picking apples and enjoying nature walks with my kids. There are so many amazing experiences to be had that help kids learn, grow and develop. What’s even better is that these experiences don’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, many are FREE. Yes, I said FREE! At Mommy University, we love sharing brain boosting activities but we also know that most families, like ours, are on a budget. This fall, we have put together a list of exciting brain boosting experiences your entire family will LOVE!
FREE Brain Boosting Fall Fun
Home Depot Kids Workshops
If you follow Mommy University on Facebook, then I am sure you have seen our pictures at the Home Depot Kids Workshops. I have been bringing my older son since he was 4 years old. Even though it says it starts at age 5, I have never had a problem bringing my kids. Home Depot Kids Workshops take place the first Saturday of every month from 9am-12pm. The workshop is great for building fine motor skills, increasing independence and sparking creativity.
Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinics
My kids and I have also been attending Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinics for the past 4 years. We have made some amazing projects from monster trucks to games to wooden puppets. Lowe’s projects help increase visual-spatial skills, hand-eye coordination and listening skills. (Registration is required!)
Admission to Pick-Your-Own at Alstede Farms
Whether it is apples, pumpkins, corn or fruit, families love PYO experiences at the farm. This fall enjoy FREE PYO admission at Alstede Farms Monday-Thursday 9am-12pm. This includes a hayride to the fields.
Free Fall Family Day
On November 13, 2016, families can enjoy a fun day at Montclair Art Museum. From 1pm-4pm, families explore the museum while enjoying a variety of unique art inspired activities that reflect MAM’s current exhibits.
Open Arms Evening
On November 13, 2016 families with children on the autism spectrum are invited to explore the Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill for FREE. This relaxing and judgment-free evening is fun for the entire family. The event takes place 6pm-8pm and registration is not required.
Barnes and Noble Story Time
Since my kids were babies I have taken them to the FREE story times at Barnes and Noble. Not only do kids get to enjoy a great story, they also sing songs and complete a fun activity. Most Barnes and Noble stores offer weekly story times so check your local schedule for more details. Special events also take place throughout the fall. Here are some you may enjoy:
- Penguin Problems Storytime: November 12
- Thanksgiving Storytime: November 19
- Moana and the Ocean Storytime: November 26
- The Polar Express Pajama Storytime: December 2
Bank of America Museums On Us
On the first full weekend of every month, Bank of America card holders can enjoy FREE admission to museums all over the country. The Museums On Us program gives families access to amazing learning experiences that they otherwise may not have been able to afford. In NJ, families can visit Morris Museum, Liberty Science Center, Garden State Discovery Museum, Newark Museum, The Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton University, Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, Montclair Art Museum and Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art.
With fall comes an array of fun and exciting festivals. From apples to pumpkins to food trucks, there are plenty of fall festivals for families to enjoy in NJ. What’s even better is that many of them are FREE! I found a great list of local festivals on nj.com!
Cape May County Zoo
Zoos offer amazing developmental and academic benefits for kids. This fall families can explore Cape May County Zoo for FREE. In fact, this zoo is free all year long! It’s a wonderful way to enhance vocabulary and introduce kids to the world of science!
Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland
When you think fall, you don’t necessarily think Santa, BUT Santa’s Wonderland is a fun and FREE experience I had to add to the list. Kids can make crafts, make a wooden picture frame to display their Santa picture, build with Lincoln Logs and explore the Big Dig Excavation Area. Kids can also enjoy remote control trucks, a foam toy arcade and laser arcade and a new activity rug. Events begin November 12 with a big preview event and continue through December 24. Learn more on the Bass Pro Shops website.
Keep checking back as we will be adding to this list as new events are released! Have fun learning through play this fall!
What You Missed (But Can’t Wait to See Next Year):
Museum Day Live
On September 24, 2016, Museum Day Live ticket holders can enjoy FREE admission to museums in NJ (and beyond). Hosted by Smithsonian Magazine, Museum Day Live offers families the opportunity to explore museums they may have never experienced before. For a list of NJ museums and to order your free ticket, visit smithsonianmag.com.
Free Family Astronomy Field Day
On September 24, 2016, families can pack a picnic, grab their blanket and head to the UACNJ (United Astronomy Clubs of NJ) observatories and lecture hall at Jenny Jump State Forest in Hope, NJ. There will be amazing events all night from 2pm-9:15pm including observing the sky with their telescopes. This is a the perfect event for your little (or big) astronomer!
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