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Free and Frugal Winter Activities for Kids in Reno

rmb winter activities

The snow is coming down this year in the Reno area!  If you’re tired of being cooped up all day, everyday, there are plenty of fun and frugal ways to get out with the kiddos and enjoy yourselves.  With four young kids, I’m always on the lookout for fun things to do with them for very little money.  Here’s a quick list of a handful of free (or almost free) classes around town for the kiddos.

1. Kids Klub: Aquarium Adventure. Pre-register your 4-12 year olds for this event at Scheel’s at the Outlets at Sparks and you’ll learn all about the fish living in their fresh and salt water tanks.  Event is free on Monday, January 4th at 6pm.  All kids get a free ferris wheel ride.

2. Kids Klub: Behind the Scenes-Store Tour.  Be sure to pop into Scheel’s with your 4-12 year olds on Monday, January 18th at 6pm for this store tour.  All children receive a free ferris wheel ride.  Please pre-register for the event.

3.  Kids Klub Valentine’s Crafts.  Don’t forget to sign up for this Valentine’s crafting event on Monday, February 1st at 6pm at Scheel’s.  These are geared for children ages 4-12, and each child will receive a free ferris wheel ride, too!  Event is free.

4. Kids Klub-How to Make Scheel’s Fudge.  Doesn’t this sound like an amazing class?!?  Kids will learn how Scheel’s fudge is made, and get to make a tasty treat of their own to take home.  All children will receive a free ferris wheel ride.  Event is free, but be sure to pre-register!  Class is held on Monday, February 15th at 6pm.

5. Other Scheel’s Fun at the Outlets at Sparks:

*Indoor Play Structure.  If you enter through the south facing doors and head into the kids clothing area to your left, you’ll see an indoor play structure.  There are even a few benches for parent to sit at while the kiddos play!

*Fish tanks.  Apart from the Aquarium Adventure listed above, the tanks are regularly cleaned and the fish fed by an employee who dives into the tanks!  It’s so much fun to watch.

*Ferris Wheel.  Tokens for the Ferris wheel are just $1 each!

*Bowling.  Upstairs, you’ll find two small “bowling” lanes near the golf section.  Smaller balls, shorter lanes, the option to have bumpers, 10 frames, no shoe rentals, and just $2/game.  My kids have no idea “real” bowling is a thing, and they LOVE this game.

*Free fudge samples.  Don’t forget to grab a free sample of fudge while downstairs!  Or buy yourself a piece and eat it all when the kids aren’t watching.  My favorite is the dark chocolate sea salt and caramel.

6.  Discovery Museum.  While a one-time trip here is certainly not frugal ($10/person), a yearly family pass here is an incredible steal that will allow you to escape from the crazy cold or the intense heat, all year round.  A full family membership for the entire year is $99.

*Small Wonder Wednesdays.  The museum opens an hour early on Wednesdays (at 9:00AM) for little ones ages 5 & under.

*Half price admission after 4pm on Wednesdays.

*Derby Car Building.  The Shop area at the Discovery will have materials out to build your own derby car on Tuesday, January 5th throughout the day.  Build a car with your kiddos, and then test it our on the track!

7. South Valley’s Library Craft Times.  Head to the South Valley’s Library for Craft Time for fun crafts between 4-5pm on Tuesday, January 12th and Tuesday, February 9th. 

8.  Story Time at the Downtown Library. Tuesdays from 10:30-11:00 you can bring your preschool aged kiddos to the downtown library for story time.  This is one of my favorite libraries for story times.  The enclosed area for kiddos is fantastic! Click here to view the story time events at all Washoe County Libraries.

9. Paws 2 Read.  Take your emerging reader to the libraries for the opportunity to read aloud to a dog!  Paws 4 Love therapy teams bring these sweet pups to the libraries to lend a non-judgmental ear to beginning readers.  Check with your local library (or HERE), as there are multiple opportunities and times for this throughout each week.

10.  Bag Sales at Grassroots.  Grassroots bookstore regularly holds “warehouse” sales.  These are great, in and of themselves, but if you wait until the last day, they have “Bag Sales” for $4.99 a bag.  Now, it can get a little crowded in the warehouse, so I don’t recommend bringing really littles or strollers (though you can).  Kids big enough to hunt through boxes of books LOVE it sense they can pick a bunch of books for really cheap.  Take your kiddos, fill a bag for five bucks, and spend hours of reading fun at home!  The next bags sales are: Sunday, January 3rd; Sunday, January 24th; and Sunday, February 14th.  All sales are from 9AM-5PM.

11. Home Depot Workshop: Kung Fu Panda Spinning Box.  Saturday, January 2nd from 9-12pm (stop in any time; earlier is usually better), your child can attend this FREE workshop at the Home Depot on South Virginia (FYI: all Home Depot’s do these, but times & dates vary for each store; be sure to check online).  Children get to build a craft and take it home!  They also get a workshop apron to take home.  Register for this free event HERE.

12. Home Depot Workshop: Valentine’s Mailbox.  Don’t worry about making your child a mailbox for Valentine’s Day this year…Home Depot has you covered!  Sign up for this free workshop on Saturday, February 6th from 9-12pm (stop in anytime; earlier is usually better) and your child will build their own mailbox, as well as receive their own building apron!  Register for this free event HERE.

13. Michael’s Craft Store (Kietzke)-Arrow Valentine’s Card.  February 6th you can stop in for 30 minutes of crafting fun between 10-12pm as your child creates a cute Valentine’s Arrow card.  Cost is just $2 per child, and recommended age is 10-12 (though from the picture, I’d think younger kids 8+ would likely be fine).  Register HERE.

14.  Michael’s Craft Store (Kietzke)- Personalized Frame.  February 20th your kiddos can stop in for 30 minutes of crafting fun between 10-12pm and create their own personalized frame.  Recommended age for this one is 10-12 years, and the cost is $2/child.  Register HERE.

15. Toddler Time Playgroup at the Nurturing Nest.  This free play time is specifically for children ages 1-4.  This free play time happens every Thursday morning from 10-12pm. Meet other moms while your littles play in the playroom and make friends!

See!?!  There’s no reason the cold and snowy weather should leave you and your kiddos cold and bored (and broke!) this winter.  There are PLENTY of fun activities around Reno for kids to do for free or nearly free!

Know of another free or frugal, kid friendly activity around town this winter?  Share it with us in a comment below! 


About Jessica Locke

Jessica Locke
Jessica is a wife and homeschooling mom to four kiddos, two pups, and five chickens. She enjoys mixed martial arts, Spartan races, and teaching/coaching fitness, self defense, and martial arts. She currently writes at motheringwithcreativity.com for all things mom-ing and homeschooling, and at Debt Free, Reno, NV on FB and IG for all things money-matters.


  1. Kimmie Candy on Reactor Way offers free tours of their candy making factory and free samples.

  2. We’ve been going to Meadowood Mall a lot, because they have an indoor play area. It can get crowded, but now that the holidays are over it should settle down.

  3. High Ballocity at the Coconut Bowl is $1 for kids 3 and under and it is practically empty if you go in the mornings when the big kids are at school. They open at 10am.

  4. Please please please let’s not forget about SKY TAVERN! it’s almost here, and we are ready!

  5. On April 23rd The Nurturing Nest will be holding The Great Cloth Diaper Change and Green Family Fair. This is fun and FREE AND you can tell your child they were part of a world record! Here are more detials: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/great-cloth-diaper-change-and-green-family-fair-reno-tickets-20663793964

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