Check out our tips on freebies and cheapies for grade-schoolers: museums' free days, author readings at bookstores and libraries, observatory viewings, parks department programs, ethnic jaunts and festivals and holiday celebrations are all still relevant for this age group. But there are a few differences to keep in mind. (Photo: Curious kids love the live Liquid Nitrogen demonstration at Liberty Science Center. © Liberty Science Center)
Parks programming for tweens
Parks programming has really been beefed up in many areas as local governments have grown interested in keeping kids out of trouble. Chicago tops the list with programs like Urban Campers, which teaches 9- to 12-year-olds technical outdoor skills like fishing, canoeing and outdoor cooking while encouraging them to explore the plants and wildlife of city parks.
Arts and crafts festivals
Festivals where you can actually speak with the artist '- like the San Francisco Celebration of Craftswomen or the Boston Folk Festival '- are great for tweens who are young enough to still be impressed by adult creations but old enough to have an intelligent conversation with the artists (who, by the way, are usually thrilled to share their secrets with receptive fans). At the