Are you going stir-crazy yet? The time of year is making it more difficult for parents with young kids to play outside for very long. But indoor entertainment options that don’t cost an arm and a leg are limited.
Here are some free, store-sponsored events at local retailers to get you out of the house.
Of course, stores have an ulterior motive for offering them: It gets the adults who bring the children to the event into their stores, often with time to kill. And those retailers hope that time to kill turns into time to buy.
• Barnes & Noble Kids Club. The McKinley Mall location, 3701 McKinley Parkway, hosts a Mommy and Me Sing-Along for children ages 5 and younger every Friday at 10:30 a.m. in the children’s department. Call 822-0832.
The Amherst location in Boulevard Consumer Square, 1565 Niagara Falls Blvd., hosts “Baby Lap Time” stories for parents and children ages 2 and younger, Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and “Preschool Story Time and Crafts” every Wednesday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m. for kids age 2 to 4. Call 837-7209.
The Clarence Mall location, 4401 Transit Road, hosts children’s story time and crafts every Thursday and Saturday at 11 a.m. Call 634-1011.
• Pottery Barn. The Walden Galleria store hosts story time for preschoolers every Tuesday from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Receive a “Book Club Passport” at your first session and a free gift after your fifth session. Call 681-6448.
• Home Depot Kids Workshop. Home Depot stores offer free kids workshops the first Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to about noon. Kids will receive a free workshop kit, apron, certificate and achievement pin. November’s craft is a wooden tabletop ship.
Classes are geared toward kids ages 5 to 12, but younger kids can participate with help from an adult. Registration is not necessary, but class schedules are listed online at www.workshops.homedepot.com/workshops/home under the “kids workshop” tab.
• Lowe’s Build and Grow. The home improvement store offers free classes for kids on select Saturdays at 10 a.m. Kids build a wooden craft and get a free apron, achievement patch and pair of goggles. For a schedule of classes and to register, visit www.lowesbuildandgrow.com.
• Boulevard Buddies. Children ages 6 and younger can enroll in this program at the service desk at Boulevard Mall, 730 Alberta Drive in Amherst, or online www.boulevard-mall.com. Free events for parents and children, usually involving a craft, are held the second Tuesday of each month in the food court.
In addition to its regularly scheduled events, the mall will host Santa’s arrival Nov. 9 at 11:30 a.m. Santa will arrive near Bonefish Grill, then parade through the mall to the food court for a meet and greet. Kids can also meet Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and his friends Hermey the Dentist and Bumble the abominable snowman from noon to 3 p.m. No registration is necessary. Call 834-8600.