40+ Ways to Have Free Fun this Spring

May means we are in full spring mode in Kalamazoo. Birds are chirping, flowers are blossoming, the sun is shining, as warmer weather (hopefully) is here to stay.

After our intense winter, it’s time for the kids to burn off energy outside rather than inside the house.

We’ve compiled a list to have at your fingertips this May for free or inexpensive events. MAY is the month to re-discover the outside with the family. From animal encounters, hikes, festivals, hands-on events and crafts, we have found something for everyone and every budget.

Free (or Affordable) Fun for Kids this May

Wednesday, May 1

A fun program kicks-off this month – the Kids Bowl Free program. Sign your kids up for free bowling, all summer long.

Looking for a great opportunity for your three to five-year-old to practice their independence? You can attend I’m a Big Kid NOW:  Independent Storytime at the Portage District Library. Your “big kid” will listen to lengthier stories, learn rhymes, move to music, and learn the mystery letter of the week on their own.

Learn, play and improve your chess skills during Chess Club at Otsego District Library. Open to students in elementary through high school.

Thursday, May 2

Borrow a backpack, grab a list of questions and hit the trails for a Scavenger Hunt at Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery. Offered daily.

Explore S.T.E.A.M through S.T.E.A.M. Storytime at Comstock Township Library. Designed for children (ages three to six) and their caregiver, discover concepts through books, songs, felt boards, and maybe an experiment.

Friday, May 3

Register ahead of time for the Meijer Kids Fun Run. Make sure to arrive early to the expo held before the race, featuring fun activities, vendor booths, goodies and information.

Explore downtown Kalamazoo and enjoy an evening of art exhibits and events at the May Art Hop.

Saturday, May 4

Build a Blooming Art Piece, perfect for Mother’s Day, at the Home Depot Kids Workshop. Activity is available at the PortagePlainwell and Three Rivers Home Depot locations.

May the Fourth be With You! Join the Kalamazoo Public Library Central Branch for an all-day Star Wars Movie Marathon located in their teen room.

Stop by the Antwerp Sunshine Library to practice and perfect your Jedi skills at the library’s Jedi Academy. Enjoy snacks, crafts, and games as well as free comic books.

Continue the Star Wars’ celebration at the Helen Warner Branch of Willard Library. Special activities are planned in celebration of May the Fourth Be With You.

Join the Kalamazoo Public Library Alma Powell Branch for a Star Wars movie, themed crafts, and Star Wars fun for the whole family.

Sunday, May 5

Explore the Kalamazoo Rock and Mineral Show at the Kalamazoo Expo Center.  Discover the world of rocks, minerals, meteorites and fossils, pan for gold, play a game, polish a Petoskey stone or crack open a geode, at one of Michigan’s largest rock shows.

Rock and mineral show

Monday, May 6

Get your game on at Open Gaming at Kalamazoo Public Library Oshtemo Branch. Help break out the new PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Tuesday, May 7

Have an indoor blast at Full Blast in Battle Creek for drop-in open gym time at $2 per child. A small amount of play equipment is provided.

Junior Scientists can learn math and science concepts through fun hands-on experiments at the Antwerp Sunshine Branch Library. Experiments are designed for children in first grade and above, but supervised children of all ages are welcome.

Wednesday, May 8

Build tracks, race cars, crash into LEGO buildings, and jump block towers at Hot Wheels Racing at Kalamazoo Public Library Washington Square Branch.

Thursday, May 9

Experience an afternoon of hands-on science fun at STEM Lab at Kalamazoo Public Library Oshtemo Branch. Designed for children in third through fifth grade.

Friday, May 10 

Hang out at Teen Scene at Otsego District Library each week to play games, watch movies and have fun. Featuring Xbox Kinect and Nintendo Wii gaming systems and some exciting tabletop games. This will be the last one of the season.

Saturday, May 11

Join the Mayor of Portage, Patricia Randall and the Mayor of  Kalamazoo, Bobby Hopewell, as they lead an eight-mile bike ride to commemorate Kalamazoo Bike Week. Registration and the ride begins at Bicentennial Park on Milham.

Join the Pierce Cedar Creek for a Spring Wildflower Hike. Enjoy the sights and smells of spring at the Institute’s Little Grand Canyon.

Let your child get creative at Michael’s. Only $2 for ages three and up, or $5 for ages five and up (per child) reserves 30 minutes for your child to make a paper flower for mom.

Drop in to the Antwerp Sunshine Library for their Mother’s Day Creation Station. All materials are provided.

Learn about and touch an assortment of vehicles including police cars, fire trucks, construction equipment, race cars, buses at the Touch-A-Truck event at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds. The event features over 65 vehicles, princesses and superheroes, crafts, food trucks and a special siren free zone time.

Looking for a way to commemorate this Mother’s Day? Visit Wenke Greenhouses for a free professional photo. Photos will be delivered electronically within a week.

Become an Art Detective at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, admission is free. The program teaches children ages four to eight (with an adult) how to look at and appreciate art through storytelling, guided looking and art-making.

Monday, May 13

Share parenting tips, enjoy music, a story and playtime at a Kalamazoo RESA Community Playgroup.

Tuesday, May 14

Come to a local Anime Meetup at Otsego District Library for fun, friends and talk about your favorite Anime/Manga artists, shows and games. Share your own art and fan-fiction.

Wednesday, May 15

Let your toddler burn energy during Toddler Open Play at Kingdom Sports. Available on Mondays and Wednesdays, year round.

Create one-of-a-kind creations with beads at Melty Beads at Kalamazoo Public Library Eastwood Branch.

Friday, May 17

Held every Friday morning at the South Haven Memorial Library, Tunebugs is a drop-in music exploration program for children ages one through five. Sing songs, explore instruments and enjoy musical family fun.

Saturday, May 18

Bring your non-motorized wheels to Rolling with Rangers and explore the Portage trail system with knowledgeable Park Rangers. Start at Celery Flats and roll out to a different section of the trail system each week.

Head to Downtown Marshall and visit the American Museum of Magic, Capitol Hill School, Governor’s Mansion Honolulu House Museum, Marshall Historical Museum at GAR Hall, and Walters Gasoline Museum, all for FREE on Saturday, May 18.

Sunday, May 19

Watch Binder Park Zoo animal ambassadors during Animal Tools at Schrier Park.

Monday, May 20

Through story and song, children’s entertainer Fred Penner invites you to join the planetarium show, In My Backyard at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, to explore the sky and the world around us.

Say hello to barnyard friends, take a hike and make a craft at the Spring Open Barn Party at Beltz Barnyard.

Tuesday, May 21

Get moving at the Just Move Playdate. Enjoy the tot-friendly obstacle course, songs & games with Miss Heather, pom poms, disco lights, and more. It’s a toddler party!

Wednesday, May 22

Get the wiggles out at Wednesday Wigglers at Richland Library. Have a great time wiggling, giggling, jumping, dancing, singing, rhyming and of course a book or two.

Friday, May 24

Honor our veterans at the St. Joseph Memorial Day Parade. A short program will be held at the end of the parade route.

Saturday, May 25

Visit Historic Charlton Park for the 13th Annual Charlton Park Day. Tour the buildings, play old fashioned games by the old school and enjoy free food.

Stop by the outdoor Flea Market and Antique Show at Cornwell’s Turkeyville. Over 100 vendors will have lots of new and used items of every kind.

Monday, May 27

Honor the brave men and women who served our country at the Marshall Memorial Day Parade.

Tuesday, May 28

Enjoy some one on one time with your 18-36 month-old during Tot Time at Schoolcraft Library.  Learn songs and rhymes, identifying colors, counting and reading.

Wednesday, May 29

A popular event every year! Kalamazoo County preschoolers, their parents, teachers, and child care providers are invited to Bronson Park for Party in the Park. Hear stories read by community leaders and costumed storybook characters. Each child receives healthy snacks and juice and a free book courtesy of Kalamazoo Public Library. Registration is required.

May free fun

Thursday, May 30

Come for the pizza, stay for the fun at Pizza & Pages Teen & Tween Book Club at Otsego District Library. Share with the group what you are reading. Pizza and refreshments will be provided.

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