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.
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Since we’ve found so many things to do with the kids that are either low-cost or completely FREE, we’ve broken the list up into sections.
First, there’s free things you can do with the kids year-round (any time of year and in pretty much any weather). Next, we’ve listed dozens of free ways to get kids outside enjoying sun-shiny, beautiful days. After that we’ve collected a great big list of other activities that may not be free, but are definitely inexpensive.
Read on to find the best FREE things to do with kids year-round.
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 the 2nd Tuesday of every month. It’s designed specifically for ages 2-6, 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. (Pre-registration is required.) 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.
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. They also offer free kids’ programs year-round.
- 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.
- Archery Club is a free bi-weekly club for all ages and levels of archery expertise. The club meets every other Sunday starting on March 10, 2019.
Sedgwick County Extension Center holds Family board game nights several times throughout the year and these kid-friendly events are completely FREE. (Waiting on an updated 2019 schedule for this.)
Go Swimming Indoors or out, swimming is a fun and inexpensive, family-friendly activity. Check out this extensive list of places to swim in Wichita.
Do Math Have a brilliant mathematician living in your home? WSU has a FREE math circle for kids in grades 5-7 that meets weekly.
Paint Kindness Share the satisfaction of spreading kindness with your kids, and get in some crafting time as well. Find out how to join the Kindness Rocks movement in Wichita.
Go Retro with Games Let kids experience fun and games as it was in the 80s at The Arcade, or go even further back in time with these Places to Play Pinball in Wichita. Or you can go low-tech at these Wichita Tabletop Board Game Places.
Fly a Plane Yes, really. Did you know Wichita’s Young Eagles Flights are FREE for kids ages 8-17. This would be the opportunity of a lifetime. Go get signed up.
Join the NEW CityCrew !City Crew is a free club for kids ages 12 and younger organized by the Wichita Department of Park and Recreation. They host FREE activities throughout the year, and kids get club membership lanyards and something for their birthday when they sign up.
Kids Skate Free is a great year round program. Sign up and your kids can skate free up to two time per week!
Even More Free/Cheap Wichita Kids Activities:
Get a big list of Kids Eat Free deals for Wichita
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 (during the summer months) on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. at the west location and on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. at the east location. Buy a donut and enjoy a story and/or a craft to go along with it.
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.
Towne East Square Mall has a play area for kids in front of Sears. (I believe Towne West Mall has something similar.)
Keep reading to find some great ideas to get kids playing outside.
Free/Cheap Things to Do with Kids in Wichita Outside
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.
Kite-Flying Events in Wichita Flying a kite is an inexpensive activity you can do any time the weather is nice. Find a nearby park or go to an event where you can fly your kite with others, learn more about kites, and watch some pros demonstrate their skills!
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 paddle 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.
When the weather’s not so nice? Check out our list of free and cheap indoor activities for Wichita kids. Many of those can be terrific activities for kids when the weather’s not conducive to playing outside.
Read on to find some very affordable, inexpensive things your kids can do around town!
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.
Wichita Park and Recreation has very affordable classes, camps, and youth sports leagues year-round for Wichita kids. Be sure to check out the Wichita Park and Rec Activities Guide once each season to find out when you can register your kids for these fun programs.
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 has a newly revamped kids area called Ivan’s Playhouse, which 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. 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 a half-hour program for kids ages 3-5 held on the fourth Tuesday of most months called Tot Tuesdays. This is no longer free, but is included with Zoo admission.
The Zoo also has a variety of other educational children’s programs with varying fees, like the 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.
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.
The Kansas Aviation Museum has a really inexpensive program for little kids called Little Aviators. During school breaks, they often extend the age-range to include kids up to 12 years old. The price is only $5.
There are even more things for families to do together in our big list of Local Wichita Attractions and/or our list of Kid-Friendly Wichita Attractions These are all affordable – and some of them are even free.
Find things to do with kids during holidays and when school is out.
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.
Do you have a 4th grader? Find out how to get a FREE National Park Pass for your family.