June 24, 2014 at 2:43 PM ET
Summer is the time for fun but it can also bring out scorching temps and drenching downpours. Keep the kids from going stir-crazy, without burning up your wallet, with these great ideas for free excursions.
Kids Bowl Free provides more than 2 million children and 825,000 families across the country 2 FREE games of bowling every day, all summer long. Go to kidsbowlfree.com for participating bowling alleys. AMF offers a similar deal for kids 15 and under—just register at freebowling.amf.com and you will be sent a weekly voucher via email (every Sunday) for two free games per child per day throughout the summer (shoe rental is not included).
Bow Tie Cinemas is running a Free Kids Summer Film Series. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays from June 24th through August 20th they will be showing family favorites like Ice Age and Alvin and the Chipmunks absolutely free. Movies start at 10AM, but seating opens at 9AM and is first come, first serve. For more info go to bowtiecinemas.com.
Similarly, Phoenix Big Cinemas has a free summer movie program for the entire family called Free Summer Movie Series. Three times a week the theater shows a great variety of G and PG rated movies, doors open at 9AM, movie starts at 10AM. phoenixtheatres.com.
Showcase Cinemas is encouraging kids to read with their Showcase Cinemas Bookwork Wednesdays. Download this book report form (PDF) to get started. Print out the book report and have your kids fill out the title of the book they read, the author, a description of the book, and the child's name. Bring the completed book report into a participating Showcase Cinemas movie theater each Wednesday from July 9, 2014 to August 13, 2014 for the 10:00 a.m. movie to get free admission.
Similar to Kids Bowl Free, Kids Skate Free provides families free passes to skate at roller rinks across the county, but not just during summer months—all year long. All you a parent needs to do is register at a participating rink and passes will be sent to you weekly via email for you to print out. Hours and age limits vary from rink to rink and typically skate rentals are not included. kidsskatefree.com
Free creative classes not just for the school year:
Williams-Sonoma offers free hour-long adult cooking technique classes that include tastings of prepared dishes plus you will receive a 10% savings on select items in store. You have to reserve a spot, so call your local store. Upcoming events include Cobblers, Crumbles & Pies on July 6th and Tomatoes 101 on July 27th. They also have programs for kids ages 5-12; two upcoming events are an intro to making handheld fruit pies on July 12th and a milkshake seminar on July 26th. williams-sonoma.com.
Wood-working/arts and crafts
Lowes weekend clinics for kids ages 5-12 and up take place every other Saturday morning. Kids get to not only take home their anything they build, but also their goggles and aprons. Go to lowesbuildandgrow.com for details.
Home Depot also hosts a free clinic from 9AM to 12PM on the first Saturday of every month for kids, ages 5-12. While you are there, look into taking one of their free adult workshops where you will learn how to do everything from installing a ceiling fan to building a patio. For schedules go to: homedepot.com.
Bass Pro Shops is hosting “Family Summer Camp” which consists of free workshops, conducted by experts, every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday June 7 - July 13. The entire family will enjoy learning the basics of camping, fishing, archery and hunting. Other workshops include kayaking, water and travel safety, backyard adventures, and bird watching. All workshops are approximately 20 minutes in length and kids will get a free lanyard and then earn a free, collectible pin for every workshop completed (while supplies last). For more details, check out basspro.com.
Free travel if you find yourself on the road:
Want to take a road-trip but don’t have a car? Check out autodriveaway.com where you will find a listing of cars that need to be driven from one location to another. You just have to be 23 years of age or older, with a valid driver’s license. You receive the first full tank of gas, a certain amount of days and appropriate number of miles to complete the trip. Current example: Someone is looking to have their 1994 Mazda Miata (Manual/stick shift) driven from Alexandria, VA (DC) to Berkeley, CA (San Francisco) available June 10th, 2014 with a $100.00 travel allowance.
Check out kidsmealdeals.com to find out where in your area your kids can eat for free. Just enter your zip code, city and state and a list of restaurants will pop up. You can also find deals on the go with their free app.