Tag Archives: summer

Cheap (or free!) summer activities for kids

swingingOh, summer. I have made no secret about the fact that it’s not my personal favorite time of year. Southern Indiana turns into a swamp in July. But I am determined to make the most of summer this year, so I’ve spent some time compiling a list of activities to fill up our schedule without draining my wallet.

Here are some of the ways we’ll be keeping busy this summer:

Discounted or free kids’ movies

Judah has never been to a theater. He really wasn’t ready to sit for that long before his brother was born, and I wasn’t about to take a newborn to a movie theater even for a matinee. Many theater chains are offering second-run morning movies during the weekdays in the summer, and it seems like a perfect opportunity to introduce a preschooler to the movie theater. At a buck or two per ticket, the risk of leaving in the middle of the movie with a restless kid isn’t so intimidating. Check with your local theater, but here are some nationwide programs:

Kids Bowl Free

Sign up to get two free bowling games per kid, per day all summer long at select bowling centers with this program. Age ranges vary, but some go up to 15 years old. You’ll still have to pay for shoe rental and adult games. Find a participating bowling center in your area and get more information at Kids Bowl Free.

Summer reading programs

Reading is free AND educational, and most libraries have a ton of programs and story hours available for free — not to mention thousands of free books and movies available for hours of entertainment for both kids and parents.

You can also participate in these reading programs for fun incentives.

  • Pizza Hut’s Book-It Summer Reading Program offers prizes for kids in grades K-6 who meet summer reading goals.
  • Barnes and Noble is giving away free books to kids in grades 1-6 who read 8 books this summer.
  • My personal favorite bookstore Half Price Books has an awesome summer reading program — track 300 minutes of reading with your child each month in June and July, and submit your reading log to get $5 in gift certificates each month. All kids under age 14 are eligible, so you can even track minutes with a newborn and use the gift card to build your baby’s library!
  • The “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” program offers fun incentives through local libraries and an iPhone app that allows you to track your reading progress for your preschooler.

Many bookstores also offer free story hours if you’re looking for some air conditioned fun, so be sure to check their events calendars for more information.

Take a hike

Early mornings and evenings are a great time to get out into nature for a walk or a hike before it gets too hot. This hiking trail database lists trails by state to help you find a state park or recreational trail near you. The American Heart Association also has a handy tool for finding paved walking tracks if the great wilderness isn’t your thing.

Kids Eat Free deals

If you’re going out to eat, you might as well get a free meal for your kids. Money Saving Mom has a great master list of kids eat free deals updated regularly to help you find a deal for most weekdays.

What are you up to with your kids this summer? Share your ideas in the comments!

Reverse seasonal affective disorder

Regular blogging will now be interrupted for whining.

You know how a lot of people get depressed in the middle of winter when it’s cold and dark? I have the opposite problem. I get depressed every year around this time when I realize we have two more months of unbearable heat and humidity and misery. Ugh.

Fall is my favorite time of year, probably because it comes after months of torturous heat. I was much more suited to the cooler temperatures and shorter summers in northern Indiana, but my husband found a job in southern Indiana, and the heat will probably stick around until October here. I’m not happy about it.

I write this now, because I feel like I can’t be alone in this, despite the fact that people have disagreed with me my whole life. But here it is: I’d rather be cold than hot. I would absolutely 100% take sub-zero temperatures and snow and ice over heat and humidity. Don’t get me wrong, the cold season isn’t my favorite. I much prefer when the sun is warm, but there’s a slight chill in the air — when it’s cool enough for a sweater but warm enough that you don’t need a coat. But I’d still take the coldest day of the year over the hottest. I agree that it can be a downer when it’s freezing outside and it gets dark so early, but at least I’m cozy and comfortable inside. Our air conditioner is struggling to keep up in this heat wave, so when it gets above 95 degrees outside, even our house is insufferable.

In the winter I can bundle up in layers — shirts and sweaters and coats and scarves and mittens. When it’s hot, you can only undress so much before you risk being arrested. And when it’s this hot, you could walk around wearing nothing and still feel miserable.

I miss hearty comfort foods. I miss good food in general, because I’m sick of eating non-meals that don’t require an oven.

At night, even if it’s chilly inside, I can bundle up in a giant down comforter to keep warm and sleep soundly all night. When it’s hot, I don’t sleep well even when I kick off the covers and turn the fan on full blast.

So am I alone in this? Who’s with me? Anyone have a time share in Antarctica that I can buy for the summer months?

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