Visit our new list of 50 Free or Cheap Summer Activities for Kids.
Today I realized that my kids only have 12 more days left in the school year. In realizing that my children get out of school in mid-May, which is NOT summer, I am finally forced to start thinking about summer activities for kids, but I want to ensure I don’t break the budget, so I’m on the hunt for free or cheap summer activities. In doing my research I have created a list of 40 free or nearly free summer activities for kids (other than the chore chart which you could easily make #41). I hope that you can use this list of activities as well.
1. Kids Bowl Free.com If you sign up for this service, every week this site sends you free bowling passes for your kids to enjoy.
3. Local Library Summer Reading Programs: Our library has programs for kids of all ages. In fact last year one of my kids graduated to the teen programs at my local library, and I’ve never seen a kid more motivated to get his reading on. I think it was the idea of winning a free XBox that really motivated him.
4. Earn a free book from Barnes and Noble.
5. Free Story On-Line Story Time at Barnes and Noble
6. Camp in your own backyard.
8. Use Trail Link to find local trails to go hiking, biking, etc.
9. Check out your local park and recreation organization to find a park you’ve never visited.
10. Go play in the sprinklers.
11. Try Geocaching. Per Geocaching.com, geochaching is a “real-world treasure hunting outdoor game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocashes, using GPS enabled devices “such as your smart phone “and then share their experiences online.”
12. Check out hyper-local bloggers and local websites to find local nature attractions. In Oklahoma temperatures are often wickedly hot (in the 100’s) during the summer. We love to visit a place called Blue Hole, a natural cold water spring, that I discovered on a random search looking for fun things to do in Oklahoma. It only cost us gas money, a picnic meal, and $5 per car.
13. Train for a sport such as running & have a final goal or goal race picked.
Go to Camp or Class
14. Apple Retail Store Camp – Last year my kids learned how to make a movie at camp, and they loved it.
15. Free Family Workshops at Bass Pro Shops
16. Free Lowe’s Build & Grow Kids Clinics
17. Home Depot’s Free Kids Workshops
18. Free Kids Activities at Pottery Barn Kids Stores
19. Google “find a pen pal” and learn to write actual letters with paper and stamps to friends all over the world.
20. Use Local Harvest.org to find local Farmer’s Markets to visit.
21. Go on a Factory/Plant tour: Many local restaurants, factories, etc. offer tours to groups. All you have to do is call around to find them. I personally have had success at donut shops, pizza shops, and the Blue Bell Factory.
22. Teach your kids to cook.
23. Teach your kid a special skill. More and more my kids are needing word processing for school. This summer we’ll be learning how to use my Mac for word processing.
Get Some Culture
24. Free Museum Entry from Bank of America Credit or Debit Card
25. Free or Reduced Entry Fee to the Arts from Target (no longer available)
26. Try new restaurants. Make a listing of all of the places kids in your area can eat for free using Kids Eat For.com or Kids Meal Deals.com and create a fun eating out adventure for the summer.
Save or Make or Give Some Money
27. Have your kids check off items on their “earn extra money” list created by a you.
28. Organize a Summer Camp exchange with other parents. Have each parent take a day to take on the kids in their homes. You get a day off, and your kids get to experience other people’s homes and what they like to do.
29. Use Volunteer Match.org to find volunteer opportunities for you and your kids.
30. Start a small business whether it be washing cars, mowing the lawn, washing the neighbors windows, having a one day garage sale, or starting a lemonade stand.
Go to the Movies
31. Bookworm Wednesdays with National Amusements: Write a book report, get a free movie!
32. Clearview Cinema’s Kids: Free movies starting in July for New York and New Jersey!
33. Summer Kidfest at Cinema World: 7 days a week free movies at 10am for kids.
34. Regal’s Summer Movie Express
35. Marquee Cinemas
36. Cinemark’s Summer Movie Clubhouse
37. Muvico: Free Summer Film Fest
39. Harkins Theaters Summer Movie Fun
40. Classic Cinemas Wednesday Movies
What will you be doing with your kids this summer?
Looking for even more ideas? We’ve got ’em!
- 40 Free (or nearly free) Summer Activities for Kids
- 50 Activities to do with Kids when they are off school
- 14 frugal and fun activities
- 20 things to do on a snow day
- 9 Fun & Frugal Weekend Activities for the Family
- 25 Frugal Summer Activities
- 25 Frugal Fall Activities
- 25 things to do for President’s Day Weekend
- 100 Free Summer Activities from Penny Hoarder
Fife Roofing says
Love it â€“ and I love that they’re all OUTSIDE ideas. Last summer we did an Amazing Race with local families. It was a blast! Fife Roofing
Kelly, this is so excellent! Thank you! Even though summer is almost over, I’m still going to share this. Great ideas for year round too! You’re looking great, BTW. Looks like running agrees with you to me! 😉 Shan
Joe Fornabaio says
very good article.
Debi Pfitzenmaier says
THIS. Is one awesome list!
http://www.cinemark.com/summer-movie-clubhouse-2012 Here’s this year’s info for the Cinemark movies. They’re not at our local theater this year, sadly. We enjoyed it last year.
The cinemark movie says there promotion has ended and will be back Spring 2012? Does anyone have any updated info?
Kelly Kinkaid says
That was a good one. My kids got free ice cream at the end!
Mb Greenwood says
I will be taking my boys to the movies (now they can sit through one), library and really want to try the blue bell tour.