Summer is a time where things seem to slow down ever so slightly. Daylight hours are longer (wahoo!), more time is spent outside (hello Vitamin D!), and life just seems sweeter somehow (maybe it’s all those cute babies in sunhats and rompers?).
Summer helps reminds us that life is precious and to slow down a tad. (Here in the south, the “slow down a tad” could be out of necessity…. that humidity will zap you!)
This is the perfect season to reconnect and spend time with those
crazy amazing people you live with!
Calendars fill up quickly, so I wanted to give you a heads up for a few family-fun activities that you might want to plan for NOW. So bust out you calendar (because let’s face it, YOU are the one who keeps the calendar for your family and knows what’s what! Ha!), and start marking some of these things down NOW so you’ll be ready! (Or PIN this post to save the links for later!)
Free Summer Activities
The great thing about these activities? They are all FREE. (Ok, ok, I’ll come clean….ONE of the activities is $1….) You might have started to notice a pattern about me and the words, “budget-friendly,”….we seem to go together (we’re like “peas and carrots”).
From summer reading programs, to movies, to workshops. this list will get you started for free summer activities to do with the kiddos.
(Note: these are just a FEW of the wonderful activities that are probably available near you. These were just the ones that I knew were available nation-wide AND in my area locally. Also check your public library and local malls for fun “kids clubs” to participate in!)
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble has a summer reading club. Fill out the 2020 journal here, return it and your child gets to select a free book! (Grades 1-6)
Tips For Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program:
- Allow time for selecting your free book (in my store books were not at the register or in a separate area. We had to look at the list and find them on the shelf.
- The journal you download and fill out has a bar-code for the cashier to scan so that the book rings up free. Also note that your journal will be kept by the cashier, so you may want to let your child know ahead of time if they are a hoarder like mine (ahem “sentimental”).
- You can pick whichever free book on the list you would like (as long as it is available on the shelf). This was great news, since my daughter wanted a chapter book and none were selected for her grade level on the free list.
You can find more details by visiting Barnes & Nobles.
Lifeway Summer Reading
Another free reading program is available through Lifeway. [2020 Note: It has not been announced if they will be participating this summer. I will update links when available.]
You can download their journal here. (Each of the 6 “Mission” pages has a Bible verse to learn, a puzzle or coloring page you can do, and a question to answer about the book you read.) Once your journal is completed, you can bring it into the store and receive a free book and a free Bible!
You can find more details on Lifeway’s website.
(There are lots of other companies offering summer reading programs, these were just 2 of the bigger ones for my area.)
Pottery Barn Reading Club
[While not a “Summer” event, Pottery Barn Kids also offers a Reading Club every Tuesdays at 11:00. You will get a little booklet to keep. For every storytime your child attends, they earns one stamp in their booklet. Once they reach 5 stamps they get a “surprise.” This “surprise” is for YOU mama- usually it is a $10 gift card! Moms need a treat too sometimes (wink, wink).]
OK… the former teacher in me is happy that we’ve gotten “reading” checked off for our fun summer planning. Let’s continue with some other fun things!
Home Depot Kid’s Workshops
Have you been to these? They say on the registration that they are for children 5 and up, but at my store I have seen kids WAY younger participating (so, depending on your store, a slightly younger child might be able to participate too!). [Note: These have not been re-opened in my area yet due to COVID-19, but check your current store.]
Workshops Offered Year-Round
These workshops are a lot of fun! They occur year round, not just in the summer months, but I wanted to place them here so you would have the links and be able to mark your calendar (I know with me, if it isn’t written down in advance, the calendar quickly fills up, OR I forget about an event I wanted to go to. #mommybrain)
Tips For Attending a Home Depot Workshop
- Get there in the first hour! We’ve gone at about 10:45 and even though we registered, they had a LOT of walk-ups and ran out of kits by the time we arrived. If you want to make sure you get to participate, get there between 9:00-9:30).
- First time? Your kids will get a fun orange apron to wear. When they’ve finished their project, be sure to have them take it and show the Home Depot coordinator-they will receive a special pin they can place on their apron. My daughter loves collecting these!
- The paint used is regular acrylic craft paint (NOT washable kid paint, so dress accordingly). Also- you will only be given one brush, so if your child is particular about how they want their project painted, you might want to snag a paper towel to wipe off paint in between colors.
- Keep in mind that the activity comes with all pieces already cut and with nail holes, but kids will be using a full-size hammer.
[2020 Schedules are still being waited on.] Several movie theaters are offering free (or super cheap) morning movies on select days during the summer.
Regal Cinemas info here . (Program start times vary based on region.)
Bow Tie Cinemas
Bow Tie Cinemas info here. (FREE Movies offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays, June 20-August 16.)
Helpful Hints for Attending a Movie Event
- These events are EXTREMELY popular! (You can understand why! The cost savings are HUGE!)
- Be sure to get there REALLY early if you want to be sure to get a ticket/seat.
- You may want to call your participating theater to ask for tips. The one time I tried to participate (at the Bow Tie theater near us) it was a tad disappointing. We arrived an hour early (I figured there would be a big line and was surprised that it didn’t look “too bad.”) But several summer camps and daycare groups had sent teachers ahead to get LARGE amounts of tickets. Big buses and vans pulled up and because their teachers were already in line, we suddenly were near the end of a HUGE line and didn’t get a ticket. So, my tip would be to call your theater and ask if they have any helpful advice!
Chuck E. Cheese
While not specifically a summer freebie, did you know that Chuck E. Cheese has printable reward charts and certificates that you can print out. Kids can earn 10 free “play points” to use. What a great incentive for young ones during summer (or anytime!) Just go here to see the options and learn more!
Kids Bowl Free
My family has used this with great success! All you have to do is register on the site and they will tell you where locations near you are participating. With signing up, you get a voucher emailed to you that lasts all month- good for 2 FREE games a DAY! (say what?!) When we signed up, it was only allowing a free pass for grades kindergarten and up (so we had to pay for my preschooler’s game). This was a lot of fun and a great idea for a rainy or super hot day! (Note: you did have to pay for shoe rental.)
Happy Summer Planning
Hopefully these 8 activities get you started with your summer planning (and excited for some family fun!)
What are some other summer activities your family loves that would be good for everyone to know about? Please help all of us mamas out and leave ideas in the comments!