8 Fun, Cheap and Free Summer Activities & Ideas

Fun, Cheap and Free Summer Activities

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 summer movie clubhouse

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.


Regal Theaters 2016 Movies
Regal Theaters also has a kid’s movie club called Summer Movie Express where kids movies are only $1. The movies are G & PG. Just purchase the tickets at the box office. Head over here to see if there is a theater near you and to find out what movies will be playing.

2.) Kids Bowl Free

Kids Bowl Free Logo

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.

3.) Kids Skate Free


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

summer activities for kids
If you just want to stay at home and do some fun activities with your kids, try out these 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.

Salt Lake Movies in the Park
In Salt Lake City, they have Friday Night Flicks where they show a FREE family-friendly movie at a different park each Friday evening from June 7 – July 19, 2019.
Movies in the Park - South Jordan
South Jordan City, Utah has the South Jordan Sights & Sounds of Summer where they have movies at different parks.
Rooftop Concert Series
Provo Rooftop Concert Series has free concerts in Provo on the first Friday of every month, June – September. It opens at 6 p.m. and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m. It’s free for the whole family, but check out the band online first because some concerts are more kid-friendly than others. The location is at 100 West and Center Street in Provo, right in front of the NuSkin building. Bring your own chair.

6.) Making Expensive Activities More Affordable

If you want to make expensive activities more affordable, then watch deal sites, such as Groupon and Living Social, to find deals on passes or activities in your area. If you live in Utah, also watch KSL Deals.
Pass of all passes
For those of you in Utah, if you want to purchase Seven Peaks Pass of All Passes, Cowabunga Bay passes or a Salt Lake Connect Pass, then watch these deal sites before you go out and purchase passes so you can get a better deal. The venues include the following: Seven Peaks, The Haunted Attic at Seven Peaks, The North Pole at Seven Peaks, BYU, U of U, Real Salt Lake, Rocky Mountain Raceways, Tracy Aviary, Utah Grizzlies and more.
Salt Lake Connect Pass

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.


cowabunga bay

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.

Visit Salt Lake Larger LogoIf 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.


8.) Free Summer Reading & Library Programs

scholastic book summer reading

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.

Books-a-Million – After reading four approved books, recording in a journal what they learned, and turning the journal in to a local store, a child will receive a FREE gift.

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.

summer reading program provo

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 program from June through July.

Salt Lake City Library Summer Reading – All Salt Lake City library locations have a Summer Reading Tracker for kids to record their reading and earn 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!


Summer Activites - Fun, Cheap and Free

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