During the Halloween season, several mom friends came to me to find out what area events we were attending. To say that is flattering is an understatement! Yes, I spend a decent amount of time hunting out free or very low cost events for my family and yes, we usually have a great time doing them. But to think that I can help other families find things to do, well, that is a pretty amazing idea!
Someone suggested I write a blog. My first thought was, “Me?” But the idea stuck with me. And after praying and praying and praying, I decided to give it a shot. So, here goes nothing…
Christmas is the busiest season of the year, with so many activity choices! Parades, parties, teas, craft fairs, fundraisers, etc. All look so fun and festive, but many are so EXPENSIVE! When we were a family of 3, we could afford to do one or two events through the season. Never the $50 (+) teas or train rides (Polar Express, I’m looking at you), but Celebration in the Oaks or something similar. As our family size grew, I started to look for free or inexpensive events around the area and, let me tell you, there are TONS! So, my criteria for an event is 1) I can find some information about it fairly easily 2) It is free or $5 or less per ticket and 3) It looks like it will be enjoyed by 4 year olds and an 8 year old.
With those criteria in mind, I plan to start sharing SOME events each week. I can’t possibly try to include them all, but I will try to share things we enjoy doing. Some I can personally comment on and some we haven’t tried yet. But, I will share my experience when I can. I can also share some pointers for free events; how to get the most bang for your “buck” and how to navigate with kids in tow.
This week and next are not too busy, but we are ramping up to Christmas! Ok, enough build up, here’s this week’s list:
- 11/17 – The Slidell library is having “Mustache” Family storytime at 6:30! I wish we went to family storytime every week, but sadly, we don’t make it often. I do try to hit the special themed weeks though and we love Ms. Jen!
- 11/17 – From 5-6 pm, the French Market tree lighting ceremony is taking place. I really wish we could make this because it sounds phenomenal with music and the first Cathedral concert of the season. Sadly, we have school commitments. 8*(
- 11/18 – The Esplanade mall (in Kenner) is welcoming Santa. It looks fun, with caroling, storytelling, and an Oreo stacking contest! That is a long drive though. Not sure it is worth it, to be honest.
- 11/19 – Santa’s arrival at Lakeside Mall! The pre-party (tickets required) starts at 8 am and the second line, starring Santa, starts at 9:30! Get there a bit early to stake out your parade spot because you want to be on the front row and the parade is short! It starts at the big tree near the Disney Store and goes to Santa’s spot near Cafe Du Monde.
- Ok, so I have been obsessively stalking the Lakeside Mall website and my email spam folder for this one. The pre-party is free and one of the BEST events we went to last year. Yes, it is early and a drive, but SO WORTH IT! The email came out last Friday and the tickets were gone by the next morning, which means you can’t get tickets for this year. BUT, if you think it looks fun, sign up NOW for the Lakeside Mall Kid’s club. And keep an eye out for other fun things throughout the year!
- 11/19 – Toys R Us is having yet another free Lego event from 12-2. We have spent a lot of time there lately! This week we are building a Star Wars minifigure. I think it looks like a Storm Trooper, but I am no expert, lol. If you haven’t done one of these before, you build the minifig and get to keep it! Yes, it is free, but this week I think we have to complete a scavenger hunt to get the pieces (it usually takes just a few minutes).
- 11/20 – Back to Toys R Us for us! They are having a Pokemon event at 2. You will get a card (Electabuzz, I think), a collector’s album, and a poster. The poster may only be for the first 50 people but I’m not sure about that. Last time they did this, they encouraged you to bring your cards for trading, but Charlie does that somewhere else so we didn’t stay.
- 11/20 – Speaking of Pokemon, most Sundays Charlie plays Pokemon, trades cards, and generally speaks a different language at Showcase Comic Books and Collectibles. If your kids are in to Pokemon, this is a kid friendly environment to learn more!
Normally, I would stop with Monday. We do very little during the school week that isn’t school or scouts oriented. However, next week is a school break, so there are things happening throughout the week that look fun!
- 11/21 – Registration for Lowe’s Build n Grow opens! If you aren’t familiar with the Lowe’s and Home Depot builds for kids, you need to check it out! Lowe’s requires pre-registration and space is limited. Make sure to register quickly if you want to go. This build is December 3 at 10.
- 11/21 – Word Winder for ages 5 and up at the Slidell library at 2 pm. This is a family oriented game and is a come and go program.
- 11/22 – 6:30 pm – Stuffed animal sleepover at South Slidell library. I did this with Charlie when he was small and he LOVED it! Basically, you come to a puppet show with a stuffed animal, then you leave your animal to have a blast all night. On Wednesday, you pick them up and get to hear about their night in the library. Really fun for the kids!
- 11/22 – Chick fil A on Gause is having a Touch A Truck from 5-8.
- 11/23 – Music and Movement at Slidell library at 10:30. This is geared towards younger children but Ms. Jen said she welcomes the older kids and expects they will all have a good time.
- 11/23 – Read with a pup at 3 at South Slidell library. Registration is required and may be full already. Still, Charlie loved doing this when he was first reading!
- 11/23 – I have to be honest here; Charlie told me this morning he is most excited because today is the first day of a new Wild Kratts show on PBS. SO, all this work to find events may not really be necessary. Just kidding, some day he will remember these things, I hope!
The rest of Thanksgiving week and weekend, we don’t have anything planned. I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for fun things, but for now, I plan to let my kids be bored so they are super excited for December.
Now, the first hint for free events: Make sure you arrive early! Depending on how much the event has been advertised or how long it has been around, you might be facing a huge crowd! If you arrive right as the event starts, or even earlier, you will be able to do the most popular things with fewer lines.