Raising a family is rewarding – and time-consuming! Life takes a 180° turn when children arrive, and at times we may be left feeling disconnected from friends, hobbies, and previous ways of life altogether. We become like planets orbiting the sun, our lives centered around our children as we teach, nurture and love them through each stage of life.
Joining a playgroup or family class is a great way to introduce your kids to new friends and activities and can also provide a wonderful platform to connect with other parents and caregivers, offering a great experience for the entire family.
While there’s no shortage of kids activities in the Vancouver area, you may be hesitant to participate, as often these events are pricey. Luckily, we found a bunch of groups and play classes that are free—yes free—and will have you and your kids making friends and finding fun in some new and surprising ways.
Getting out with your baby is great for you both. Interacting with other new parents and having some fun, will provide you with a good dose of adult time while boosting your mood – and baby’s too!
Strong Start: 0-5yrs
Hosted by Vancouver area school boards, Strong Start is available in most communities. Designed for play-based learning, it’s a chance to share in early learning with your child within a rich, stimulating environment. Visit vsb.bc.ca for times and locations.
Toddler Box Party: 1-3yrs
Available through the (VPL) Vancouver Public Library, this party provides piles of creative fun time. Toddlers are supplied with cardboard boxes, crayons, and music to provide the ultimate creative crafting experience. Visit vpl.bibliocommons.com for info.
Toddler Storytime at the VPL: 18months-3yrs
Full of fun and games, this interactive storytime offers a lively setting for your little one to let loose and enjoy some social time. Visit the VPL vpl.bibliocommons.com for upcoming dates and times.
Groovin’ Babies: 0-5yrs
No experience necessary! Get groovin’ every Wednesday at this happening toddler dance party. Enjoy some exercise while you dance and play to some bouncing beats. Visit brentwoodtowncentre.com for more information.
Moms, Pops & Tots at the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.: 0-5yrs
Each Tuesday, the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. offers a variety of workshops for kids and caregivers including face painting, storytelling, yoga, dance and more. Learn to make healthy snacks while enjoying a great atmosphere and new friends. Space is limited, so visit rockymountainflatbread.ca to register.
For school-aged kids:
Kids of all ages love to socialize and learn new skills. Introducing them to new playgroups and classes helps them gain confidence in new environments while offering them a great opportunity to meet friends with similar interests.
Ready, Set, Learn: Parents and kids 3-5yrs
Hosted by Vancouver-area school boards, this hands-on family event provides parents and caregivers valuable education and resources aimed at enriching children’s learning, prior to formal schooling. Families can connect with other families while enjoying fun, play-based activities. Visit www2.gov.bc.ca for event details in your school district.
Kids Zone: Kindergarten to grade 7
At library locations city-wide, Kids Zone is a great way for younger kids to mingle and make new friends. Filled with crafts, books and other fun activities, kids will get some social time and have a blast. Visit vpl.bibliocommons.com for dates and times.
Write Now! Creative Writing for Kids: Grades 3-7
This fun class is designed to teach creative writing and poetry skills to mini writers at any level. It will foster imagination and encourage creative thinking. Visit vpl.bibliocommons.com for details.
Lego Block Party: Kindergarten to grade 7
A chance to have some extra Lego fun, this play class provides a great group atmosphere where your little builder can meet new friends and learn new skills while enjoying their favourite pastime. Visit vpl.bibliocommons.com for details.
Coding Buddies: Grades 2-4
For aspiring little coders, this class partners your child with a teen buddy to explore coding basics while they engage with other kids in a fun, interactive environment. vpl.bibliocommons.com
For all ages:
Providing older kids with fun, extra-curricular activities, will teach them responsibility and boost confidence, while all-age family events offer some good bonding time and increased family connection.
Afternoon at the Movies (Vancouver Public Library): All ages
A great chance to spend time together as a family, Afternoon at the Movies is the perfect way to kick back and relax with some free entertainment. Visit vpl.bibliocommons.com for showtimes.
Family Day at Place de Arts: All ages
Create a family masterpiece as you explore the exhibits of Place de Arts on Family Day. Designed for all ages, this drop-in arts and crafts day will provide your family with hours of creative exploration. Visit brownpapertickets.com to register for the next free Family Day.
ArtStarts: All ages (12 & under free)
Offering creative workshops each Saturday, families will explore different artistic mediums including crafting, dancing, singing and improvisation. Visit artstarts.com/explores for info.
Whether you’re on a budget or, like most, want to save money when you can, these free Vancouver play options are heavy on fun and light on your wallet. So, get creative, try something different, and make some new friends while you’re at it. Vancouver has never felt so fun!