Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet several of our readers at events we were part of. I love this part of my job and having a website. One of the most touching things I hear is from single parents and how much sharing ideas for cheap NJ activities means to them. Hearing how much our ideas help is so very rewarding.
I get it. Parenting can be expensive. It can be especially expensive if you’re doing it alone as a single parent. If you’re a parent that only gets to see your child on weekends or every other weekend you may be wondering how do you make the most of the time you have with your kids. You may wonder what can you afford to do with the kids.
If I leave you with nothing else, please know there are cheap affordable activities in New Jersey that you can do with the kids. Don’t spend your weekend with the kids in front of a movie theater screen or computer and video games screen. Do something memorable. Do something that makes the kids say, “Mom/Dad I remember when we did…” or “Dad/Mom I love spending time with you.”
Cheap NJ Activities Single Parents Can Do With Kids
I recognize that a lot of single parents only have their kids on the weekends. I created this guide with that in mind, cheap NJ activities you can do with kids on the weekend. Yes, some of these ideas can be done when you have the kids during the week, a school holiday, or a school break, but all of them can be done on the weekend.
I’ve organized the list by low-cost activities available on certain weekends and then activities that can be done any weekend.
Cheap NJ Activities the First Weekend of the Month
While there are so many cheap NJ activities single parents can do with kids, some only happen during the first weekend of the month.
Build something together during a Home Depot Kids Workshop
On the first Saturday of every month, Home Depot stores offer a free Kids Workshop. These fun mornings let kids build projects with kid-sized tools. Kids don a Home Depot apron and get a certificate. Each month there’s a different project. All of those projects add up to a great memento of their time together with you. View our calendar listing for Home Depot Kids Workshops for more information.
Visit a Museum for free if you’re a Bank of America Card Holder
On the first full weekend of every month, Bank of America’s Museums on Us Program allows each cardholder to get one free general admission at more than 225 museums nationwide. If you have an active Bank of America or Merrill Lynch account with a credit or debit card that means you qualify for this program. We have 6 museums in New Jersey that participate in this program. Learn more in our guide to Bank of America Museums on Us: What You Need to Know.
Cheap NJ Activities Single Parents Can Do With Their Kids One or Two Weekends a Month
In addition to the once-a-month cheap NJ activities, there are a few low-cost activities that happen once or twice a month.
Make projects at Michael’s
Michael’s craft stores hosts craft workshops for kids and teens as well as demonstrations. Some of these are free and some costs just a few dollars. View our schedule of Michaels Make Break Crafts for upcoming dates and projects.
Build more projects at Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores
Once or twice a month there are Lowe’s DIY Kids Workshops. Similar to Home Depot these are hands on workshops where kids can create a project to take home. View the upcoming schedule of Lowe’s DIY Kids Workshops.
Cheap NJ Activities Single Parents Can Do With Their Kids ANY or EVERY Weekend
These cheap NJ activities for kids can be done any weekend or every weekend!
Visit the Library
Whether your kids live in the same area as you or different you likely have access to theirs or your NJ library. New Jersey libraries offer a multitude of free activities for kids and the parents who love them. Here are a few examples.
- Family Game Nights
- Free Movie Screenings
- Arts and Crafts activities
- Lego Build Time
- Story Times
- Stem & Maker Space Activities
- Holiday events
While you’re at the library check out a Museum Pass
Many New Jersey libraries offer a museum pass. These are passes that you check out with your library card. The passes will allow you to visit great NJ attractions like the Liberty Science Center, Imagine That! Children’s Museum, and more for free. Review our New Jersey Libraries’ Museum Pass Program to see which New Jersey libraries participate and then check their policies some may require you to reserve the museum pass in advance.
Have a beach day!
Collecting shells, building a sandcastle, or burying each other in the sand, kids love beach days. New Jersey beaches are free from Labor Day to Memorial Day. But even in the busy summer season, many NJ beaches don’t require kids to have a beach badge. Single parents can get a beach badge for themselves for less than $30 at most of our beaches. Visit our guide to New Jersey beaches for more details.
Beach days can be all day outings too!
During the summer months, visits to the beach can turn into a full day adventure. Many NJ township recreation departments sponsor summer concert series on the beach, summer movies on the beach, bonfires, kid shows, and more. As we draw closer to the summer we’ll be sharing more details about those free summer events.
Sign the Kids up for Kids Bowl Free
The Kids Bowl Free program is one of the cheapest NJ activities single parents can do with their kids. Visit our NJ Kids Bowl Free Guide for a list of participating bowling alleys in New Jersey. Basically, once the kids are signed up they can go bowling for free multiple times a week from late spring into early fall.
Kids can be signed up for more than 1 bowling alley too. So both parents can sign up their children with the bowling alley most convenient to them. Bonus, the Kids Bowl Free program also has a plan where adults can pay a small fee and then they can bowl for free to anytime they take their kids to bowl free.
One last note about bowling with the kids. Even if you find the NJ bowling alleys near you don’t participate in the program, many do offer discount times where families can bowl together for less than $5 a person.
Take a train ride somewhere fun!
We talk a lot about how much kids love trains. They do! And taking a train ride somewhere with kids doesn’t have to be expensive. It also opens the door to new places to explore.
You can read our guide to New Jersey train rides, but basically, NJ Transit offers kids ride free times on weekends and nearly every train ride option has a reduced fare for kids.
With an extensive list of Free and Pay What You Wish Museums in New York City and Pay What You Wish and Free Philadelphia Museums, you could potentially take the kids to NYC or Philly by train for the day and only spend a few bucks for your train fare.
Visit a FREE New Jersey Attraction
Kids don’t need frequent expensive outings. They need YOU! As a single parent, you have limited time with your kids. They get that and they just want to spend time with you. You can make incredible memories together that don’t have to cost anything.
Our guide to free places to visit in New Jersey includes zoos, museums, nature centers, and more. Use that list and maybe set a goal to hit one new free place each month.
Buy a Membership Somewhere The Kids Love to Go
Sometimes we think going to museums or theme parks has to be expensive. I get it, it can be. But if there’s a location your kids really love look into a family membership or season pass. Many times a membership pays for itself in just 2 or 3 visits. Adventure Aquarium, iPlay America, the Big Kahuna all are open year-round and offer memberships.
Buying a family membership is a great way for single parents to always have something cheap to do with their kids even when their budget is tight, because once you’ve paid that membership your admission fee is covered for 365 days.
Those family memberships can be fantastic birthday and holiday gifts too. What better gift for your child than a gift that says, “I want to spend more time doing fun things with you!”
Use our Calendar of Events, I mean it USE US!
Our Calendar of Events is packed with things to do in New Jersey with kids! Many of the events are free and almost all of them are less than $5 a person to attend. Use it to help you find fun and cheap NJ activities whether you’re looking for something happening today, tomorrow, this weekend, or a few weeks into the future.
Even better if you’re looking for things to do in New Jersey this weekend visit our guide to NJ weekend events. We always keep it updated with the upcoming weekend’s events as well as the following weekend’s events in New Jersey.
BONUS Idea: Dive deep into our website
I created Jersey Family Fun in 2010. Since then, we’ve been writing articles/blog posts about all kinds of things to do in New Jersey with kids. We’re always adding new content and updating the content we have. Chances are if your kids are interested in it, we’ve written about it.
Where to see dinosaurs? We’ve got that? Trampoline parks near you? We’ve got that. Arcades in New Jersey? Got that too. Use the search box on our site to find guides that are relevant to you and what your kids are into.
Need information about something you don’t see? Drop a comment and let us know what you’re looking for. We’ll help you if we can.
BONUS Idea: Keep Using Us
Our guide to cheap NJ activities for single parents doesn’t stop with just this list or our Calendar of Events or what’s already on our site. We are constantly finding free and low-cost things to do in New Jersey with kids. Some of these cheap activities happen year-round and some are just offered sporadically throughout the year.
Sign up for our newsletter. Follow us on Facebook. Check in with our new articles often. All of this will help you never miss the chance to do something new, fun, and cheap with your kids. Single parent or not, big budget, little budget, or no budget, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy cheap NJ activities with the kids.