I am so excited for summer and am looking forward to doing activities with my kids. Recently I had a friend ask me about easy, fun, cheap and free activities that she could do with the kids during the summer, so I’ve compiled a list of what you can do with your kids this summer that won’t cost you too much money.
1.) Kid’s Movie Clubs
Cinemark Theaters has the Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse where you can see kid-friendly movies all summer long for $1 or less. If you purchase 10 movies for $5, then it’s just $0.50 each show! Or there is an option to pay $1.00 for each show you attend. And all movies are rated G or PG. To get the tickets, go to the ticket office the day you are seeing your first movie and you can purchase a punch pass for $5.00. Parents and kids all get in for the same price. Head over to Summer Movie Clubhouse to see which Cinemark movie theaters are participating near you.
2.) Kids Bowl Free
Register your children at KidsBowlFree.com to receive two free games of bowling for each of your children daily during the summer. Keep in mind that you do have to pay for the shoe rental. To see which bowling alleys are participating near you, head over here. My girls have loved this activity every summer. My area in Tooele is not doing the kids bowl free program this year, but they do have a $2 Slammin’ Summer Special.
3.) Kids Skate Free
Select skating rinks across the country are offering a Kids Skate Free program this summer. Head over here and pick your state to see if there is a participating skating rink in your area. Most ages that can skate free are 12 and younger. Keep in mind that you will have to pay for skate rentals. Not all states have this program set up, and unfortunately there isn’t a participating skating rink in Utah.
4.) Fun & Frugal Summer Activities for Kids
5.) Free Movies in the Park & Concerts
Check to see if your city holds free movies in the park or free concerts during the summer. Many city websites will have information about activities during the year. Here are some things happening in Utah this summer.
6.) Making Expensive Activities More Affordable
If you want to see the major attractions in Salt Lake City, then purchase a Salt Lake Connect Pass. The Salt Lake Connect Pass is available as a 1-day ($26-$32), 2-day ($40-$48), 3-day ($50-$60), or 365-day ($70-$85) consecutive pass and is activated the first time you use it and remains active for the number of consecutive days purchased. If you watch Groupon, Living Social or KSL Deals, then you might find a better deal and not have to pay full price. The pass allows you to visit as many of the 13 major Salt Lake City attractions as you like while the Connect Pass is active (but you are limited to only one (1) visitation at each participating attraction). Attractions include Red Butte Garden, This Is The Place Heritage Park, Hogle Zoo, Tracy Aviary, Olympic Park, Clark Planetarium, Discovery Gateway, and more.
If you want to save money going to Cowabunga Bay Water Park, then here are a few options:
- Pay for the time you need by purchasing a 4-hour pass for as low as $12.95 (which is just more than $3 per hour). If you have young kids and don’t want to commit to a full day, this is an affordable option. Kids 2 and under are free.
- If you go after 5 p.m., the price is as low as $9.95. The park closes at 7 p.m. most nights so you pay about $5 per hour. But this is an option if you only want to be there a few hours.
- Purchase tickets from a deal site. This past year, Groupon had a Cowabunga season pass for $64.99 instead of the $109.99 price, and KSL Deals had a deal to get 4 all-day passes + pizza and drinks for $59.99 ($15 per person), which was 52% off.
7.) Free Local Attractions & Activities
Check with your city or ask friends and neighbors if there are free local attractions and activities in your area. This could be going to a museum, gallery, parks or monuments. There are a few free historic sites in my area that I haven’t visited yet, and I’m looking forward to going with my family this summer.
If you live around the Salt Lake area, Visit Salt Lake has a list of free activities and things to do around Salt Lake such as visiting the Beehive House, City Creek Canyon, Pioneer Memorial Museum, Governor’s Mansion and Historic Temple Square.
EnjoyUtah.org has a list of free Utah events, activities and places. There is a list of places that have free admission in Utah such as the BYU Museum of Art, Donner Reed Museum, Eccles Community Art Center, Utah State Capitol Tours and more.
8.) Free Summer Reading & Library Programs
To give your kids an incentive to keep reading this summer, here is a list of free summer reading programs.
Barnes & Noble – Children can earn a FREE book after reading 8 books and keeping track of them in a reading log.
Book Adventure – After your child reads a book, they take a 10-minute quiz to make sure they understood what they read. They earn points based on how much they remember from reading the book. There are hundreds of books to choose from in all reading levels. Once they have earned enough points they can trade them in for prizes.
Half Price Books – Kids ages 14 and under can earn a $5 HPB Back-to-School Bucks gift card for reading 300 minutes and turning in their completed reading log.
Scholastic Summer Challenge – Log your reading minutes at the Scholastic site and your child will be able to participate in a World Record challenge, as well as earn prizes.
TD Bank Summer Reading Program – Receive $10 that’s added to your child’s account when your child reads 10 books, records them down on a Summer Reading Form, and turns it in.
Many public libraries offer summer reading programs, story time, and other activities throughout the summer, so be sure to check with your local library. Here are some in the Utah area:
Salt Lake County Summer Reading – Salt Lake County Library has a big summer reading kickoff celebration on Saturday, June 4 in West Jordan. Those who finish the program will receive a free book or a $5 fine waiver.
Salt Lake City Library Summer Reading – All Salt Lake City library locations have a Summer Reading Tracker for kids to record their reading andearn fun prizes every month. The libraries also have fun events all summer long.
Utah State Fair Read and Win Reading Program – Children ages 6-12 who read 10 books and fill out and mail in the reading record form on the Utah State Fair site can get a FREE ticket to the Utah State Fair in September and a voucher for one free carnival ride and a small lemonade.
Provo City Library Summer Reading – Beginning June 4, 2016, sign up and set a goal with the Provo City Library summer reading program to earn prizes. There are also summer activities and an end-of-summer party.
What other fun, cheap or free activities have you done with your family? Comment below and let us know!