Our updated list is here! Keep the whole family busy year-round with these inexpensive and free kids activities in Wichita and the surrounding areas. This list is fantastic for toddlers and young kids, but take note – some offer activities for big brothers and sisters too. To keep up with all the latest things to do with kids in Wichita, click the Families & Kids link in the menu at the top of this page.
Free things to do with kids in Wichita year-round:
The Wichita Public Library has free kids’ storytimes, family activity nights, and even educational and fun programs for teens – not to mention free books and movies to borrow. Activities vary by age, and may vary by branch location. Space is limited; first come, first seated. All are free unless otherwise noted. Check out Wichita Public Library Programs for Kids and search by age, location, or event type.
The Wichita WATER Center is open to the public on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons, and has hands-on educational activities, plus aquariums. The WATER Center has a free story time on Tuesday mornings specifically for Pre-K kids, but all ages are welcome to attend. Storytime is free and no registration is necessary. Fish Tales Story Time at the WATER Center
The Wichita Art Museum offers free educational art activities for kids and families. Art Start is an hour-long interactive program for preschoolers ages 3–5 offered on Tuesdays. Family Artventure includes fun activities and art projects for the whole family on select Saturdays. Also, admission to the Art Museum is free every Saturday.
Sedgwick County Zoo has a free half-hour program for kids ages 3-5 held on the fourth Tuesday of most months called Tot Tuesdays. The zoo also has a variety of other educational children’s programs that have varying fees.
Great Plains Nature Center is a cornucopia of free kids activities! First off, the Nature Center is free to visit anytime they’re open. It has a walk-through exhibit area inside and there’s a wonderful walking path in Chisholm Trail Park just outside the center. Throughout the year they also offer free kids’ programs:
- Naturally Crafty
The GPNC provides the materials for kids to make a craft to remember their visit to nature center. It’s free and for all ages; children must be accompanied by an adult. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. – noon.
- Free Story Time at the Great Plains Nature Center
This weekly free story time is geared toward preschool and kindergarten-age kids, but all ages are welcome to attend.
- Little Nature Lovers program at GPNC
Another free weekly activity at the Great Plains Nature Center designed for 3-5 year olds and their caregivers.
Family board game nights at the Sedgwick County Extension Center are held several times throughout the year and are completely FREE.
Free/Cheap Things to Do with Kids in Wichita in Nice Weather
Oh boy. When the weather’s nice outside, we have a whole lot of options for free fun open up! Be sure to check out our guide to things for kids to do in the summer for even more great ideas!
Splash parks in Wichita (and beyond) are seriously the most free fun you and your kids can have in hot weather, Wichita and nearby communities have all these wonderful free interactive fountains. Make sure the kids wear sunscreen, and definitely bring a towel because they (and maybe you) will get soaked.
Riverside Park Zoo Locals call it a zoo, but it’s officially called the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit. Located in Central Riverside Park at 720 Nims, it’s open year-round and is always free. The exhibit includes 25 species of animals like beavers, red fox, porcupine, mink, hawks, owls, and more.
The Sedgwick County Park boundless playground is one of Wichita’s favorites. It’s located on the north end of the park, which is east of Ridge Road between 13th and 21st Streets. (Map it: 6501 W. 21st St. North, Wichita, KS 67212) Really, the whole park is great. It has walking paths/bike paths, ponds, a tennis court, multiple playgrounds, grills and picnic areas, and geese, ducks, and squirrels (all of which will chase you for a piece of bread, so don’t feed them)!
Exploration Place Miniature Golf Course is in a really fun location right next to the river and a short walk from the Keeper of the Plains. Mini Golf is included in admission to EP, and free for EP members.
Exploration Park is fun and free for everyone. It includes a playground, rain garden, giant sandbox, picnic tables, and walking paths. It’s open from sunup to sundown every day.
O.J. Watson Park is a gem! The park has pedal boats, fishing ponds, pony rides, miniature train rides, mini golf, picnic tables, playgrounds, and more. The paid activities are inexpensive ($2 or $3 each) and admission to the park itself is free. There’s no cost to play on the playgrounds or to picnic there, unless you choose to rent a picnic shelter.
Fishing in Kansas is inexpensive for adults and free for kids under 16 years old, who do not need a license. We have so many great places to fish in Wichita. <–Check out that link for a ton of fishing resources.
Free/Inexpensive Indoor Play and Activities for Wichita Kids
At the very top of this article I’ve listed free things for kids to do in Wichita. Many of those can be terrific activities for kids when the weather’s not conducive to playing outside. Here are a few more inexpensive or free indoor activities for Wichita kids.
Movie theaters in Wichita offer special discount days, which can be a lifesaver when you can’t go outside with the kids. Here are all the movie discounts in Wichita we’ve found so far!
Kids Bowl Free is a real thing (!) offered at several local Wichita bowling alleys through the summer months.
Towne East Square Mall has a play area for kids in front of Sears. (I believe Towne West Mall has something similar.)
The Wichita Toy Train Museum is only $5 for adults and kids 12 and younger get FREE admission. You’ll want to check the schedule in advance, because it isn’t open every day.
More Free/Cheap Wichita Kids Activities:
Chick-fil-A Wichita and Derby locations always seem to have special events and activities for families and kids. Keep an eye on your nearest location’s event calendar or Facebook page.
Hurts Donuts has free weekly storytimes on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. at either (east or west) location. Buy a donut and enjoy a story and/or a craft to go along with it.
Whole Foods Market has a Kids Club with free events and/or activities (but they do require an RSVP).
Barnes and Noble has a free storytime for kids every Saturday morning at 11 a.m.
Watermark Books, Wichita’s independent bookstore, has a free children’s storytime for kids ages 4-8. Storytime is held Saturday mornings from 10:30 to 11 a.m.
Home Depot has free Kids Workshops at for kids ages 5-12 years. These require registration in advance.
Michaels offers Kids Club activities on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon for just $2 per project. Supplies are included.
Moxie Junction, a very special locally-owned coffee shop in Maize, offers free storytimes for kids on Tuesday mornings.
Inexpensive things for kids to do in Wichita:
These activities may charge a small fee or are included with admission. Members may receive discounts or even get to participate for free.
Exploration Place also has a TOT Tuesday program, held on the third Tuesday of the month from 10:30-11 a.m. and included with admission or free with membership. EP also offers a Kansas Kids Preschool Class for $7 per child ($5 for EP members) for kids ages 3-5 on Wednesdays from 10:30-11 a.m. Preregistration is required.
Museum of World Treasures holds its Pre-K Passport program for kids ages 5 and younger on the second Monday of the month. It begins at 10:30 a.m. Kids can visit multiple months throughout the year to get their passports stamped. This program is included with museum admission. Also, don’t miss Family Night at the Museum of World Treasures, when admission is only $5.
Botanica cultivates kids’ love of learning with a few different educational programs. (Note: some programs have been cancelled for January 2017 due to construction, but should resume soon.) Sunny Days story times for kids 2 and older are held on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. and include music, movement, and a theme-related craft. It’s included with Botanica admission. Garden Sprouts is a preschool class for kids ages 3-5 held on Mondays or Tuesdays. Cost is $9 per session ($6 for Botanica members). Preregistration is required. From spring through fall, Botanica also has Family Game Nights and $3 Thursdays.
Sedgwick County Zoo has Early Childhood learning adventures for children ages newborn through kindergarten. Activities vary by age. Space is limited, so pre-registration is required. Kids must meet age requirements – older or younger siblings will not be allowed. Fees per class range from $6 to $10 (discounts for zoo members) and generally require a minimum of one adult and one child ticket per visit. Lots to choose from.
There are even more things for families to do together in our big list of Local Wichita Attractions. These are all affordable – and some of them are even free.
Outside of Wichita, check out:
- Children’s Story Time at the Andover Public Library
Pre-registration varies depending on activity.
- Youth and Family Programs at the Derby Public Library
Pre-registration varies depending on activity.
- Haysville Community Library
Many activities for kids and families throughout the year, including storytime, board game events, and Monday Evening Movie.