December is Bursting with Free Fun
Winter has arrived in Southwest Michigan and indoor play is in full mode. From baking to shopping and other holiday events, December is not only a hectic month but it can be an expensive month as well.
We’ve rounded up over 40 FREE or inexpensive events so your December will be stuffed full of festive fun without breaking the bank from all of that holiday shopping. Our list of FREE events includes a wide array of everyday activities with a few holiday events worthy of mention. If you’re on the lookout for specific holiday-related events:
Free (or affordable) Fun for Kids in Kalamazoo this December
Saturday, December 1
The Hometown Christmas Event in Downtown Otsego has special events running all day, including carolers, crafts and hayrides.
Christmas at Wings is the largest Holiday craft show held in Southwest Michigan. With over 340 craft exhibitors, this is a jam-packed show you won’t want to miss. December 1 and 2.
Dash through the snow at the free Home Depot hands-on workshop where you and your child can build a model sleigh pulled by a reindeer.
Catch the Shrek the Halls movie playing on the new movie screen at Paw Paw Playhouse. Admission is $1 or free with a food pantry donation.
A day for music lovers in Battle Creek, Caroling in the Creek will feature a caroling contest between local singing groups, choirs, and individuals. After the sets, a local band will perform.
Miss summer swimming? Try the next best thing with a visit to the WMU Gabel Natatorium open swim. Admission ranges $3-$4 for each member of the family. Open times on Saturday and Sunday.
Monday, December 3
Join Portage District Library with your little one for Baby and Toddler Storytime and have fun as you sing, read, rhyme and play. A developmentally appropriate playtime will follow.
Did you know Barnes & Noble offers weekly storytimes? Join for some super stories, followed by coloring and treats.
Tuesday, December 4
Every Tuesday during the month of December you can grab a movie for $5 Ticket Tuesday at the AMC Theatre with an AMC Stubs Membership.
Have a 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.
Preschoolers and their adults are invited to join Willard Library for a special story time with Santa featuring stories, songs, and a craft. Registration is required.
Can a potato really power a light bulb? Join the Kalamazoo Public Library – Oshtemo Branch and find out. Best for grades 3-5, registration is required.
Wednesday, December 5
Looking for a great opportunity for your 3-5-year-old to practice their independence? 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.
Let your toddler get some energy out during Toddler Open Play at Kingdom Sports. Available on Mondays and Wednesdays, year round.
Have some fun at the Parchment Community Library during their Storytime Kids Christmas Cookie Party. Register to decorate a Christmas cookie and enjoy Christmas stories, songs, and a craft.
Take in an Arts and Tech Talk during the Hands on Happenings at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.
Drink a cup of coffee or tea while your child plays during Mugs and Hugs play time at Vicksburg District Library.
Thursday, December 6
Play in the gymnasium at Haven Church for caregivers & tots (infant to five years old). Program runs every Thursday.
Stop by Willard Library in Battle Creek to read a book to certified PAWS assistance dog, Sasha.
Friday, December 7
Wear your cozy pajamas, enjoy hot cocoa and a cookie from the café, and listen to The Polar Express Storytime at the Portage and Battle Creek Barnes & Noble locations.
Teens grades 8-12th are invited to hang out at Ransom District Library for the evening and let their darts fly during Nerf Night. Pizza and drinks provided.
Saturday, December 8
Creativity reigns for kids at Michaels. Only $2 for ages 3 and up, or $5 for ages 5 and up (per child) reserves 30 minutes for a reindeer craft. Available at the Portage and Battle Creek locations.
Celebrate the holidays with the musical stylings of Gold Company II for a FREE Crybaby Concert. Sing, dance and listen to your favorite holiday tunes performed a cappella.
Children will hunt for nearly 5,000 candy canes and Santa Claus will be at the event during the Homer Stryker Field annual Candy Cane Hunt.
Join the Comstock Township Library for their annual Holiday Open House. Enjoy holiday cookies, hot chocolate, a performance by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra’s String Quartet, meet Mrs. Claus, make a children’s craft, play children’s games and see live reindeer.
Vicksburg’s Christmas in the Village is an annual event that is FREE for the entire community. There will be entertainment, a reindeer petting zoo, wagon rides, a nighttime parade, shopping, and kids crafts.
Visit Battle Creek to see street performers and circus stage acts, acrobats, jugglers, dancers, magicians at Festival Market Square Holiday Festival Circus.
Sunday, December 9
Attend open indoor skate at Lawson Ice Area. Cash-only admission is $3 per person and $1 skate rental. Adult supervision is required.
Find the best looking pine cone during a Pine Cone Prowl Tike Hike at Chipman Preserve. Use your conifer for crafts and experiments.
Monday, December 10
Babies and preschoolers can have free play, music and story time during a Community Playdate at KRESA.
Build whatever your heart desires with the bricks at Ransom District Library’s Build-o-Rama. Your creations will be on display all week.
Tuesday, December 11
Have some slimy science fun at Junior Scientists Slime Day at VBDL Antwerp Sunshine Branch Library. For grades first and up.
Wednesday, December 12
Make a festive holiday ornament at the Kalamazoo Public Library Alma Powell Branch. Supplies provided, but registration is required. Best for grades third through fifth.
Thursday, December 13
Let your little ones play during Wee Ones Winter Play at the Helen Warner Branch of Willard Library.
Saturday, December 15
Use the vast assortment of LEGOs at the Antwerp Sunshine Library’s LEGO Day to make your creations.
Wiggle, Dance, and sing along to funny songs for kids with Benjammin Music at Kalamazoo Valley Museum.
Bring the kids and join park rangers for story time in front of the fireplace at the Schrier Park indoor facility for Reading Rangers. A ranger-led activity or hike will follow.
Sunday, December 16
Register in advance for a family gingerbread house event at Portage Chapel Hill United Methodist Church. For only $4 your child will receive a mini gingerbread house, a tray full of treats to decorate it with, cookies and hot chocolate.
Tuesday, December 18
Enjoy the tot-friendly obstacle course, “baby disco,” indoor free play & get to know other caregivers at Just Move Fitness’ December Play Date.
Wednesday, December 19
Visit the Kalamazoo Valley Museum to journey back 2000 years to Bethlehem in Mystery of the Christmas Star. This modern retelling of the Christmas story is sure to charm and captivate audiences of all ages.
Friday, December 21
Attend the first annual Ballpark Holiday Fest hosted by the Kalamazoo Growlers. Activities include the movie “Elf” on the video board, games & inflatables, snow-themed events (weather permitting) photos with Santa and Porter Santa (team mascot) and much more. $10 public admission and free for 365-Game Plan holders.
Saturday, December 22
Join the Richland Community Library for a crafty good time this STEAM Saturday. Decorate a sugar cookie and spend the morning creating several different ornaments.
Bring the family for Grinch-themed snacks, games, crafts to the Grinchmas Party. Open to all ages at the Antwerp Sunshine Library.
Wednesday, December 26
Bring the whole family to play Flamingo Croquet through the fantastical Alice’s Wonderland at the Otsego District Library. This family-friendly fundraiser opens on December 26 and runs through January 17. Cost is $1 per person or $5 per family.
Thursday, December 27
Kids (4 – 12 grades) play a special Holiday Minute to Win It at Ransom District Library. Snacks will be provided, and there will be a trophy for the winner.
Friday, December 28
Visit South Haven Memorial Library for Tunebugs, a drop-in music exploration program for children ages one through five. Sing songs, explore instruments and have some musical family fun.
Saturday, December 29
Teens can visit the Kalamazoo Public Library Central Branch for Fantasy Drawing. Learn to draw fantastical creatures and landscapes with illustrator Corinne Roberts.
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