2019 Free Summer Activities & Programs for Kids Near Me

Check out these FREE & frugal Summer activities, programs & workshops for kids where you'll find lots of ways to entertain your kids this summer!

Summer is coming -- a time when kids & families are looking for fun Summer activities to do close to home -- and us parents are hoping that it's not all tech time ;)

There are a number of FREE programs & events near you that your kids can try this summer -- inspire them to learn a new skill, earn badges or pins and have a great time with other kids! 

 

Free Summer programs, workshops and camps for kids

2019 Free Summer Activities, Programs & Workshops for Kids Near Me

Summer is the perfect time to try out something new -- you never know what your kids will gravitate to unless you introduce them to new things!

My favorite part about these programs & workshops are that most of the activities are only a few hours a day so they give kids an opportunity to try something new without investing a ton of time (or money).

First, check out our post on FREE Summer Reading Programs & Rewards -- so many ways to inspire your kids to do some reading in the coming months.

And be sure to grab the FREE printable summer activities calendar of "100 No Cost Things to do this Summer" too!

A quick warning -- some of the camps and workshops will fill up quickly!!

Call ahead to reserve a spot if it's possible -- don't tell your kids until you know they can get in ;) 

And be sure to ask about the parent/child policy at each of the events & activities -- some require a parent to stay onsite during the duration of the program.

 

1. Kids Bowl Free Summer Program Near Me

One of the longer standing summer programs, kids receive 2 free games of bowling every day all summer long!  Search their website to find bowling alleys all over the United States & Canada that participate.

This is a great option for those hot days when you're looking for a good indoor activity -- especially for a group of kids too.  The age requirment varies depending on your local bowling alley but the website gives you details on who can participate (kids as young as 2 years old up thru teenagers can bowl at most locations)!

 

2. Home Depot Kids Building Workshops

For building fun, make sure to check out the Free Kids Workshops held on the first Saturday of each month at the Home Depot. 

We love these workshops!  Projects vary for each one but the best part is that kids get a free apron, pin and project to complete.  And yes, swinging a hammer is usually part of the project ;) 

In our experience, these programs are best for kids ages 3 - 10 years old (especially if your kiddos haven't yet had the opportunity to use tools!)

The project listed for June 1st is a Mini Putting Green!

pssst ... they also have awesome DIY workshops for adults too.

Register early for these - they are popular!

 

3. Apple Youth Summer Workshops

Did you know that Apple Stores offer FREE youth workshops and Apple Camp for Kids? 

Whether you own an iPhone or iPad, these sessions offer your kids the opportnity to learn about the programs and apps for their Apple devices along with opportunities to create and share.  Kids & teens can learn photography, make movies, create music and how to program devices.

If you own a Sphero Robot (affiliate link to what those are!) than you'll love the Coding Workshops your kids can take here!

These are in-person workshops offered at the Apple retail stores around the country.  Check the Apply Today event calendar -- filter for your city along with the 'Kids' category to find workshops near you!

 

4. Junior Ranger Programs at National Parks (& at Home!)

We are huge fans of the Junior Ranger program at the National Parks -- be sure to read 'Why We Love the Junior Ranger Programs' for details!

Almost all of the national parks and many of the national historic sites host these FREE programs for kids, tweens & teens.  To earn a Junior Ranger badge or certificate:

  • Kids will pick up or downlaod an activity book for each park or site (here's a list of all US Junior Ranger programs!)
  • Visit the park or historic site and complete the activities in the booklet,
  • Once you complete the activities for their age, turn the booklet in at a ranger station & kids will earn their  Junior Ranger status along with a certificate, pin or patch (varies by park).

AT HOME JUNIOR RANGER PROGRAMS

One of the best things about this program is that you can complete some of the Junior Ranger activities online and at your home!  

Click here to find the Junior Ranger Program Booklets can be downloaded & completed at home - which include:

  • All about Bats
  • Archeology Programs
  • Cave Science
  • Historic Preservation
  • Jr Paelontologist
  • Let's Go Fishing
  • Night Explorer
  • Wilderness Explorer
  • Discovering the Underground Railroad and
  • Underwater Explorer

 

Free outdoor programs and nature camps for kids

5.  Free Nature Camps & Activities Near Me

Always check with your local nature center as many offer some amazing workshops for kids throughout the summer months! 

We've attended family hikes, animal visits, naturalist programs, archery clinics and more programs that cover outdoor skills. 

Here's how to find nature programs near you:

 

6. At-Home Maker Camp

We love this option for STEM camps!

Maker Camps are offered through a variety of organizations usually start mid-June.  Your kids can join in to build & create some really cool projects for six weeks over the summer.

Use the Maker Camp Map to find a location near you -- most of the FREE camps are offered via libraries and schools.

If you're not able to find a camp in your area, check out the 2016 Maker activities and Maker Camp 2017 too.  Kids, tweens & teens can start any of the past years' activities & projects at home -- directions and supplies needed are all listed online.

 

7. Bass Pro Stores Family Summer Camp

One of our favorite summer finds in the Family Summer Camp at Bass Pro Stores. Their page still says "coming soon" so no details but events & workshops are usually offered in late June through July.

You'll find more than a dozen kid-friendly, interactive clinics that cover a variety of topics.  At each clinic, kids will either watch a short video or presentation from a staff member, complete some fun games/learning pages and do an in-store activity. 

For each clinic they complete, your child will earn a free pin!  Last year, they also gave out lanyards so the kids could keep all their pins together.  My daugther attended clinics on camping, fishing, pets & the outdoors, animal tracks and outdoor skills.  

 

8. Cabela's Family Summer Camp

Cabela's sports stores are also offering 6 summer workshops for kids in the areas of conservation, fishing, camping, water sports, shooting sports and emergency preparedness. 

Workshops usually run late June through July (see their Family Camp page for more details once it's updated!)

Kids will learn skills in each area and earn pins as they complete each workshop.  They also have family events and crafts too!

 

Free summer tech camps and workshops for kids, tweens and teens

9. Microsoft Store Summer Workshops

At the Tech Fun for Kids workshops, your kids can learn quite a few new skills! 

Microsoft stores offer FREE DigiGirlz workshops for girls ages 11 - 18, coding workshops for ages 8 + in Minecraft, Code.org, Harry Potter Kano (see the Harry Potter: Build a Wand - Learn to Code - Make Magic kit) and STEM workshops on Saturdays.

This is a great opportunity for kids to learn more about coding and computer programming.  Find all the details on the Events calendar for your local Microsoft store.

 

10.  American Girl Events & Activities

If you have an American Girl Store near you and a daughter ages 8+ who loves the American Girls books or dolls, try attending one of their free in-store events!

They offer some fun events and book clubs throughout the year.  Browse their calendar to find a store & events near you -- look for the events that state 'Reservations required' but don't list any fee.  Activities vary by location so check the calendar for the store closest to you.

 

11.  Free Museum Programs

Believe it or not, many art museums offer FREE admission every day -- and quite a few will have summer activities, scavenger hunts and other fun programs when you visit!

First, check the event calendar for any museums near you to find special events, art projects for kids or daily activities that are offered.

Also check the Target Community website for free admission days to children's museums in some of the larger cities around the US.

 

More Free & Frugal Summer Activities:

100+ FREE Summer Activities {with printable list!}

Turn Your Backyard into a Science Lab

20 Summer Scavenger Hunts

 

40 Free Printable Road Trip Games & Activities
30 Games & Activities to Play at the Park

Comments

Guest - Jackie Higgins (website) on Saturday, 25 May 2013 12:27

Great list! I saw a billboard for the Bass Pro Shop Family Summer Camp and was wondering what that was. Thanks for all the great info. Sharing.

Great list! I saw a billboard for the Bass Pro Shop Family Summer Camp and was wondering what that was. Thanks for all the great info. Sharing.
Guest - Bury Family Life (website) on Monday, 17 June 2013 11:55

Wow, there's loads for them to do near you, isn't there? that's great. Visiting from the summer blog carnival

Wow, there's loads for them to do near you, isn't there? that's great. Visiting from the summer blog carnival :)
Guest - Renee B. on Friday, 25 May 2018 14:01

Check your local libraries too! I work in a library in South Carolina and we have two weekly programs for children, all for free. We'll be featuring sing-along movies (on a big screen!) and having magicians and other performers as well. Definitely one to check out. And if your kids read, usually they can get a prize for free just for reading some books during the summer!

Check your local libraries too! I work in a library in South Carolina and we have two weekly programs for children, all for free. We'll be featuring sing-along movies (on a big screen!) and having magicians and other performers as well. Definitely one to check out. And if your kids read, usually they can get a prize for free just for reading some books during the summer!
Guest - Sherri dalton on Friday, 27 July 2018 11:22

I would like some fun opportunities for my daughter and I to do before summer is up don't have much money

I would like some fun opportunities for my daughter and I to do before summer is up don't have much money
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June 20 2019
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