7 Ways to have Free Fun with Kids this Summer

7 Ways to have Free Fun with Kids this Summer - About A Mom

Now that we’re well into the swing of summer vacation, the chorus of children crying “But Mom, I’m BORED” is deafening.  But the kids are home every day, and a daily outing  can be hard on your summer budget.   Here is a list of activities and places to visit to have free fun with kids this summer.

Do you have a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch Debit or Credit Card? Show it, plus your ID, to get FREE admission at a HUGE selection of museums on the first full weekend of every month. You can see a list of participating museums here.

AMF bowling offers FREE bowling for kids all summer. Kids can bowl 2 games a day for free every day from now until September 2, 2013.  Shoe rental is not included, but usually only costs a couple of dollars.

At Regal Cinemas every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 am, kids’ movies (rated G or PG) will be playing every week in July and August. This program used to be completely free, now it costs $1.00 per ticket.

Have a favorite National Park nearby? August 25 you can get your entrance fee waived into ANY National Park in commemoration of the birthday of National Parks. In addition, 268 of the 401 National Parks offer free admission every day! Go to this National Park Map to see if there is a park near you that offers free admission.

Have a hiking scavenger hunt. Plan a hike — even if it’s just in your backyard.  Take a piece of cardstock, and write down items or wildlife for children to find, like birds, worms, clover, or a maple tree. For pre-readers, you could use pictures drawn or cut out and pasted on a sheet of paper instead. Hand out a prize – like a homemade popsicle — for finding all of the objects.

On the first Saturday of every month, Home Depot offers a free kids’ building workshop geared for kids ages 5-12. The workshop begins at 9 am and kids get to keep their craft AND a special Home Depot apron.

Barnes & Noble has some great free reading and activity programs for kids ages 1-18! Availability varies by region, but you can find the events at your local store here. My local store offers free face painting Fridays, where kids can have their faces painted and do a free coloring craft, as well as a teen creative writing workshop.

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  1. says

    These are great ideas and we’re already doing many of them. I’m so glad to see so many companies working to provide summer entertainment that is low cost or free!

  2. says

    I am lucky my son is in camp now, but then we have 3 weeks to fill before school starts, this post is a great help for that time!

  3. Sarah L says

    Never forget all the great things at your local library. Get books, DVDs. Most have summer reading programs.

  4. says

    Great ideas. A few of my mommy groups have been great about sharing these too. I just wish there were more things for kids under 5. They’re the ones with all the energy and the exhausted parents!

  5. says

    These are some great ideas. I want to check to see what types of local hiking we have. We are right by the mountains, so I’m sure there is a lot.

  6. Tammy S says

    Great ideas. Our local Park & Rec center also do moves in the park every few weeks. So we pack a picnic basket with snacks and watch a movie in the park. It reminds me of going to the drive-in as a kid.

  7. ANN*H says

    Summer kids are always bored and dont have a thing to do. My answer to them is the yard need mowed , take out the trash etc. and they soon find something to do LOL Seriously tho good ideas you have for fun for them. I can afford it there can be more to do. thanks

  8. Christina Kelbel says

    Great ideas. Free is definitely exactly what we need, we are very poor. My son is autistic so always looking for suggestions of things to do with him to keep him stimulated and occupied.

  9. Jessica Fortner says

    I had no idea that Regal Cinemas has that program. Right on!! I’ll definitely have to take my kiddos this next Summer break.

  10. Kim Goodwin says

    This is a great post! It is hard to find things to do with my son that don’t cost a lot. This will help us out next summer and keep us busy. :)

  11. says

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I really needed something for the summer time..I hear I’m bored all the time but however no one seems to like my suggestions on cleaning house! lol

  12. Amy Diaz says

    there are so many good ideas here! I know we are just in January, but June will be here before you know it. I am already trying to plan activities for when the kids get out of school for the summer. The “mom I’m bored” phrase is uttered many times, no matter how many toys they have to play with. Thank you for the great ideas!

  13. Lisa Konieczke says

    We do the Kids Bowl Free program every Summer. It’s something I highly recommend! You can get a Family pass also for $25 for 4 adults. All we have to do is pay for shoe rental. It’s a cheap and fun activity for the whole Family.

  14. tamra gibson says

    I so wish I had these ideas long ago but I have passed these onto my daughter. Thank you so much for all the info

  15. Kay Govocek says

    Pack a lunch and go on a picnic. Visit local farmer’s markets and let the kids pick out veggies for dinner or fruit for a pie. Check with your local cooperative extension office to see about local farms that allow tours/visits. Check with your local zoo, most offer yearly family passes – it costs a bit up front, but then you can go as often as you like (state zoos are usually much cheaper than city zoos). If you are a military family -take advantage of the Blue Start Museums in your area. Outtings dont have to have a purpose – just go for a walk or visit a playground!

    • Angela says

      These are such great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing them, Kay. We have done the zoo pass before, and you are right it’s a great value.

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