As summer vacation gets underway, kids have
big dreams about how they’ll wile away these long days and weeks that stretch
ahead of them. They have visions of lazy days at the pool, hot afternoons
running through the backyard sprinkler, lots of ice cream cones and plenty of
time with friends.
If you’ll be spending those long summer days at work, we’ve already covered five ways to make summer camp more affordable. But if you’re looking for other ideas to keep the kids busy, here are five cheap entertainment ideas for kids this summer.
5 Cheap Entertainment Ideas For Kids
To help them retain the gains they made during
the school year, children should be reading all summer. That’s why libraries
offer summer reading programs for kids—from babies to teenagers. And, often,
these summer programs include free enrichment classes, contests and events for
kids, including storytimes, children’s theater, arts, crafts, science
activities and more. Check in with your local library to find out what’s
your local parks
If you have young kids, it’s likely you’ve
spent a lot of time hanging out in the parks and playgrounds in the community
where you live.
But town and city parks departments offer much
more than swing sets and slides. Some schedule drop-in play inside their
air-conditioned gyms for young children. Others operate pools and spraygrounds
where residents can cool off for free or just a few dollars a visit.
Some parks let you check out special backpacks
with nature or art activities to complete during a visit. Most organize
festivals, free events and outdoor movies for all ages.
Check in with your local town or city hall to
find out what programs are available to you.
advantage of free, cheap activities
All summer, businesses open their doors with
special programs for kids and families. Here’s a list of a few of them:
- Kids can bowl two free games a day through the Kids Bowl Free program.
- Home Depot offers free workshops for kids.
- Michael’s has Creativity Camps for $3 each.
- Microsoft has free summer programs for kids at
- Apple stores offer Apple Camp for kids.
- With the Barnes & Noble summer reading program,
kids earn a free book.
the movie theater
Seeing a movie during the year usually will
set you back $8 or more per person, but not during the summer when theater
chains across the country offer free and cheap summer series for kids and
families. Here’s a list of 2019 summer movie deals at some of the country’s
largest movie chains:
- AMC Theatre has the Summer Movie Camp.
- Regal has the Summer Movie Express.
- Cinemark has the Summer Movie Clubhouse.
- Marcus Theatres has the Kids Dream Summer Film Series.
- Harkins Theatres has Summer Movie Fun.
Locally owned theaters and smaller chains,
Drafthouse Cinemas, also offer free and cheap summer
series for families.
some babysitting swaps
To give you time to run errands and your kids
time with their friends, arrange to swap childcare duties with other parents.
On one day, they’ll send their kids to you. On another day, you’ll send your
kids to them. It’s a win-win for everybody and free. The kids have a blast with
their friends, and you get some much-needed time for yourself to work or take
care of the house—or yourself.
Keeping kids busy all summer may seem like a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be if you take advantage of programs like these. And, don’t forget: It’s OK if they’re bored from time to time. The experts say it’s actually good for them when they think they have nothing to do.
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