Free Summer Activity Programs for Kids

Finding fun activities for your kids to do over the summer can be tough to find. There are plenty of great options out there to keep kids engaged and active, and are completely FREE!

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May 31, 2023


4 Min Read



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It can be tough to find fun activities that will occupy the kids over the summer, especially when you are trying to find activities to do on a budget. Luckily, there are plenty of programs that you can find both nationally and locally that help your kids have a bunch of fun and won't cost you a dime.

Here, we explore some of your options for free summer fun for kids of all ages!

Kids Bowl Free

Kids holding bowling balls

Kids Bowl Free has been a free summer activity staple for many years. Kids get 2 FREE games of bowling at participating bowling centers all summer long. You can check out the Kids Bowl Free Website to find participating bowling centers in your area.

Kids Bowl Free also offers a Family Pass as well. This isn't free, but for a one time purchase parents are also able to get 2 free games a day with their kids at participating centers. It is a great cheap way to enjoy some family fun this summer.

Sign Up for Kids Bowl Free now!

Kids Skate Free

Kids Skate Free is another free national summer program. When you sign up for this program, you get 2 free kids passes a week to skate at participating rinks in the program. If your kids love to skate, this is a great opportunity to get them out of the house and enjoy some time together.

Virtual Aquarium Trip

People Standing in front of aquarium display with fish and stingray

Avoid the massive crowds and overpriced tickets and take your kids on a virtual aquarium trip this summer. There are many aquariums across the US and even internationally that offer a look inside some of their aquarium exhibits.

If you look at aquarium cams from multiple aquariums, then you can piece together an entire aquarium trip from the comfort of your own home and without any cost to you!

Here are some aquariums with some popular cams set up:

Virtual Story Time

The New York Public Library offers many virtual story time events throughout the year and especially over the summer. These programs are great for toddlers and up to smaller school age children. Take advantage of these live streams and give your children some fun story time adventures to take part in this summer.

Take a look at their upcoming story time events!

Lowe's/Home Depot Workshops

Both Lowe's and Home Depot offer monthly workshops for kids. One Saturday every month, you can sign up for a in-store workshop. When you go, you get to create a new project with a DIY kit that they provide for you. These kits include things like rolling trucks, card holders, and even small putting greens!

You can take a look at upcoming workshops for both Lowe's and Home Depot!

Summer Reading Programs

Little girl reading a book

Summer reading doesn't just have to be something that schools make kids do to keep them busy over the summer. You can make reading fun be enrolling your kids in a summer reading program.

There are many public libraries that offer summer programs, and you should check yours out to see what they offer. You can also look into the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program.

In this program, kids in grades 1-6 can read 8 books over the summer and write a little journal entry about why they liked each one. If you take the journal back to Barnes & Noble before the end of the summer, then your kids can get a free book!

Definitely a great incentive to take part in a summer reading program!

Local Library Programs

Speaking of reading, you should always check out your local library for any summer programs and events that they might be running. The library is such an invaluable resource to parenting on a budget and you should take advantage of any programs they offer whenever you can!

Anything that the library offers is normally completely free of charge. And they have programs that run for kids of all ages. There are usually even programs that are being run for adults. So, you might find something there for yourself as well!

Local Summer Camps

Another thing to look into locally is local summer camps in your area. Many local governments run a summer camp that takes place at local parks and includes field trips to other locations in your area.

Check your local parks and recreation department to see if they are running any summer camps for the year to get your kids out of the house and spending time with other kids their age!

Vacation Bible School

Finally, search around local churches and see which ones offer a vacation bible school. This is a very popular summer program that takes place at churches around the country. Many of these are free (or ask for a small amount to pay for snacks). But it is a great option to get the kids to have a fun time for a few weeks.

Vacation Bible Schools come in all different shapes and sizes depending on the church that they are at. Look around and see what options you have in your area to see what best suits your children and your schedule.

Final Thoughts

Entertaining the kids this summer doesn't have to be something that costs a lot of money. There are plenty of opportunities around you to get the kids out of the house or keep them entertained at no cost to you. You just have to look around and find the right options for you!

Are there any summer programs that you have your kids in? Are there some that we missed that you like? Let us know in the comments below! We always love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

As always, we hope that you found this helpful on your journey of being a Paycheck 2 Paycheck Parent!

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Written by Aaron & Mysti Keglovits a husband and wife team that have mastered the art of raising a family while living paycheck to paycheck.

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