All parents understand the Summer Struggle…keeping our kids busy and learning over the summer months. We all here the “I’m b-o-r-e-d”, all too often and usually as soon as we force them off their electronics!
Then there comes Coronavirus to make it even more difficult for us. There are no summer movie programs, no free library events to get the kids out to, most if not all summer vacations have been upended. So what is a family to do?
Here are some great free and low-cost programs to help keep your kids engaged all summer long even while they are at home!
Summer Reading Programs
Public Library Reading Programs
Check with your local library to see what they offer. Many are still offering free entertainment and activities; they have just changed it to virtual. Many also have some sort of reading challenge and when kids meet milestones, they will earn prizes. Ours gives out gift certificates for free kids’ meals and a free book at the end of the summer.
Don’t forget the free eMedia many have available free to members. We are in Maricopa County Arizona and they offer digital eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, movies, and TV Shows, all free with your library card! They are even checking out books via Curbside Pickup during the shutdowns in our state. Check out what your library has to offer.
Your children, in grades 1 – 6 can download a Reading Journal and keep track of the books they read throughout the summer. The kids will need to complete 8 books and write about each one to complete their journal. If they return the journal completed to a Barnes and Noble Store between August 1 and August 31, 2020, they will be able to choose a free book from the specified list.
Children in grades K – 8 can complete the Amazon Summer Reading Challenge by reading 8 books over the summer. They need to create a list of the books they read and return the list to an Amazon Retail Store by September 10. They will then get $1 discount on a book.
Amazon sadly reduced this program from a free book to a $1 discount, but I would write down my 8 book list right from the Barnes and Noble list and get a free book and $1 discount from the same list. Double dipping at its finest!
Read 4 books from the Summer Reading Adventure Section in store or online to earn a free Dog Man ball cap, awesome for all you Dave Pilkey fans! You will need to print and fill out the special journal and return it to a Books-A-Million store to receive your prize.
Lifeway is offering a summer reading program in which kids can earn one of the designated free books while supplies last. They can earn these free prizes by reading 6 books and memorizing 6 Scripture verses. The program is geared towards kids, including toddlers (age 1-5), all the way to grade 6, however, anyone can join. Register online to get started. The program runs from June 3 to Aug 31.
Great Programs Around the Community
Kids can bowl 2 games for free EVERY DAY during the summer at participating bowling locations across the country! To get the free games for your children, you need to visit the Kids Bowl Free Website and register your children there. Be sure to watch the video to understand more about how the program works. Then look up what participating bowling alley is near you to find out any specific closures or limitations due to COVID for that location.
Chuck E. Cheese can help you offer your kids a reward of 10 tokens for meeting milestones or accomplishments over the summer. Visit their website to print any one of several reward certificates or calendars to challenge your kids this summer. You can reward them for good manners, being a good eater, reading, completing chores, cleaning their room, practicing a musical instrument and more. The prize of 10 tokens is free, however a food purchase is required to redeem the prize. Be sure to check your local restaurants for and closures or limitations due to COVID.
Other Great Posts That May Interest You
Virtual Summer Camps
“A virtual summer camp, right at home.” Happy camper offers many traditional summer activities, all led by an instructor, but attended from the comfort of your own home. Activities include, sports, arts and crafts, music, martial arts, and much more. Free trial then $5 and up per month.
Fully interactive, weeklong summer sessions. There are many “Star Courses” offered for FREE that are taught by celebrity experts. Go to the site to see the upcoming courses that are available. Past courses have been taught by experts like Mayim Bialik (Actress turned Neuroscientist), Aly Raisman (Gold Medal Gymnast), Julianne Hough (Actress), Leland Melvin (Astronaut) and more.
Best Buy Geek Squad Academy has created 4 at home downloadable courses. You can download one or all four, all for free! They are made to be accessible and doable for youth ages 9-18. Check them out, phone photography, binary, gaming, and web know-how. 4 opportunities to learn a new skill.
A free place to learn about STEM and literacy based topics all through the summer. Explore topics from music and engineering all the way to the Olympics and food! Kids can sign up as campers and parents, teachers, and librarians can sign up as counselors to learn and share to their hearts content. What are you wondering about today?
MarcoPolo Learning offers downloadable activities targeted to kids ages 3-7. They have printable worksheets, puzzles, and guided activities that follow a different topic of exploration each month. There is a 7 day free trial, then it is $10 a month. However, as of the day this was published, there was a half off deal being run for an annual subscription, bringing the cost down to less than $3 a month!
The United States Tennis Association is helping to keep families active by offering all kinds of Tennis at Home activities. They have tennis skills videos to watch and practice. You can enjoy story time with Billie Jean King, coloring pages and more.
Students ages 8 – 18 from around the globe are invited to join the New York Metropolitan Opera in a FREE virtual summer camp. From watching the Opera to interacting with the artists, this camp is sure to spark the excitement of up and coming singers of all ages.
If you enjoy one of these programs or have another to share, please comment below! Let us know what you think on our Facebook page.