Have you been spending more time in the pool than out? We have! But once a few thunderstorm days sideline you and the kids, you’ll be looking for some new things to do. Remember that there are SO many activities out there to entertain the kids that don’t cost much, if anything. Check out your local newspaper and library for information about free concerts, puppet shows, and special events. Here is a recap of the nationwide programs I’ve shared in the past month or two:
- Free and Low-cost Kid Movies: Theaters all over the country are offering free or $1.00 movies, usually on weekdays around 10:00am. Look for your local theater chain in my big list of participating theaters, and see what’s on the schedule.
- Summer Reading Programs: We’ve already completed our local library’s program, which set us up with a booklet of coupons for free ice cream, free admission to area waterparks, and more. Next we’ll tackle Barnes & Noble’s and Borders’ programs, which rewards the kids with a new book when completed. If you have a Half-Price Books near you, kids can get a new book each week!
- Home Depot and Lowe’s Kids Workshops: Saturday mornings, kids can create with wood and tools at your local Home Depot and Lowe’s in these great FREE programs. Projects are best for kids ages 5-12, and you need to register online for Lowe’s. I post reminders for these the Tuesday before each workshop.
- Free Craft Projects: Every Saturday from 11:00-3:00, Lakeshore Learning Stores offers FREE craft projects for ages 3 and up. Their summer-themed projects look like a lot of fun! Michael’s Arts & Crafts offers FREE projects on selected Saturdays. Check your local store’s “Events” page for details.
- Free Bowling: The Kids Bowl Free Program lets you register each child for 2 FREE games per day, all summer, and you can bowl along with your kids for a reduced price.
- Free Museum Admission: Several programs are offering FREE museum admission to your favorite aquariums, children’s museums, science museum’s and historical venues. Bank of America’s Museums on Us program gives cardholders (but not the kids) FREE admission, and Target Arts & Wonder offers FREE or $1 admission to museums on certain days of the month. The Blue Star Program gives military families FREE admission all summer to great museums nationwide.
- The Great Outdoors: Plan a family trip to a historical site for FREE the weekend of August 14-15th, and you can walk, hike, picnic, and explore with the whole family. Check the U.S. National Park Service’s list of over 100 parks offering free admission (and the other 392 who are FREE every day). REI offers a Family Adventure Program; you can download and print a kids’ journal, then check out their suggestions for hiking and biking trails. Once completed, kids return the journal for a certificate of completion.
- Free Busch Gardens Tickets: VA and FL residents can register their children 5 and under for a Preschool Pass for unlimited FREE admission (through summer for VA, December for FL). Parents can buy a specially-priced pass to accompany the kids.
By packing your own lunches, snacks, and drinks, you can keep outings from busting your budget. Enjoy these long summer days with your kids, while you can!