This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Families looking for affordable kids’ activities in Philadelphia have a lot to be excited about this week. The Oval is hosting events nearly every day, and there will be outdoor music festivals all week, culminating in the Indian and Caribbean festivals at Penn’s Landing this weekend. The city also has free movie screenings, art classes, and biking and soccer lessons.
The Lillian Marrero Branch of the Free Library is hosting a free Graphic Novels and Comics discussion group for kids ages 12-17 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The group will also have an opportunity to draw with supplies provided by the library. The branch is at 601 W. Lehigh Ave.
The Oval, Philly’s pop-up park on the Parkway, will be used for Indego Presents: Learn to Ride Class from 1 to 3 p.m. This two-hour class will teach kids of all ages the basics of riding a bike. Participants must provide their own bike and helmet. Registration costs $20, and space is limited. Register here.
The Schuylkill Banks Movie Series will be screening Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Grays Ferry Crescent Esplanade – a popular fishing spot on the banks of the river near Schuylkill Avenue and Wharton Street. There will also be free snacks, and a free raffle courtesy of Philadelphia Runner.
The day is also full of free family activities at the Oval. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Free Library will be hosting storytelling. From noon to 2 p.m., artists from ColorWheels will engage children and adults in creating their own “on-the-spot works of art.” The focus will be on making “wearable art,” and woven paper carpets. Food trucks will be available for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and live bluegrass music from 7 to 9 p.m.
The People’s Emergency Center is hosting a free family movie screening. The movie starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at 325 N 39th St. The event will be air-conditioned, and will be supervised by PEC staff members. The film that will be screened has not yet been announced, but will be posted on this Facebook page.
The Oval will have a free course called Physical Activity Fun from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in which the Health Promotion Council will engage adults and kids in group activities like obstacle courses. From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., kids will have access to the Farm Explorer, a living, hands-on mobile farm for kids and families to learn about agriculture. The vehicle is equipped with garden beds and a kitchen. This free program will teach kids how plants grow, how to eat seasonally, and how to prepare a simple meal.
There will also be a free jazz concert at 7:30 p.m. on River Stage at Penn’s Landing. This is the 18th season for the Smooth Jazz Summer Nights series, and this performance will feature Brian Culbertson as the headline artist.
From 12:30 to 2 p.m., the Oval will host a free Youth Soccer program called Soccer Shots. It’s a nationally recognized program that offers an introduction to soccer for kids ages 2-12, including mini-lessons on the basics and an opportunity for participants to score a goal. Each child who scores will receive a small prize.