School's out for the summer! With day camps easily costing several hundred dollars per week (per child!), they are a sure way to drain your bank account quick. If you don't want your kids spending the entire summer in front of the television or just need something to do to stop the incessant cries of "I'm bored," you'll love our guide for affordable summertime activities.
Check out Volunteer Match, a nonprofit that matches volunteers with different opportunities to make a difference in the world. When searching for causes in your city, you can filter by "kids" so that only child-friendly positions appear.
Summer Reading Programs
Your local library is always a good bet for free activities and reading programs for kids, but it's not the only option. Barnes & Noble will give your child a free book for completing a Summer Reading Journal. Chuck E. Cheese also offers a reading rewards program, providing 10 free tokens for filling out reading calendar.
If you have a son or daughter interested in STEM, check out these free camps by Apple and Microsoft! The Apple camp meets three days a week for 1.5 hours at a time. Your kid can choose from options like Coding with Sphero Robots, Beat Making and Songwriting with GarageBand, and more. Microsoft's camps range from two to four days, with each session lasting two hours. They can choose robotics coding, 3D movie making, among other camp programs.
Go camping in your backyard.
Set up a tent in your backyard and spend the night telling ghost stories, star gazing, and eating s'mores. Choose a night when the weather is clear and it's not too hot. Your kids will love it!
Go to the movies.
Some move theater chains are offering cheap summer movies for kids on certain days of the week. For example, Regal is offering $1 movies one Tuesdays and Wednesdays all summer!
Check out Target community events.
Target is offering free and low-cost events for kids in cities across the country. For example, in Boston they have a Target $1 Friday Night at the Boston Children's Museum.
Go bowling or skating.
Kids love bowling, and when you register with Kids Bowl Free, your child will receive two free games of bowling every day of the summer! This is great program for kids that gives them some physical activity out of the sun and heat. Likewise, Kids Skate Free is a program that offers kids free skating sessions at rinks across the country. It's a great way for them to burn off some energy!
Michaels Craft Stores are offering Camp Creativity with new crafts each day. Each 1-hour session costs between $2 and $5 and includes all supplies needed. At Home Depot, free kids' workshops are both educational and fun. They can enjoy activities such as building a fishing game or a set of bookworm bookends, and they get to take their projects home with them.