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. Lots of great ideas! I have yet to make it to Home Depot and I know my kids would LOVE it!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. The free admission at museums is one the reasons I love being a Bank of American credit card holder.

  5. These are some great summer activities! What a great list!! Thanks!

  6. We have always done the free bowling and Regal Cinema we have one down the street.

  7. Sarah L says:

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

  8. Great list. I needed this post!

  9. Great ideas! I can’t believe that summer is already half way over.

  10. My Grandma used to take me on little scavenger hunts and I absolutely loved it.

  11. These are great ideas! I need to look into some of them & see if they have them by me.

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. We are doing the bowling and movies. I need to check out the home depot workshops. They haven’t done those in a long time.

  15. i want to try geocaching.

  16. Great tips. I should take my daughter to one of the HD workshops.

  17. These are great ideas! I need to look into that Regal Cinemas offer since I know we have a few theaters near us.

  18. Free fun is always good!

  19. LOVE all of these ideas, thanks for sharing your ideas.

  20. Thanks for the tip about the bank of america debit card to get discounts!!

  21. I concur on the bowling. My little guy can’t get enough.

  22. All of these are great ideas!

  23. My son did a scavenger hunt with his camp – he loved it!!

  24. These are great suggestions. Thanks!

  25. We have participated in some of these already, and we have plans for the others!

    Also, Bass Pro Shops has a summer program, too!

  26. These are fun ideas!

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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. :)

  32. 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

  33. 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!

  34. 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.

  35. 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

  36. 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!

    • 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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