Free or Cheap Summer Activities for Kids

Maddie’s last day of school was yesterday and I’ve been working on putting together some fun things for us to do this summer. We’re planning to join the pool and since the kids are both at a good age to actually play in the pool the plan is to go a few days a week. Maddie is going to continue with her ballet class and will go to a week long Vacation Bible School at church. She’s also going to be attending a cheerleading camp with her Aunt Jen and she’s psyched about that. I imagine we’ll still have play group once a week and then scattered play dates with friends, too. But really, those things don’t take up our whole summer so we’ll be needing other things to do as well so we all don’t go stir crazy at home.

There are many free or super cheap things to do with your kiddos this summer. I’ve learned about a few good ones this week and I’m sure I’m not the only one who was in the dark about them so I’m sharing them with you!

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program
According to their website your child reads 8 books (or you read them to your child) and log them in the Reading Journal. You then bring your completed Reading Journal to any Barnes & Noble store and you get to choose a FREE BOOK on the Reading Journal List at the store. You know I like free and free quality books are even better!

*I’m pretty sure there is a reading program at our local library as well but I didn’t find much information about it online. I’ll pas it along when I figure it out.

FREE Bowling at AMF for Kids
Kids 15 and under can bowl free all summer. All you have to do is register and you will get a weekly voucher for two free games per child per day May 14 – Sept. 3, 2012. The application only allowed for 6 kids, I’m not sure what they do if you have more than 6. In our town Keglers is participating so I’m signing up. Shoe rentals are not included so I’m hoping they still let kids wear just socks. They also have a Summer Pass for $29.95 where you can bowl with your kids all summer as well. It covers you and up to 3 other people, ages 16 and up. I don’t think we’ve ever gone bowling for less than $30 so this is a pretty great deal for all summer!

Carmike Cinemas 2012 Summer Kids Series
Every Thursday this summer at 10:00 am Carmike Cinemas will offer a children’s film for $2 (which includes a drink, popcorn and admission).

Our local (Charlottesville Carmike 6) theater is participating in the June 21 start date and this is the lineup:
June 21: Puss in Boots
June 28: Chicken Run
July 5: Over the Hedge
July 12: Kung Fu Panda
July 19: Shark Tale
July 26: How to Train Your Dragon
August 2: Madagascar 2
August 9: Bee Movie
August 16: Monsters vs. Aliens
August 23: Megamind

Regal Cinemas Summer Movie Express

Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10:00 am Regal Cinemas will be offering selected G or PG movies for $1. Our local (Charlottesville Seminole Square Cinema 4) is participating in this program.

Here is the lineup:
June 12: Journey 2
June 13: Kit Kittredge: American Girl
June 19: Dolphin Tale
June 20: Happy Feet Two
June 26: Legend of the Guardians
June 27: Yogi Bear
July 3: Cats & Dogs: Revenge
July 4: Hugo
July 10: Adventures of Tin Tin
July 11: Puss in Boots
July 17: Kung Fu Panda 2
July 18: Rango
July 24: Rio
July 25: Spy Kids: All the Time
July 31: Chimpanzee
August 1: Hoodwinked Too
August 7: Arthur Christmas
August 8: Smurfs

I definitely plan to take Maddie to a few movies over the summer since this is SUCH a good deal and she’s never seen any of those movies. I’ll leave Ellorie with a sitter since she probably won’t sit still through a movie and will make us all crazy πŸ˜‰

I’m sure there is much more to do for free or close to free in our town over the summer. If you know of something fun and cheap please leave it in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it and pass the word along!

Happy Saturday!


6 thoughts on “Free or Cheap Summer Activities for Kids”

  1. Hi!! So I found your blog through the VAis4bloggers facebook page πŸ™‚ haha and I had three questions!!
    1. Do you want to be a Virginia Blogger?? I could add you to the blog roll
    2. Would you be interested in coming to the “Mock-tail” blogger meet up party on Sunday?
    3. If you DO decide you’d like to be a Virginia Blogger… this would be a fantastic guest post for our Thursday features!!!! πŸ™‚

    So happy to “meet” you and hopefully we can meet up in person!!

    1. Yes! That would be fun! Thank you for thinking of me! There is a possibility that I may be in Richmond this weekend as a friend is having a baby any day now so I’m a maybe for the mocktails. And I would love to do a guest post, is there a particular theme or just anything? Email me at and let me know what I should do. Thanks!!!

  2. Lauren & I used to go to those cheap movies in the summer. We had SO MUCH fun doing that. It was one of the first things that Mom let us do just by ourselves (we were several years older than Maddie, of course). She’ll have good memories of that. πŸ™‚ Happy Summer!!! πŸ™‚

  3. It all sounds like a lot of fun, but I am especially pleased that she will be going to Vacation Bible School πŸ™‚

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