8 Free And Nearly FREE Summer Activities for Families

BY: - 7 May '15 | Parenting

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Summer is finally quickly approaching! I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t sure if we would ever get there! And this year, I decided to commit to planning the summer months out in advance. I want to maximize the time and sun that we have, and  I don’t want to waste time trying to figure out what to do. So I’ve decided to start planing now for the months ahead.

Here are 8 free and nearly free summer activities for families:

Bowling

Be sure to check out these fab bowling deals. My family loves to bowl but it can also get pricey. So I love that sites like kidsbowlfree.com has free bowling for kids (up to two games a day). Head on over to the site, click on your state to see the nearest participating bowling alley, and then register your child.

With bowlsummergames.com, each pass entitles you with up to three games per day all summer long (May 18-September 7). Although these passes are not free, they are steeply discounted and nearly free (when you consider the retail cost). So check it out.  The kids really enjoyed having the opportunity to bowl regularly last summer.

Movies

What family doesn’t love movies? And guess what? The summertime is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of free (yes, free) movies for the little ones. I took the kids to a couple of them last year, and definitely plan to take advantage a bit more this summer.

Kidfest 2015 at Cinemaoworld offers FREE films, seven days a week, ALL summer long! Check out the full details here (I know, it sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t).

Xscape Movie theatres also offers free movies all summer long on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Seating is on a first come, first served basis, so get there early. Find out the details here.

Regal Cinemas also has the Summer Movie Express – all movies are only $1 and start at 10am. You can also click here to see the entire lineup of movies for the whole summer so you can plan accordingly.

Library

Your local public library most likely has several events and activities throughout the summer for your kids. Our library offers story time reading several different days and times during the week. They also have a Spanish class for “little amigas”. They also have a chess club, teen retro game night, a writing club for tweens and much, much more. So don’t sleep on this free resource right in your own backyard.

Read for fun

While you’re at the library, don’t forget to let your kids check out their own books. Did you know that Barnes and Nobles has a summer reading program where kids can win a free book? All they have to do is read any 8 books and record them in a reading journal, and take it to your local B&N book store. They can then cash in on their free book from the store’s book selection list. I’ve been challenging myself to read more, and create some more family reading time. So this will fit perfectly into our summer activity plans.

What kid (or parent) doesn’t love free money? Well TD banks is offering a cool reading program as well. If you have a child in grades K-5, then get them on their reading tip. All they have to do is read 10 books (so, really only two more once they finish with the B&N program listed above), and write down the names of the books they’ve read (using this reading form). Once the form is filled out, take it to your local TD Bank, and they’ll receive $10 for a new or existing Young Saver Account. Click here for full details.

Get crafty

As a homeschooler, I’m always looking for fun crafts to do with the kids. So Pinterest is generally my go-to because there are sooo many fab ideas on there for all ages. I created a homeschool and DIY board just to keep track of all the great printables, crafts and activities to keep us busy.

But you can also check your local Michaels craft store for the kids club activities they have. Your kids can enjoy some great crafts for as low as $2.

Beach time

Nothing says summer like sand and ocean. I don’t know what kid doesn’t like going to the beach, and our kids are no exception. We’ve done day trips and overnight trips. Even if it’s just a short while, the kids love it because it’s “new’ to them, and it’s a different environment.

Waterparks & Pools

Even if you can’t make it to the beach, there’s bound to be several dozen pools and watermarks within a fifty mile radius of your home. Last year, we drove an hour a couple of times to different water parks that were kid friendly. We packed lunches for the kids and spent the day splashing in the sun. This year, we already have a trip schedule for Busch Gardens which will be a first for all of us. So I’m excited about creating these new memories with the kiddos.

Local museums

If you’re like most people, you probably have some amazing museums and landmarks right in your city, but haven’t been to half of them (*raises hand). Be sure to check places like Living Social or Groupon for the latest deals for places close to home (or for a getaway)

As you can see, there are so many ways to take advantage of the summer months, and create some fabulous family memories in the process. Make the commitment with me to plan your months out from now until September. For example, every other Wednesday is going to be our library day. I am planning field trips to local museums twice a month on Tuesdays and Fridays. Will you take the challenge with me?

BMWK: What summer activities do you have planned for the family?

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 153 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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Take the Motherhood Pledge TODAY: Stop Judging, Start Supporting

BY: - 8 May '15 | Parenting

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A few years ago, I posted about how I felt completely unable to be “me” and a mother. I was unraveling, trying to reach my personal goals while being everything to everyone, and I was struggling. I wrote that post in fear of the backlash that I would receive, but at the time, what I needed more than anything was to be honest. I was surprised in that moment how many women spoke up and confessed to feeling the same way.

I was surprised, because that show of support from other mothers can be unfortunately rare. More often, it can feel as though everyone is watching your every step, waiting for their chance to judge your every move. You see it with mothers like Toya Graham who was lauded, scorned, and one week later has been basically forgotten. You see it with the mothers trying to manage screaming babies in the supermarket under the glares of other mothers who “would never have a child act that way.” You see it when brand new mothers mention desperately needing a break, and instead of hearing “I understand” are told to suck it up because that’s what motherhood is all about.

We can all admit that as much as we love our kids, motherhood is not always a crystal stair, but we can be so critical and nasty to one another during the times that we need that support most.

So in honor of Mother’s Day, I want us to take this opportunity for each mother to show compassion to another mother. I have written this pledge, so that instead of being judgmental, we can take responsibility for creating a better environment for the mother next door, and ultimately, ourselves:

I pledge to know that my way isn’t always the right way.

Just because another mother is parenting her child in a way that you don’t parent your child doesn’t mean she’s doing it wrong. We are all different people who were raised by different people and we bring those different personalities to our parenting. As a mother of three, I even have to parent each child differently, because each one of them needs something different. Your parenting style being different from someone else’s though, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily better.

I pledge to keep my eyes on my own own house.

Why? Because you’re messing up too, even if you don’t know it. As the mother of a 15-year-old, I think that I’ve done a good job, but there are things that I look back on that I thought I was doing right way that I would do differently if I could turn back the hands of time. Any parent who tells you they get everything right all of the time is probably the one doing everything wrong. The next time you’re tempted to jump to judgement, take a pass through your house and pick up whatever mess is on your own floor, because I know you have one somewhere.

I pledge to help instead of criticizing.

This is where things get tricky, because mothers coming from a place of “right” can tend to think their statements are helpful when in many ways they are just affirmations of their own righteousness. Here is a way to know whether your statement is helpful: 1) you are offering a very practical solution that has worked for you 2) you are offering nothing other than compassion and understanding 3) you are offering to actually lend a very real hand in helping. If you can’t offer any of these things, always remember that it is completely okay to be quiet.

I pledge to allow mothers space to be human.

Motherhood is not like one of those paper towel commercials where your kids purposely spill grape juice all over the carpet and you clean it up with a smile. Sometimes we cry. Sometimes we forget. We lose our tempers. We don’t have the right answer. We try our best and we fail. We are not superhuman. Real mothers are humans with two hands and 24 hours a day trying to do our best with the tools we’ve been given in order to figure this thing out. It makes it a lot easier when we can help figure it out together.

Do you take the pledge? Do you feel that mothers tend to be supportive of one another?

About the author

Aja Dorsey Jackson wrote 208 articles on this blog.

Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer and marriage educator in Baltimore, Maryland and author of the blog and book, Making Love in the Microwave.

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