Looking for some FREE activities to fill up all that extra FREE time your kids have over the summer? You’ve come to the right place! Here is your guide to all things fun and free (or really cheap!) for your kids this summer with thanks to Kaley from Cha-Ching on a Shoestring for compiling this list for us. Have a seat, grab a pencil and your calendar and let the planning begin!
Reading Rewards Programs:
- Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Club: Kids in grades 1-6 can receive a free book from Barnes & Noble by reading 8 books over the summer. They will need to fill out a Summer Reading Journal and bring the journal to a B&N location when they are finished. They will then receive a coupon for a free book.
- Borders Double Dog Dare You Reading program: Kids 12 and under can join the Borders Double Dog Dare You Reading program. They will earn a free book when they read 10 books, fill out this form and bring it in to any Borders, Waldenbooks, or Borders express store by August 26, 2010.
- Hebuddy.com Summer Reading Club: HeBuddy.com is offering ‘cool prizes’ to kids who read 10 books this summer. (Younger children can have parents read to them.) After your child is done reading, just fill out the form here and mail it in by October 1, 2010. (It appears that one of the cool prizes is a free t-shirt.)
- Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Program: Children 14 and under can earn a free $3 gift card to Half Price Books each week they read (or are read to) for 15 minutes at least five days. You can easily find books for less than $3 in their clearance section which will result in a free book per child each week! This program runs from June 1 – July 31, 2010. See more details here.
- TD Bank Summer Reading Program: Kids ages 18 years and younger can get $10 added to their new or existing TD Bank Young Savers Account when they read 10 books this summer. Offer valid May 3 – September 30, 2010.
- Pottery Barn Kids Book Club: Pottery Barn Kids holds story time every Tuesday from 11:00-11:30. (Check your local store to confirm the time and date). After attending 5 times, your child will receive a free gift.
Free or Cheap Movie Admission:
- Regal Free Family Film Festival: Beginning in June, select Regal Theaters will offer free family friendly movies starting at 10 am each Tuesday and Wednesday during the festival. Tickets are only available the day of the show and first-come, first-served seating is limited to theatre capacity. Go here to see if there is a participating theater near you.
- National Amusements Bookworm Wednesdays: Kids can get free admission to a select children’s film every Wednesday at 10 a.m. when they present a book report at a participating Showcase Cinemas, Multiplex Cinemas or Cinema de Lux box office. Accompanying parents or guardians and children under six also receive free admission and do not need to submit a book report. Program begins July 7 and ends August 11.
- Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse: Participating Cinemark theaters are offering $1 family-friendly movies on select weekday mornings throughout the summer. You can opt to purchase an advance pass for all ten movies for just $5 making them only $0.50 each! Find a list of participating locations, dates and times here.
- Kids Bowl Free Program: Kids can bowl free this summer! By participating in the “Kids Bowl Free” program, children can bowl two free games per day. Go here for more details and to find a participating location near you.
- Free Bowling at AMF: Your whole family can bowl free by joining the AMF eClub. Receive a coupon for up to 10 free games (one for each member in your party). Coupon expires 30 days from signing up.
- Target Arts + Culture: Target sponsors 2200 free or reduced-price admission to arts and cultural events nationwide at over 120 museums and cultural organizations. Find out if there is anything going on in your area.
- Free Admission to National Parks: The National Park Service will offer free admission at more than 100 National Parks on the weekends of June 5-6 and August 14-15. Go here for more information.
- Lowe’s Free Build and Grow Clinics: Workshops are offered on Saturdays at 10 a.m.
- Home Depot Free Kid’s Workshops: Workshops are designed for children ages 5-12 and are offered on the first Saturday of the month between 9 a.m. and noon at all Home Depot stores.
- Apple Summer Camps: Select Apple Retail stores are holding summer camps where kids can make movies, create photo slideshows, write and record songs, put on a show for everyone, and learn how to do new things on a Mac. Apple Camp occurs at selected Apple Retail Stores, and each free workshop lasts three hours. Recommended for kids ages 8-12. More details here.
- BoA Free Museums: If you have a Bank of America Credit, Debit or ATM card, you can get free admission to over 100 participating museums, zoos and science centers the first weekend of every month.
Kaley is the Wife, Mom, blogger, and free-stuff-finder behind Cha-Ching on a Shoestring where she chronicles her family’s journey of learning to live large on a limited budget and helps others do the same. She and her husband Wes are the proud parents of two active, amazing boys and have lived to celebrate their journey through unemployment.
Swap Savers says
In Massachusetts they have Free Fridays during the summer. The “Free Fun Fridays” program invites Massachusetts residents and tourists to visit for free a designated museum or attraction over ten Fridays this summer.
Melissa @SavingCentswithSense.net says
Harkins Theaters is also offering a Summer Movie Fun program that includes 10 movies for $7. Harkins are located in AZ, CA, CO, OK, and TX. More information here: http://www.harkinstheatres.com/summerMovieFun.aspx
Missy Whitfield says
Thank you for the list. It’s always challenging to keep my 5 kids entertained during the entire summer. Thanks for helping me get my list started! Looks like we’ll be hitting up some free movies, and going to national parks. We do bowling every summer with their report cards. Bowl America gives free games for every A, so we take advantage of that too!
Pheonix theatres offers free G and PG movies throughout the summer, including Curious George, Kitt Kittridge (an American Girl), Charlotte’s Web, and more! Here’s a direct link: http://www.phoenixtheatres.com/summerkids.html
Thanks for this great list! I wanted to add another theater chain that is offering free movies. Great Escapes Cinemas offer free movies every Tuesday and Wednesday at 9:30 am starting June 6th in some areas! Thanks for all your great work on this site!
Thanks! This post inspired me to find more freebies and I came across this promo at Walmart this Saturday. http://instoresnow.walmart.com/event-detail.aspx?txteventid=108
Don’t forget the wonderful (and FREE) events planned at many public libraries!
YES! Our library has an awesome summer reading program for all ages.
Kaley @ Cha-Ching on a Shoestring says
Good question, Jenny. The really fine print at the bottom says, “One free general admission limited to cardholder.”
I guess a better bet to get the whole family in for free would be to check out the Target Arts + Culture link.
Does anyone know if the Bank of America Free Admission Program only applies to the one cardholder…like I i had the card in my name would I still have to pay for my kids etc…If anyone knows the specifics that would be great! Thanks!
What a great post! Thanks for all the ideas.
Thank you for a fantastic list!! The link for the Barnes & Noble journal is for 2009. The correct link is:
@Jay, Thanks! The link has been corrected.