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10 FREE Summer Programs for Kids for Fantastic FUN & Learning!

There are so many fantastic and FREE summer programs for kids available nation wide. I’ve rounded up ten of our favorites and threw in two bonus programs that are under $5. Read on for tons of summer fun for your elementary-aged kiddo!

10 Free Summer Programs for kids available nationally - reading programs, national and state parks, in-store crafts, hands on maker activities, and more. Appropriate for elementary aged children! Get out and have fun this summer!!!

What do your kids do more in the summer? Ask for snacks or complain that they’re bored?

Well, I can’t help with the snacking. My kids are voracious summer eaters! But I can help with the boredom.

Fill your summer calendar with a few of these fun and free summer programs for kids. Whether you have a crafty kiddo, a maker, or a reader, there’s something fun for you here! Read on to find online programs and events in a store near you!

Free Summer Programs for Kids

  • Summer Reading Programs
  • Get Outside at your Local Parks
  • Hands-on Fun & Learning
  • Get Crafty
  • 2 Bonus Under $5 Activities

Related: Summer Learning >>>

After you’ve filled your calendar with summer fun, be sure to check out our Top 10 FUN Alternatives to Summer School. Find a few fun ways to sneak in learning and stop the summer slide!


FREE Summer Programs for Kids: Summer Reading!

1. Pizza Hut Book It! Program

Enroll your class or homeschool kiddos in Pizza Hut’s Book It! program. Read all summer long to receive awards such as certificates, stickers, and pizza.

Wait a sec… this will help with the snacking! Enroll now.

Free Summer Programs for Kids

2. Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

Sign up for the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge through your classroom or at your library and share the magic of summer reading. Your child will be registered to win awards as they participate and read on throughout the summer.

3. Barnes & Noble Story Times and Events

Check the B&N website for Barnes and Noble story time events! The B&N team members make reading fun with seasonal books, games, activities, and lots of laughs! Find a story time near you.


FREE Summer Programs for Kids: Get Outside!

4. Youth Programs at our National Parks

Become a Junior Ranger this summer or take part in some of the fun events available through our National Parks. Fantastic fun for kiddos who love the outdoors. Find a park near you.

Free Summer Programs for Kids

5. State Park Programs

Find a list of parks by state here on Wikipedia. See what your state has to offer! Find classes and guided tours where you can learn about the local flora and fauna.


FREE Summer Programs for Kids: Hands-on Fun!

6. Kids Bowl Free Program

Register on the site and receive two games free at your local bowling alley! What a great way to learn about a new sport and have some cool indoor fun.

7. Home Depot Kids Workshops

Check out the kids workshops at Home Depot this summer! Find the schedule online and register for some hands-on building fun. These classes run year-round for your little makers, 5-12 years old.

8. Bass Pro Summer Camp Activities

Bass Pro’s annual summer camp activities are fun hands-on workshops for the most outdoorsy kiddos! Learn about camping, fishing, hunting, water safety and more at the weekly workshops. Check here for your local schedule.


FREE Summer Programs for Kids: Get Crafty!

Free Summer Programs for Kids

9. Free Crafts at Lakeshore Learning Stores

Lakeshore offers free crafts in their stores every Saturday for kids 3 and up. See what crafts are coming up on the Lakeshore website. No reservation is necessary, but be sure to get there early if your store is especially busy in the summertime!

10. Carla Sonheim’s Free Kid’s Art Week

We love Carla Sonheim’s art week for kids! Simple art projects are presented with a video showing how to create the project. Kids of all ages (and adults, too) will love this course. Be sure to join the Facebook group to show off your art work! Sign up for Carla’s newsletter for this year’s details.


BONUS: Under $5 Summer Programs for Kids

Regal Summer Movie Express

Who doesn’t love cooling off in the theater in the summertime? Regal $1 movies are where it’s at! Check the Regal website for a full schedule (coming soon). Some theaters can get very busy because of camps, so go get your tickets early!

Michaels Camp Creativity

Check out your local Michael’s store for fantastic, themed summertime crafts. These 1 hour sessions run 3 days per week all summer long. $2 for kids 5 and under, $5 for kids 6+.

Summer Printables & Library Challenge

You’re going to love the Summer Printables & Library Challenge! This pack is appropriate for kids in elementary – middle school levels. 24 pages of summer fun including a library challenge with certificate and bookmark rewards and 3 summer themed printable packs. Find your learning pack on TPT.

Alternatives to summer school


Hope you have a great summer! Be sure to check out all our summer resources below. More to come!

More summer fun &learning from the Resource Room:

10 Free Summer Programs for kids available nationally - reading programs, national and state parks, in-store crafts, hands on maker activities, and more. Appropriate for elementary aged children! Get out and have fun this summer!!!
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