Tuesday, July 13, 2010 2:55:51 PM MDT

                
It's summer and I have two kids out of school,  my four and seven-year-olds, and limited “fun money” to spend.  I made up this list for my husband and I, and I thought that you might find it useful, too.

Feel like going out?

Enjoy storytime at local bookstores or the library:  Storytime /programs are always free and the parents get to relax and listen, too.  Plus, some bookstores have summer reading programs that give meaningful discounts.  Many have in-store or online sign-ups for discount coupons or even a free book!  

Watch free and almost free movies:  Check your local movie theatres for kids’ summer movie programs that are free or offer really inexpensive tickets, $1.00 for example.  They are often on a weekday morning, the feature might not be the newest release, but it’s still entertaining for the kids!  The concession stands are usually discounted as well or you can save more by bringing your own healthy snacks.

Bowling:  In the summer months it’s always nice to have a fun option for staying indoors when it’s really hot out. If you have a local bowling alley, call ahead and see which days kids can bowl free!

Free camps and programs anyone?:  Many retailers are offering free kids camps filled with stimulating activities (Apple Stores and Bass Pro Shops are two examples).  Shopping malls offer kids’activity days as well, featuring arts and crafts, music and other fun.  To find out what’s available in your area, check online, browse your local newspapers and parenting publications or stop by your local mall’s info desk.

Museum, Zoo and Science Center:  Many of these attractions have free admission days, year ‘round.  Many of them ramp up the fun with special summer programs for kids, too.

Parades, BBQ’s, Contests, Special Events and More:  Call your local Visitor’s Bureau and Chamber of Commerce!  It’s surprising how many fun, free and family-friendly activities are happening in your area this summer! Depending on where you live, there might be a tall ship regatta, a tractor pulling contest, a hot air balloon festival, summer concerts, or a parade.  Community events are great outings for the entire family.

My goal is to add at least one fun excursion to our calendar, each week until school starts up again.  I already feel better knowing that I don’t have to start every day with “What do I do with the kids today?”

Here's a Kidsongs clip that I think is appropriate, because who doesn't want to visit the beach in the summertime?  And who doesn't love Kidsongs? (I'm biased).

From the Kidsongs TV Show "A Day At The Beach".  The song at the end is the very popular Kidsongs version of "Barefootin'"!

Stay tuned for my next post on Fun, Free (or almost free) things to do at home!