Some of us Mom’s have a love/hate relationship with Summer Break. We love the first week, no rushing out the door, no packing lunches, no homework stress, the list goes on and on. Then a few weeks in we begin to feel the stress of having kids around 24/7 or we hear the dreaded “I’m bored.” Finding a balance can be tough, especially for us work-from-home moms. I try to plan 2-3 out of the norm activities/outings each week to keep summer fun and make sure we get in some much needed quality time. The summer doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Consider some of these free or very inexpensive activities:
National or State Parks
Check out your local state parks or national parks, you can usually find some great hiking and scenery.
Find a local trail
If your kids love a good treasure hunt then go Geocaching. All you need is a GPS enabled device such as your smart phone and you can play a real-world treasure hunting outdoor game called Geocaching. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using their smart phones and then share their experiences online
Local Museums can offer educational opportunities and usually have special deals during the summer.
Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program
Have your kids (grades 1st-6th) read books and answer the questions in the Summer Reading Triathlon Reading Journal. Bring the completed journal to any Barnes & Noble bookstore between May 17th and September 6th, and your child can choose a FREE book from their selection on the Reading Journal list.
Scholastic Summer Challenge
May 9 – September 9, kids can log their reading minutes to earn virtual prizes.
Is your little reader a LEGO fan? Go ahead and grab this freebie for kids, a free membership to the LEGO Club including (for kids 4-12) a subscription to Lego Club Magazine.
Regal’s Summer Movie Express
Regal’s summer movie program is on Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and runs for nine weeks. Admission is $1, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Will Rogers Institute.
Register your kids for Summer Games at AMF so they can enjoy free bowling. They can bowl three free games every weekday from open till 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays from open till 4 pm. Valid May 23 through September 5.
Kids 12 and under can skate for FREE this summer at participating Kids Skate FREE Rinks. Use the link below to find a location near you and sign your kids up to snag their FREE skating passes. Hours and additional fees (including skate rental fees) vary based on location.
Home Depot Kids Workshops
Home Depot offers FREE workshops for do-it-yourselfers of all ages and experience levels.
Bring the kids to a Lowe’s Build and Grow workshop where they’ll get to tackle all sorts of DIY projects.
Have your kids join the Michael’s Kids Club and let them explore their creativity while you shop. Only $2 per child reserves 30 minutes for your creative kid. Sessions start every half hour from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Lakeshore Learning Crafts
FREE Crafts for Kids for kids ages 3 and up every Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Tech Savvy Kids – Apple
Apple Camp! For your tech savvy kids, have them attend a FREE Apple Camp at a participating Apple Store. At Apple Camp, kids ages 8-12 will have the opportunity to learn to make their own movie including a soundtrack or an interactive book.
Bass Pro Shops Family Summer Camp
Bass Pro Shops host FREE activities and crafts for the family. These FREE camps are every Tuesday and Thursday starting at noon and Saturday and Sunday starting at noon. Your family can enjoy FREE crafts, FREE shooting gallery, FREE casting pond, FREE family workshops, FREE make campfire s’mores, FREE photo, and FREE merit badge workshops. Please note that not all activities are available at all Bass Pro Shops.
Whole Foods Kids Cooking Classes
Do you have a little chef in your family? If so, then check out the Whole Foods Kids Cooking Classes for kids 5-12 years old. At most locations, you have to purchase a membership but it is just $10. Pre-registration is required for all cooking classes.
Volunteer in your Community
Teach ‘em young! Kids can participate as volunteers in your local community. While volunteer activities are inspiring FREE summer activities for kids, the rewards usually tend to be a touching experience.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
If your kids want to have a lemonade stand, encourage them to donate the proceeds to charity such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation which helps children with cancer.
Staycations and nearby Amusement Parks
You can also check out Groupon or Living Social for some affordable staycation hotel options or local amusement parks
For more summer fun, click here for our FREE downloadable summer bucket list