Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2012 Free (or almost) Summer Programs for Kids



It's summer! Time to find ways to keep the kids entertained.  Keeping them occupied though doesn't have to be expensive. There are a number of free and cheap programs and activities offered both locally and nationwide to keep the boredom blues away.

Join the Half-Price Books Feed Your Brain summer reading program. Children who read or young children who are read to for at least 15 minutes a day through the month of June and July will receive a $5 Back-to-School Bucks summer reading reward! Top readers in each age group will receive a $20 HPB gift card. The program kicks off on Sunday, June 3, 2012.

Kids enjoy PG movies for just $1.00 during the Regal Cinemas Summer Movie Express program. G and PG movies will be shown on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00 am.  Check the link to locate a participating theater near you.

Kids can see 10 shows for $5.00 during the Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse program. All 10 movies can be purchased in advance for $5.00, or purchased separately at the box office for $1.00 per show. Movies vary by location but are all rated G or PG.

Make free or cheap crafts during Michael's Passport to Imagination program.  Beginning in June kids can make crafts at Michael's inspired from around the world. A calendar of specific crafts and dates is available at the website and in-store.

Clearview Cinema's Summer Kids Club starts July 11, 2012 and runs for 8 weeks. There is no admission charge to see these movies! Movies and schedule vary by location.

Kids earn a free book when they read 8 through the Barnes and Noble Imagination's Destination Summer Reading Program. Kids must complete a reading journal to earn their free book.  The program runs May 22, 2012 - September 4, 2012.


National Amusements Book Worm Wednesdays offers kids free admission to their summer movie series when the child brings in a completed (simple) book report. Movies run every Wednesday at 10:00 am from July 1 - August 8, 2012.

AMF offers bowling for free for children under 18 during the AMF Summer Unplugged program. Read more about this program in a previous post.

Kids Bowl Free offers a nationwide program for children to bowl free all summer long. Children are eligible to register for 2 free games a day, all summer long, courtesy of the participating bowling centers.

Free Kids Workshops from Home Depot offer kids the opportunity to learn do-it-yourself skills and tool safety while completing a fun, free take home project. Workshops are held on Saturdays. Visit Home Depot for specific times and locations.

Kids can make free wooden projects during Lowes Build and Grow Workshops held every Saturday at 10:00 am. Kids also receive free goggles, apron, patch and certificate upon completion.

Target sponsors free admissions to Children's Museums, Theaters and Art Museums year round.  Visit Target to find out about events near you.

Many of the following locations offer additional free or cheap activities.  Visit local websites to find more information about the following programs in your area.
  • Libraries offer free summer reading programs and activities
  • Parks and Recreation often offer free or low cost swimming lessons, sports clinics and other outdoor activities
  • Museums often offer free visit days
  • Vacation Bible Camps are offered free at local churches
Enjoy your summer!

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