I remember being a kid and looking forward to the last day of school. I grew up in sunny Northern California so my summers were filled roaming the neighborhood with the kids and swimming in the pool. I think I came home at meals and when the sun went down and then played at that pace until school started again in the fall.
Now we live in Washington state where my kids never know if they are going to wake up to a summer rain or sunny day and it takes a little more attention to keep them occupied since they are the only kids in our neighborhood.
Summers can be long.
So if you're anything like us and you need some creative but cheap ideas to keep the kids productive and occupied during the summer than here's a list of frugal things to do with your kids.
Summer Reading Programs
Our local library taps into the national summer reading programs and I bet yours does too. Kids are rewarded all summer for reading books. They can earn prizes and attend fun events all summer by enrolling. Check your local library for info. My kids have participated for several years now and even the teens look forward to it.
Barnes and Noble has a summer reading program too. Kids can earn a free book by reading eight books and keeping a summer reading journal. When you return it to the store your child receives a coupon for a free NEW book.
The Scholastic Summer Challenge offers kids points for time spent reading. Kids earn prizes and can even have a chance to set a world record for reading.
Do your kids like to bowl? Go visit Kids Bowl Free to find out all the details. Kids can get two free games of bowling EVERY DAY this summer at participating locations.
And I've posted HERE about how your kids can watch free movies at the participating theatres during the summer.
Here's an amazing free idea. Apple computers is hosting FREE workshops for kids. "Your kids can learn to make a movie, create a photo slide show, write and record a song, put on a show for everyone, and have a blast doing it all. At Apple Camp, kids learn how to do cool stuff on a Mac and discover their hidden talents along the way. Apple Camp occurs at selected Apple Retail Store, and each free workshop lasts three hours."
Our nearby zoo offers a special all year but you can really take advantage of it during the summer. It's called $2 Tuesday and for 2 bucks a head every second Tuesday of the month, we can all spend a day at the zoo. What a savings! It normally costs us all $40-50 dollars to get in. Just make sure to pack your own lunch and bring water bottles. Check your local zoo for similar deals.
Is eating out a recreation for your family? Here's a list of over 50 restaurants where kids eat free. Make sure to call before you go to verify the information but we've eaten at Applebees many times and only had to pay for Chris and I.
So there you have it. I hope these ideas get your summer off to a fun but FRUGAL start. Let me know if you have any other cheap summer tips. I'd love to include them.
Go see WFMW for more great summer ideas.