Things to Do on Black Friday (Without Shopping!)

Family with children and dog having walk

Is hitting the mall at midnight or fighting crowds in mega stores not your thing? Or maybe you just find shopping with a baby impossibly hard! Thankfully there is no law that says you must spend Black Friday shopping until you drop.

Try one of these commercial-free ways to spend the day with your family instead.

Walk or Run a 5K

Family with three children, one baby lying in a baby buggy, walking down a path outdoors, two kids are running ahead, there is also a dog

After feasting on Thanksgiving, the day after is the ideal time to get off the couch and get moving! And a 5K is the perfect distance for both walkers and runners to tackle, especially if you’re pushing a jogging stroller! Check for an existing event near you, or organize your own for friends and family through.

Get Outside

a woman in a forest with her baby

Outdoor and fitness retailer REI is encouraging Americans to go outside this Black Friday by bucking the super sales and closing all 143 of their stores instead. Follow their lead and bundle up your kiddos for an adventure in the great outdoors. Hiking, sledding, playing in the backyard–it doesn’t matter, just get out there!

Visit a Retirement Home

An adorable baby girl spending time with her mother and grandfather

Warm elderly neighbors’ hearts with a visit from you and your sweet baby. You don’t have to stay long for your kind gesture to be appreciated. Bonus points for bringing a plate of turkey leftovers and pie!

Organize a Baby Swap

Close up of two multi-ethnic mothers carrying their babies.  The focus is on the mixed race (Asian and Caucasian) baby boy in the light green shirt.  He is relaxed in his mother's arms.

Black Friday is a great day to try a baby swap with a mom friend or relative, since so many have the day off (of professional work anyway!). Each mom can watch the kids for an hour or two while the other gets to relax. It’s a win-win: your little one gets a playmate and you get a break!

Stop by a Pet Store

Mother and child are watching the fishes in aquarium

Playful puppies, furry felines, fascinating fish… your local pet store is an amusing place to spend an hour with a little one. Snuggle your baby into a carrier and take a stroll around the shop. Careful, you might go home with a cuddly cutie to call your own.

Do a Family Photo

a photographer taking a photo of a family

Take advantage of having everyone together by scheduling a family photo shoot (finally, you can get that professional picture of your baby with Grandma!). Give all relatives coming from out of town a heads’ up that they need to bring an outfit in a particular color scheme. Don’t forget to get some playful pics as well as the posed shots!

Throw a Leftover Pie and Play Party

leftover pumpkin pie

Invite your mom friends and their babies over for a playdate. Cost of entry: One plate of leftover pie! Serve up a no-stress lunch of turkey and trimmings mixed together and baked in cupcake tins lined with crescent rolls (yum!).


Have a Bonfire

Bonfire in the spring forest. Coals of fire. Ukraine

If you live in a fairly temperate climate, a Thanksgiving weekend bonfire is a fun, low-cost, and kid-friendly way to hang with friends and family. Check your local government website for locations, guidelines, and restrictions on starting a fire. Don’t forget the hot chocolate and marshmallows!

Go Swimming

a baby swimming in a pool

Suit up your baby and head to your local pool for some splash time. Psst: This one is way more fun with family, a friend, or a group!