Summer Time Fun for the Children – On a Dime!

By Chris Sardegna
By Chris Sardegna

The children and I are a little more than two weeks away from summer break. Because we are a one, full-time income family, we spend our summer on a budget. The funny thing is, there is plenty to do and below you will find some free programs and some that cost a little more or a little less. Please don’t hesitate to comment on this if you find some other good summer deals for the kids.

Here we go . . . . . .

The Beach

Living in Florida has its perks, and one of them is the beautiful beaches. Although going to the beach is really not an expense, most of the areas surrounding them require you to pay for parking. Make sure to pack water, suntan lotion and some food for a nice day of swimming and enjoying the outdoors.

Public Libraries

Public libraries are so wonderful, all year round. When you take your children to the library so they can pick up their summer reading books, make sure to check out some of their programs.

Aside from their regular story times for children of all ages, some of the offerings our local library has during the summer months are:

Musical Mayhem – Musical program filled with sound and science

Block Party – Fun building with Legos

Wonders of Nature – Wildlife live show

Don’t miss out on the local programs, check out your public library’s website to see what is available for you and your kids.

Public Parks

Public parks are another great way to have fun on a dime. Depending on where you live, donations may be mandatory. Check out your local public park website for hours and cost.

Free Summer Kids Movies

Our local Cobb movie theater has free summer kids movies, every week. They show the same two movies for three days during the week. Below are this year’s summer movies.

June 17, 18, 19
Turbo (PG)
Walking with Dinosaurs (PG)

June 24, 25, 26
Epic (PG)
Free Birds (PG)

July 1, 2, 3
The Croods (PG)
Shark Tale (PG)

July 8, 9, 10
The Smurfs 2 (PG)
The SpongeBob Square Pants  Movie (PG)

July 15, 16, 17
The Lego Movie (PG)
The Nut Job (PG)

July 22, 23, 24
Despicable Me 2 (PG)
Babe (PG)

July 29, 30, 31
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (PG)
Escape from Planet Earth (PG)

August 5, 6, 7
Rio 2 (G)
Mr. Peabody & Sherman (PG)

Not all Cobb Theatres provide this program, make sure to check their website.

County Summer Programs

Many counties provide wonderful summer programs.

The cost, per child, for two weeks, varies from the traditional camps ($76) to the specialty camps that include equestrian ($50 per day) and fishing ($76-120 per two weeks). There are also income based discounts, available.

Check out your local county’s website and see if there is anything that might work for you.

Michaels’ Art Classes

Michaels’ craft stores, provides some wonderful summer classes for the children.

Passport to Imagination is being offered in our area. This program lets the children take an imaginary road trip and they can craft history/nature inspired projects.

It’s a half-hour class on Mondays and Wednesdays, and the cost is only $2.00 per child. Both of my children loved this last year, and we opted to go once a week, instead of twice.

Check out Michaels’ website and see if your local store offers any programs.


Skating rinks usually offer summer deals. United Skates of America, Inc.  Has Kids Funskate from 9am – 11:30 am for $5. The $5 includes skate rental. For 2 1/2 hours your kids will have fun, and have the entire afternoon for other things to do.

Check out your local skating rink for any programs that might be available.


Bowling anyone? AMF provides a great program that we take advantage of. During the summer, you can bowl 3 free games, this does not include shoe rental. We have never bowled more than two games, and it is a wonderful way to set up a play date with friends.

See if your local bowling alley provides a program like this, it may be worth the research.

Adventure Island

If you live in the Tampa bay area, you can always check out Adventure Island this summer. For $43, your child can get unlimited weekday admission to Adventure Island. Because I am at home during the week, I found this deal appealing and for an adult pass it is $47.

This is definitely not a dime deal, especially if you have more than one child, but it is still less expensive than a week’s worth of summer camp. The pass does not include parking, so don’t forget to have $12 ready.

I hope you find this post a valuable resource this summer. I’m looking forward to spending some time using the different programs and of course, relaxing as well.

Acting Out Mama!






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