Monday, June 16, 2014

Free Summer Fun!

Every summer to curb boredom, I pack our schedule with a variety of fun activities to keep the kids busy and entertained.  Otherwise we get one of two scenarios: 1. Kids stare at the video games or tv all day - or - 2. "Mom....there is no one around, nothing to do...can we play video games?"  My kids do not seem to have the same scope of imagination that I had as a kid.  I remember inventing this one game where we would throw these large, colorful toy coins all over my lawn and race each other to pick up the most.  Sounds thrilling, right?  Hey, at least it kept us entertained.

Well, instead of throwing things around your yard, here are a bunch of free activities you can take the kids to to keep them happy (and keep you sane!)

Home Depot offers FREE workshops that are great for kids ages 5-12 and they run the first Saturday of every month from 9 am until about noon.  These activities are first come, first serve, so make sure you arrive early to ensure your child gets a kit.  You can also register here   Kids will receive a kit, apron, and pin to show that they participated.  

Lowes also offers their Build and Grow clinics for kids on select Saturday's at 10 am.  You can see their full schedule here.  Classes are typically every other Saturday and are usually focused around a recent DreamWorks movie.  Apron and hammer are provided and the kids receive a badge for participating.   You must pre-register and parents must sign a waiver for their kids to use a hammer. 

Disney Store is hosting daily Summer Play Days from June 3-September 1st.  Each week a new button is given out for free.  Check your local store for times and details.  These fun days are for ages 3 and up.

Pottery Barn Kids is hosting a Summer Reading Challenge.  Kids can read books from their list to earn a free book.  PBK also offers Story time from 11-11:30 on Tuesdays.  Certain days are themed, like the July 1st Hero Day.  Check your local store for more information.

Learning Express offers Story time every Tuesday and Friday at 10 am.  Story time is followed by a fun craft and a snack - all for free!  Check your local store as times may vary.  

Kids Bowl Free This is something we look forward to every summer!  Register your children and they can play 2 free games each day during the summer, shoe rental not included.  

Kids Skate Free This is the same idea as the bowling, preregister your kids and let them have a great time roller skating.  This is for kids ages 12 and under, skate rental is not included, but is not expensive.  

Westfield Malls - If you are lucky to have a Westfield Mall near you, check their events schedule as they offer a host of fun activities for the family.  My local mall sets up an outdoor "theater" with free movies and snacks for purchase.  

Barnes and Noble Kids can earn a free book by logging the 8 books they have read, and returning the list to their local B&N store.  The prize?  A book!  It is the gift that keeps on giving. 

Local Library - check your local library for story times and other events.  Our's has many fun, free activities to participate in and even hosts a reading program with prizes.

Many cities also offer free movies in the park and concerts throughout the summer.  Check your city calendar to see.  Just last Saturday, I took the kids to watch "A Bug's Life" at a local park and halfway through the movie the sprinklers came on!  It definitely made for more adventure!

Check with your local zoo and museums as well and see if they are having any free days.  Places like the Exploratorium in San Francisco offer several free days throughout the year.

I am so thankful that businesses provide events and activities like these to help my boys stay busy, entertained, and learning while they are out of school.

What free or inexpensive activities does your family do during the summer months?

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