8 Easy Ways to Save BIG on Family Summer Fun

Finally, I think we can officially put away the winter clothes. Here in the DC area, the weather has fluctuated between early Spring and straight summer. Just a couple of days ago, it was back to wearing sweatshirts and jackets. But I think mother nature has finally decided to allow the warm weather to come our way for good, and I’m all for it!

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 as a family, and  I don’t want to waste time trying to figure out what to do. So I’ve decided to start planning now for the months ahead.

Here are 8 easy ways to save BIG on family summer fun:

1. 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.

2. 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.

Also related: 4 Fun & Nearly Free Staycation Ideas For Families

3. 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. My kids got a kick out of signing the back of their own library cards, and then checking out their own books.

4. 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 (my son has already done 6 in the last few weeks), 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.

5. 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.

I also just recently discovered YOXO Toys…if you really want your kids to explore and use their imaginations, this is awesome. The best part is that these toys are 100% recycled and made in the USA. I love how it teaches the kids independence and creativity.

6. 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. We make sure to go at least once during the summer. We pack our coolers with lunches, drinks, snacks and of course beach toys. This year, we’ll be packing our own umbrellas so we can save money on renting them at the beach.

Also related: 3 Ways Moms Can Plan a Getaway When They Can’t Get Away

7. 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. And right now, Groupon is having a 50% off Busch Gardens and Water Country USA tickets. Click here to check it out.

Also related: 5 Tips for Easy Family Travel

8. 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). Seriously, I’ve gotten some amazing deals from these sites.

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?

What summer activities do you have planned for the family this summer?

This article was originally written for Black and Married with Kids.

UPDATE: These tips were later shared on WBAL News Channel 11 in Baltimore. Below is the clip from the live interview.

You Might Also Like


  • Stacie
    May 15, 2015 at 9:46 AM

    These are all things that I like to do during the summer with my kids. You can save so much money if you just take advantage of what’s free in your city.
    Stacie would like you to check out…Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail PolishMy Profile

    • Christine St.Vil
      May 17, 2015 at 11:20 PM

      Exactly Stacie! Sometimes we get focused on making plans to get away, and in reality, there’s so much to do right in our own back yards 🙂

  • Julian (@BoldFearless1)
    May 17, 2015 at 7:24 PM

    LOVE this post! So many great ideas and info on summer fun with the kids that fits just about every budget. I’m going to have to check out the YOXO toys for Nana. Especially since she’s spent the last week sketching out and figuring out how to engineer a 6×6′ fort for her cousins…

    • Christine St.Vil
      May 18, 2015 at 1:13 AM

      Bwhahaha!!! OMG can’t wait to see that 6×6 fort she is building. Yes, she will definitely love the YOXO toys then, absolutely 🙂

  • Vashti (veepeejay.com)
    May 17, 2015 at 9:11 PM

    This summer, I’ll be making a trip back to Grenada! Super excited and I wish it was free 🙂
    These are all great ideas and things I would definitely do.
    Vashti (veepeejay.com) would like you to check out…Curly Kids Coloring Book by Curl Centric #BeCurlCentricMy Profile

    • Christine St.Vil
      May 18, 2015 at 1:15 AM

      Wait Vashti…when are WE going back to Greneda? Cause I’m sure you just forgot to give me the deets, but I’ll be there. LOL And yeah, if you figure out how to get it for free, let a sistah know 🙂

  • Siobhan (BeFree Project)
    May 17, 2015 at 9:22 PM

    These are all great ideas for the summer. We take advantage of our local library and museums. I didn’t know about the free movies in the summer so I’ll have to look into that. Thank you for sharing.

    • Christine St.Vil
      May 18, 2015 at 1:18 AM

      Sure thing Siobhan! I just discovered the free movies through my local Mocha Moms chapter. I forgot to mention that they are first come, first serve, so it’s best to get there early 🙂

  • Michellette "MimiCuteLips" Green
    May 18, 2015 at 12:24 AM

    Wait a minute, I had no idea about the free movies. SCORE!!! The kids are at the sitter and camp most of the time, but now we can fill our voids with some of these activities.

    Bowling is a family fun for sure.
    Michellette “MimiCuteLips” Green would like you to check out…Fun in the ATLMy Profile

  • Olivia
    May 18, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    These are great ideas! I don’t have a family (as in kids) yet, but these are till great tips for anyone’s summer fun lol! I haven’t been bowling in so long and I was just telling a friend of mine how I want to do that soon!
    Olivia would like you to check out…Has the True Concept of Marriage Been Lost?My Profile

  • Moms 'N Charge 4 Fun And Festive Memorial Day Activities For the Family - Moms 'N Charge
    May 20, 2015 at 4:44 PM

    […] toys made in the USA. These toys are not only eco-friendly but also […]

  • Moms 'N Charge 10 Easy Ways Bloggers Can Get Media Attention - Moms 'N Charge
    July 3, 2015 at 4:06 AM

    […] for them and they sent me again. Because I take a lot of pride in what I do, it shows and during my last segment with WBAL, the producer came to me and told me how great I did, and that I was free to pitch a segment to her […]

  • Moms 'N Charge #FLYMomTees: A T-Shirt Line Inspired by Motherhood & Purpose - Moms 'N Charge
    November 18, 2015 at 3:50 AM

    […] and the more opportunities I have to speak or appear on live segments, whether it be online or on set, I wanted to create something that would also brand myself. I wanted to create something that other […]

  • Moms 'N Charge 2015 Year in Review: Celebrating my Rockstar Experiences + Growth - Moms 'N Charge
    December 31, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    […] Invited to be a St. Jude Blogger Ambassador; interview segments for Fox 45 & WBAL; Runway Moms for a Cause; first Huff Post Live interview w/ La La Anthony. Whew! May was clearly a […]

  • Moms 'N Charge Use these 5 Websites for Inexpensive Summer Fun - Moms 'N Charge
    July 15, 2016 at 12:53 AM

    […] Also Related: 8 Easy Ways to Save BIG on Family Summer Fun […]

  • Leave a Reply