When school is out, and long days together with your kids can seem endless, finding free and low cost activities for your children this summer is the answer for the cash strapped parent.

Free Movies/Cheap Movies are a Great Free and Low Cost Summer Activity for Kids

Regal Entertainment Theaters have been showing G and PG rated movies for free on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This is a nine-week program is done on a first come, first serve basis. The new movie list with dates and times are on each company's website.

Find Free and Low Cost Activities for Your Kids This SummerCredit: www.pixabay.com

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Cinemark Theaters and AMC do not offer free movies, but $1.00 movies. Like Regal, these are G and PG rated, and tend to fill up quickly, so get there early. 

You may also want to do a Google search of movie theaters near you to see if any other theaters have similar kinds of summer programs 

Bowling is A Free Summer Activity for Kids

Kids Bowl Free in the SummerCredit: www.pixabay.comPhoto from Pixabay



At the Kids Bowl Free website, you can see if any bowling centers in your area participate. Kids get to bowl two free games per day all summer. They also have a deal for adults to buy a family pass that permits them to bowl with their children all summer for one low price. Registration for summer 2010 opens in March.

Your Local Library is Full of Free Acitivites for Kids This Summer

Libraries really rev up their offerings during the summer. From toddlers to teens, your local library has a range of story times, book clubs, summer reading programs, crafts, "how-to" classes, and special shows all summer long, and best of all, they are all free! Check on-line for schedules and sign up dates. Be sure to look at what other local branches are offering, as you are able to attend those, too!

Books, DVDs and audio books are all available to read and listen to at a more leisurely pace during the summer. It's a great way to spend a hot summer afternoon.

Craft Stores and Home Improvement Stores Offer Free and Low Cost Activities for Kids 

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Stores such as AC Moore and Michaels offer free and low costcraft classes. Stores have schedules on-line and in-store. Whole Foods, the natural food grocery chain, also offers craft classes on occasion.

Home Depot and Lowes have free "Build it Yourself" classes for children on the weekends. Check each store's websites for dates and times.

Lakeshore Learning also has free craft classes each Saturday from 11:00-3:00 until the end of July.

Barnes and Noble and Pottery Barn Kids all offer free story times for young children. Check on-line for specific dates and times. Bookstores also have book clubs for older children during the summer.

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McDonald's Playland is a Free or Low Cost Summer Activity

If you live near a McDonald's with an indoor playground, this is a cool treat for your children on hot or rainy afternoons. Pack some water for your kids and buy yourself a cup of coffee at McDonalds when you get there. Let the kids run around, climb and have fun! You can buy them a dollar ice cream when they are done playing if you'd like. The best time to go are mid-afternoon, when younger kids are at home napping. Make plans with a friend to bring her kids and make it a playdate with no mess to clean up!

Target Free Museum

Target is sponsoring free and reduced cost museum days, musical performances, family activities and tours venues throughout the country. Go to Target's website and click on the community outreach section to find out what is happening in your area.

Every community has its own parks and playgrounds. Go online to any local town's website and find the "Parks and Recreations" section. Most townships have detailed maps of where parks are located and the facilities they offer. Go early in the morning, pack snacks and drinks or even a light lunch, and enjoy the outdoors before it gets too hot. Swings and slides are more fun when you go to a different venue. Ask friends to join you so adults and children have company.

Vacation Bible School

Over the summer, churches of various denominations offer Vacation Bible Schools for no cost or minimal cost. Many simply ask for a donation of a snack or craft item. I know several people who send their children to different camps over the summer to take advantage of these programs.

Volunteering is a Free Summer Activity 

Summer is a terrific time to teach your children the value of giving to others. Many places are in need of volunteers. Some places to try are:your house of worship, a senior citizen center, a Meals on Wheels program, a shelter or a food bank. Your local newspaper also has volunteer opportunities listed.

Pick Your Own Fruit

Summer is the time to pick your own fruit. Go to a local farm, get on the tractor, and select your own fresh fruit. Kids love to do this, and it teaches them that food grows from the ground or from a tree, not from a supermarket shelf! Don't forget to bring a camera! Buy what you have picked and eat, cook, and freeze your bounty together.

Recycling Fun

Free and Cheap Summer Fun for KidsCredit: www.amazon.com

Save all the items you would normally recycle and use them for art projects. There are many ideas that you can do both indoors and outdoors.

Fountain Toss

Go to the bank and get a roll of pennies for each of your children. At your local mall, have them toss the pennies into the fountain. This takes time and costs you very little money.

There are plenty of free and low cost activities for your children this summer. Get out of the house and have some fun!