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Summer Fun on a Budget: 8 Free and Super-Cheap Activities for the Whole Family

Yes, we all know you can chase fireflies for free, and turn on the sprinkler for cheap. But pretty soon we’re going to need to get out of the house or we’re going to go stark. raving. mad. from staring at each other all day. Here are a whole bunch of free (or super-cheap) family adventures for almost every age!

Bass Pro Shops are offering free family summer camp programs and craft activities around the country, every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday through July 9, from 1 to 5 p.m. Are your kids fans of Hunger Games or Brave? One of the workshops is archery!

Home Depot’s Kids Workshops are free, hands-on workshops designed for children ages 5 – 12. They’re offered the first Saturday of every month at all Home Depot stores between 9:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m. The next class is July 7.  Workshops teach children do-it-yourself skills, tool safety and instill a sense of pride and accomplishment. All kids get to keep their craft and receive a FREE Kids Workshop Apron, commemorative pin and certificate of achievement.

Kids Bowl Free: Registered kids can bowl two free games every single day during the summer! There are a ton of bowling alleys all over the U.S. and Canada participating; ages limits may vary by alley. At my local lanes, the program is for kids age 15 and under. You still have to pay to rent shoes, and parents have to pay if they wish to bowl, but it’s still a wicked cheap and fun activity. By the way, teachers should check out the Bowling To Teachers Grant Program for teacher supplies!

Museums: Scores of museums offer special free or “pay what you wish” times. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, has Target Free Friday Nights, 4 to 8 p.m. every Friday. The Philadelphia Museum of Art allows visitors to “pay what you wish” all day on the first Sunday of each month.

Free Summer Concerts: Check local newspapers for free, outdoor summer concerts in your area! From New York City to Los Angeles, and everywhere in between, there’s music of all genres to be found.

Cheap Movie Tix: Regal Theaters offers $1 tickets for all ages to G- and PG-rated movies Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10. Check schedules at the Summer Movie Express website.

Volunteering. Volunteering is the new black, right? If your kids don’t seem excited, sell it to your little ones as their opportunity to be just like their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and to your tweens and teens as being what all the cool celebrities are doing. Or just tell them that they can either do some volunteer work, or you’ll find work for them around the house, and watch the philanthropy bloom. (See Spider-Man Cast Kicks Off Volunteering Campaign With Day of Service)

Public Library Awesomeness: We very nearly live at our local library during the summer. Even our incredibly underfunded public library offers book clubs, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, storytellers, and workshops for every age. Also, don’t feel like you’re limited to only attending library programs at your closest library. With our library system, for example, we can attend programs at any public library in our county. At most libraries, some events will require pre-registration, so check it out, quick!

What are your favorite free family activities for the summer? I have four kids to keep busy this summer, so please share your great ideas in the comments!

Read more from Joslyn on Babble Pets.  You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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