Holidays Stretch the Budget?

The holidays may be over, but the family fun continues with plenty of opportunities for free activities.  January is brimming with story times, library events and winter-themed activities to enjoy while we dream of warmer weather.

Keep the kids entertained during the school break, with boredom-smashing activities and ideas listed in our Winter Break Guide.

Free (or affordable) Fun for Kids in Kalamazoo this January

Tuesday, January 1

Bring your whole family to play Flamingo Croquet through the fantastical Alice’s Wonderland at the Otsego District Library. Open daily Monday-Saturday, through January 17. Cost is $1 per person or $5 per family.

January Free

Ice Skate outdoors at the Millennium Ice Rink, now open for the season. Open daily, weather permitting.

Wednesday, January 2

Pretend you are somewhere tropical during the Family Fun Time at the Allegan Aquatic Center on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Enjoy a lazy river, slide, fountains and warm water.

What do you get when you combine drums and a community? Drummunity at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum! All ages are welcome.

Visit the Paw Paw District Library and enjoy trying new games during a Family Game Afternoon.

Thursday, January 3

Have fun at the weekly themed Family Story Time, including songs, fingerplay, and crafts at Bookbug.

Stories, songs, fingerplays, and fun activities designed for preschoolers from birth to age 5 at Family Storytime at Kalamazoo Public Library – Oshtemo Branch.

Visit the Kalamazoo Valley Museum to check out the temporary exhibit case of models on the first floor, then join members of the Kalamazoo Scale Modelers to create your own. Registration required.

The Kalamazoo Public Library Oshtemo Branch will be breaking out their new Nintendo Switch and PS4 during open game time.

The Paw Paw District Library is hosting a Make and Take LEGO Creation Event. Join them as they pull out boxes of LEGOs, so you can build a creation to take home! They supply the LEGOs, you supply the imagination.

Friday, January 4

Come to the Story Place at the Kalamazoo Public Library Alma Powell Branch and engage in play for early learning. For children ages one to five with a caregiver, siblings welcome.

Learn how to create conga and bongo Latin rhythms at Conga-Bongo hands-on music program at the Kalamazoo Public Library Oshtemo Branch. Best for grades K-5 and registration is required.

Families can sing their favorite songs, listen to stories and enjoy special guests at Musical Storytime at the Kalamazoo Public Library Oshtemo Branch.

Saturday, January 5

Build an Easel and Whiteboard Project during the Home Depot Kids Workshop. Available at the Portage, Plainwell and Three Rivers locations.

Cabin Fever Fun for the whole family! Join Haven Reformed Church for games, sledding, hot cocoa and more.

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 swim times on Saturday and Sunday.

Build, create, race, inspire, and imagine with other Lego fans at the LEGO Event at the Kalamazoo Public Library Oshtemo Branch. Bricks provided, from Duplo to expert builder. All ages welcome.

Let your child get creative at Michaels’ Kids Club. Only $2 for ages 3 and up, or $5 for ages 5 and up (per child) reserves 30 minutes for a craft. Available at the Portage and Battle Creek locations every Saturday.

Sunday, January 6

Enjoy all things winter at Bair Lake Bible Camp annual SnowFest from 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM. There will be snow tubing, ice climbing, hayrides, indoor volleyball and basketball, campfires, cross-country skiing, broomball, hot chocolate, and a free meal.

Monday, January 7

Join Portage District Library with your little one and have fun as you sing, read, rhyme and play during Baby and Toddler Storytime.

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

Kick off Willard Library winter story times and programs with a special evening ‘How Do Dinosaurs?’ costume-character visit. Families will enjoy stories, crafts, and photo opportunities with the dinosaur.

Tuesday, January 8

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

Support Loaves and Fishes in Kalamazoo while skating at Rollerworld. Bring in the “COW-Can of the week”, and you pay only $2.50 for admission.

Wednesday, January 9

Draw, write, color, and create origami while enjoying hot beverages and delicious baked goods during Teen Art Space at Portage District Library. Open to students in 6th-12th grade.

Thursday, January 10

You won’t want to miss the bookmark treasure chest at Barnes & Noble weekly storytime. Join for stories, followed by coloring, and treats.

Create a Terrarium with other tweens during Tween Night at Willard Library in Battle Creek. Students ages 9-14 are invited to this monthly event.

Friday, January 11

Celebrate the joy of music and creative movement during Family Fun:  Jump, Turn Dance and Learn at Portage District Library. This enriching program strengthens coordination, cognitive skills, creative thinking in a fun environment.

Enjoy pizza, pop, pals, and art for just $2 during Teen Night at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Registration required.

Kalamazoo Institute of Art

Saturday, January 12

Visit the Galesburg Charleston Memorial District Library for stories, silliness, and songs at Second Saturday Story Time.

Be an Art Detective at the KIA. The program teaches children 4-8 (with an adult) how to look at and appreciate art through storytelling, guided looking and art-making.

Sara the Soprano will delight the audience with a baby-friendly performance of favorite lullabies during Opera Babies at Kalamazoo Public Library Oshtemo Branch.

Monday, January 14

Everyone in Grades 2 through 5 is invited to come to Lego Club at the Portage District Library. Create with friends, build whatever you can imagine, and complete exciting challenges.

Tuesday, January 15

Toddlers will enjoy Toddler Tales at Parchment Community Library for a story and activities.

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. with the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. at the Kalamazoo Public Library Alma Powell Branch.

Wednesday, January 16

Teens are invited to stop by Willard Library for Art Wednesdays. Participate in various art projects, activities, and partnerships with community organizations.

Come for the movie, stay for the mockery! Watch one of the worst movies ever made on purpose during Bad Movie Night at the Kalamazoo Public Library. Food, giveaways, and bingo.

Thursday, January 17

Join the Paw Paw District Library for a lap-sit Mother Goose Story Time program.

Friday, January 18

Miss Heather from Just Move Fitness and More will be at Just Move Family Fun Event at the Portage District Library. Join her as you stretch, move, and dance, dance, dance! This high energy class develops your child’s body awareness, coordination, and self-confidence.

Saturday, January 19

Shop for yourself at the Winter Craft Show on Saturday and Sunday. Peruse over 99 booths of your favorite artists, crafters, and vendors. Free admission and parking.

Beginner walkers with caregivers will love the free Tumble Toddlers event at the Kalamazoo Public Library Eastwood Branch. Get moving with music and a big open space.

Bring the kids and join a Park Ranger 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.

Monday, January 21

Honor and celebrate Civil Rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Kalamazoo Public Library Eastwood Branch.  Families will listen to a story, enjoy a short film, and do activities.

Whether you’re new to the Magic: The Gathering game or a seasoned player, the Kalamazoo Public Library Oshtemo Branch welcomes you to come out and play. Friends from Fanfare will be there to help teach the game and offer some friendly competition. Snacks provided.

Wednesday, January 23

Come be a Preschool Pal at Parchment Community Library. Stories, songs, finger plays and a craft designed pre-school aged children.

Thursday, January 24

Let your little ones play during Wee Ones Winter Play at the Helen Warner Branch of Willard Library.

Friday, January 25

Can you taste the difference between brands of cookies, soda, and other snacks? Put your taste buds to the test at Taste Test Challenge at the Kalamazoo Public Library Central Branch. Prizes for top tasters.

Saturday, January 26

Fill a bag with books for only $3 or pay 20 cents per book at the Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library Bag of Books Sale.

Tuesday, January 29

Instill a joy of books and reading in children by bringing them to Little Explorers Story Time at Willard Library. With a focus on building family literacy and language skills, little ones and their caregivers will enjoy stories, songs, fun, and crafts.

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