Summer is finally here, which is great for family time, but not always great for working at home. Make this summer memorable and keep your kids entertained with these free or inexpensive activities near you. I find that if I schedule fun things to do once or twice per week, the kids are a little less stir-crazy on the days I need to get work done at home.
If you have a MyGym near you, sign up for their newsletter. They allow you to try out a class for free and most locations regularly have open houses or discounted events.
KidsSkateFree.com is a site that will connect you to local skating rinks that offer free skating passes. Note that you will still have to pay for skates.
Toys R Us has free events in-store that offer crafts, activities, karaoke and more. The next event is June 25th, and the store will be giving away free Zuru Bunch-O-Balloons 3 packs or large inflatable beach balls. There will also be a hula hoop contest and R/C race car contest.
Bass Pro Shops has free workshops every Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, as well as a free family game area.
Michaels offers Camp Creativity which costs $5 per session or $12 for three sessions. Class sizes are smaller, and kids will create two crafts per session. My daughter is excited to do a session during Frozen week and two sessions during princess week. They also offer a week for Finding Dory and Lion Guard. Classes go from June 12th to July 28th.
Hobby Lobby and Joann’s also offer craft classes for kids, but they are not as affordable as Michael’s. Joann’s classes are geared towards older kids, however, while Michael’s Camp Creativity is better for kids eight and under. Here is a list of kid craft classes offered by Joann’s; many times they offer sales on these.
American Girl stores offer free crafts every first Wednesday of the month. While their dolls are a bit pricey, a lot of store events are affordable. For example, the Los Angeles retail store is having a beach cupcake decorating party for only $10. The session will include games, cupcake decorating, and a craft.
Lakeshore Learning offers free crafts every Saturday morning for ages three and up. These crafts are definitely for ages three to six, and older children might find them too simple.
Lego Stores offer free mini builds each month. You must register by the 15th of the prior month to ensure you save your spot.
Home Depot offers a free monthly project for kids. Be sure to sign up early to secure your spot.
Barnes and Noble has a summer book club that allows kids to read eight books to earn a free book. Barnes and Noble also offers weekly toddler story time and weekend book events for kids.
Slyvan Learning Center’s Book Adventure program helps motivate kids all year long to read. Kids just need to log in to the free reading site, read a qualifying book and take a quiz on it. They will then be able to earn prizes.
Pottery Barn Kids offers a weekly story time every Tuesday at 11 a.m.
KidsBowlFree.com will connect you to local bowling alleys that offer two free bowling games.
Brunswick Zone offers a kid’s summer pass for $25.99. This allows kids to bowl up to three games per day during the summer. On Tuesday nights games and shoe rentals are $2.22, and on Wednesday nights after 9 p.m., unlimited bowling is $7 and shoe rentals are $1.
Apple offers free Apple Camp for ages 8 through 12. The class is 90 minutes each day, for three days and goes into depth about a subject, such as movie creation with iMovie.
Microsoft stores offer free YouthSpark classes for kids of all ages. Classes include coding games and apps, creating digital art, and tutorials on programs they use every day for school, like Office 365.
Williams Sonoma offers junior chef courses every month. The class prices range from affordable to pricey. Check out your local store to see if the event is worth it.
Sur La Table also offers a 5-day cooking course for kids and teens. The price is $250 for the five days and is a total of 10 hours long.
Cinemark’s Summer Movie Club has ten weeks of movies for $1 each, or you can buy 10 passes for $5.
Regal offers $1 family friendly movies Tuesday and Wednesday all summer long.
Chick fil A is one of my favorite restaurants because it is the only one in our town that has a play place. Cow Appreciation Day is July 11, 2017, so start drawing cow spots on an old white tee shirt.
Enjoy half-priced shakes after 8 p.m. at Sonic.
Tours and Museums
FactoryToursUSA.com has a huge list of companies that give free or inexpensive tours. For example, in California, you can tour the Angel’s stadium for as little as $3 per adult and $2 per child, and a tour of the Dodger’s stadium costs $15 per adult and $10 per child. Check your state for local offerings and prices.
Check with your local library to see if they offer free museum passes for the summer. My library, along with hundreds of others allow members to sign up for local passes at the beginning of each month.
Bank of America cardholders can get into museums for free with an eligible debit or credit card. The free ticket is only for the cardholder, so be sure that everyone has an account if you want to have a complete free trip. Museums vary by area, but there are several kids museums and aquariums offered.
Remember to look at your local parks, libraries, and city’s websites for more free kid events near you. Many local playhouses also offer affordable kid’s plays during the summer too.