Frugal Summer Fun: Free bowling, movies, and more!


Posted on : 07-06-2011 | By : Trish | In : Activities and Entertainment, Daily Deals, Free Stuff

Ahhhh, summer.  Long days, campfires, watermelon, s’mores, swimming, boredom, boats….wait a minute….boredom? Yes, indeed. With parents working and no real routine, kids can get pretty bored in the summer!

There are some fabulous ways to entertain your kids for FREE or close to it. Here are just a few…

FREE Bowling! Check out to see if there is a participating alley close to you. We were able to participate in this program for one summer and loved it! Unfortunately, our local lanes are no longer participating….they’re also no longer getting our business. Check it out! Even if you only go a couple of times, you’ll love it.

FREE (or cheap) Movies! Lots of movie theaters have a kids’ summer movie deal. You can watch older kids’ movies for FREE or for about $1. It usually happens on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings. Check these out and then check with your local theaters.

Regal Cinemas, United Artists, and Edwards Theaters have the Summer Movie Express. Select G & PG movies are priced at $1 on Tuesday and Wednesday at 10:00 am. 

Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse offers 10 movies for $5 when purchased in advance or for $1 each at the door.

National Amusements offers Bookworm Wednesdays. Your child can exchange a completed book report for FREE movie admission! I really wish we had these theaters in the South!

Great Escape Theaters offer several Summer Kids’ Movie specials. Click on your local theater to find out the schedule and price.

If you know of any other theaters offering free or cheap kids’ summer movies, please leave a comment below so this list can be updated.

FREE Projects! These freebies happen all year long and are so much fun! The Home Depot offers a Kids’ Workshop where your kids can build something fabulous and take it home for FREE! They will get an apron, a project pin, and a certificate of completion. This one happens on the first Saturday of every month.  Lowe’s Build and Grow is similar, but the kids get a patch instead of a pin and it happens more often. Both places have fabulous projects and because they’re held on different days, you’ll have something FREE to do most Saturdays!

Depending on where you live, go to the lake, park, a hiking trail, or even the backyard.  Just going out to play is a great way to beat summer boredom. In my neck of the woods, you can go to the lake for $3. Just pay for parking and stay all day! Most of the swimming areas have grills and picnic tables available. Check for parks, swimming areas, and hiking trails where you live. If you have room, put up a badminton set in the backyard. It’s a blast, even if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can also just toss a frisbee, play catch, hide & seek, or tag.

When all else fails and you just have to stay in the air conditioning, check out Gamefly. My son always wants the latest Lego video game, but I don’t always have money for a new video game. He also plays them for two days until he “beats the game” then rarely plays them again. I started with a free trial of Gamefly and we love it so far. It’s just like Netflix, but for video games. He can get the newest games as soon as they’re released, play it, beat it, and send it back for another one!

Check out the FREE trial while it lasts!

If you have other FREE or nearly free summer activity ideas, please leave a comment below, or use the contact me form to let me know.


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