Check Out These Amazing Nationwide Summer Programs for Kids: Many are Free!

It's officially summer! And that means there are some long, hot days to fill with the kids. Check out these fun national summer programs for kids to help make this the summer the best ever. 

summer programs
Image via Kids Bowl Free

Bowling: Bowling is a great way to pass the time indoors in the heat of summer. Many bowling alleys have tot-friendly summer programs, involving special pricing and modifications for little ones, like bumpers and relaxed rules. A few national chains have some great deals worth checking out.  Pinstripes has Mom and Tot Bowling weekday mornings with $3 games and shoe rentals for little ones and free games for grown-ups. Bowlmor has a great Summer Games special that gives three games a day for a flat rate. Bowl America offers two free games a day to kids over the summer. Check out Kids Bowl Free for additional free kids bowling opportunities. 

Regal Cinema: Summer is a great time to see movies. Going to see some summer flicks don't have to be expensive. Regal’s Summer Movie Express shows G and PG rated movies each Tuesday and Wednesday morning for only $1.00. The movies aren’t first run, but the program does include past hits.   

Staycation: Summer vacation doesn’t have to mean traveling far! It can be especially hard to get on a plan or commit to a multi-hour car ride with little ones. That’s why so many families look for ways to create a vacation experience closer to home. Look for a resort like those run by Gaylord that offers pools and multiple activities under one roof. Some resorts offer special family-friendly programming, and special pricing, over the summer such as the Sounds of Summer Fest program at Gaylord National or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at Gaylord Opryland.

Explore a Park: Most National Parks have a Junior Ranger program that is completely free. Kids can earn Park Ranger badges by exploring parks close to home or performing activities related to everything from bats to paleontology at home. You can also check out park-specific activities for parks from coast to coast to help with your visit. 

{ MORE: 30 Fun Things to Add to Your Summer Bucket List }

summer programs
Image via Home Depot

Build Something: Home Depot doesn’t just help grown-ups learn how to build, kids can learn how to build everything from a bug house to a toolbox. Search their site for kids workshops to get an idea of projects and find the next workshop near you. 

Get Crafty: Like crafts but don’t want to clean up the mess? Check out the craft classes offered by Michael’s Crafts for kids. Most classes are $5.00 or less and different age-appropriate projects are available ranging from mermaids and unicorns to splatter-paint shirts. Special Camp Creativity classes run over the summer.

Visit a Museum: From Anchorage to New York Target offers family-friendly community events with a heavy emphasis on reduced admission to children’s museums across the country. Check out the list to find an event near you. 

See Some Animals: Stonyfield Organic is sponsoring the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ SAFE Program dedicated to animal conservation efforts and is embarking on a yearlong campaign to encourage kids to learn how they can help endangered species. What can make seeing and learning about the animals first hand this summer? Doing it for free! Get your free kid's ticket to a zoo or aquarium provided by Stonyfield YoKids yogurt here

{ MORE: Running Errands with Kids? Here Are Some Easy Ways to Pass Time in the Car }

What are some of your favorite summer programs for kids? Share in the comments!

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Check Out These Amazing Nationwide Summer Programs for Kids: Many are Free!

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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