Welcome! I am a mom to two wonderful kids, and a wife to a great husband. Needless to say, there are a lot of daily messes to clean up around our house. Daily Messes is my blog to share ideas on things to do with your kids, snack and meal ideas, crafts, and holiday fun. I hope you find something to enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Summer Reading Programs For Kids Start Soon! (And Other Summer Freebies!)

Don't forget to check out your local bookstores and libraries for summer reading programs. Most of them offer free prizes for the kids! I have links below for free Amazon Kindle books and Barnes and Noble Nook books in the DM TIPS!
  • Half Priced Books: Read 15 minutes a day and fill out the log (click on link). Once you reach 300 minutes in June, turn in your log and earn a $5 HPB gift card! Repeat in July! (Preschool to High School. Runs June & July)
  • Barnes & Noble: Read 8 books, fill out their reading log (click on link), and get a free book! It says it for grades 1-6, but just ask the booksellers regarding younger kids. They are usually very nice and will let younger kid participate. They let Higgins participate with his big brother! (Runs 5/19-9/7.)
  • We have banned Chuck E Cheeses, but if  your child reads each day for 2 weeks and completes the calendar (click on link), they get 10 free tokens.
  • If your child has an account or opens a new account with TD Bank, they can earn $10 for their account when they read 10 books. (Grades K-5. Click on link for form. Runs 6/1-8/31.)
  • Showcase Cinemas. After writing a book review, kids get a free movie ticket to a Bookworm Wednesday movie. Parents and siblings 6 and under are free. (See bottom of linked page for participating locations and book form. Runs 7/8-7/29.)
  • Pottery Barn Kids. When your child completes a PB summer reading list, they can earn a free book (Ages 10 and under. Runs 5/15-7/17.)
  • Library. Check with your local library. Most of them will have a summer reading program where kids can earn prizes!
DM Tips
  1. Check with Amazon.com for free kids Kindle ebooks for download. The Kindle reading app for the computer or ipad/phone is free too! Barnes & Noble also has free options and free Friday downloads for the Nook. (Nook app also free.)
  2. Check with local libraries or bookstores for storytimes. There are also free story times online! Some online story times: Barnes and Noble onlineStoryLineOnline. Many libraries also offer an online story time, often found under the kids section. Here is the Barnes & Noble Storytime In-Store link.

Other Summer Freebies (or at least cheap!):
  • Movies:
    • Regal Movie Theaters have $1 movies in the summer. (See link for schedule and to find a location near you.)
    • Many local movie theaters run free or $1 movies as well, so check with your local theaters.
    • Some local communities offer free Movie In The Park type of events during the summer. I find a lot of info by talking to other moms at the playgrounds/school, looking in the local paper at the weekend events, and by following the local communities on Facebook/Twitter.
    • See if there is a Drive-In movie theater near you. Some of them have kids under 12 free. Although, it won't be completely free, it can be a ton of fun and there are not a lot of them left. 
  • Free Bowling registered kids can receive free bowling in the summer! (click for details/locations)
  • Check out this site for a list of Good Report Card Freebies!
  • Fossil Collecting
    • You may have noticed that we (aka the boys) love going "fossil hunting". To find a fossil park near you, try looking at National Park System:  Fossil Parks and Other Fossil Parks. However, I noticed that there weren't any   listed in my area and I know of two within an hour drive. If you can't find one listed, try searching for "fossil park" or "fossil collection area" in Google/Yahoo/etc.
  • Building Workshops
    • Both Lowes and Home Depot offer free kids workshops during a weekend each month. Click the links to see when they are being offered.
  • Factory/Bakery Tours
    • Many places offer free (or really cheap) tours of their facilities. We have been to an ice cream shop and a chocolate factory already!
  • Farmer's Markets
    • Of course buying things aren't free, but it is free to go and see new things. My kids were amazed the first time we went to the Farmer's Market and a local farm to see where food really comes from. (Shockingly, it wasn't in plastic packages.) It's always fun to see what they have. There can also be fun vendors, like the portable wood fired pizza oven we saw last year. Click here to find one near you. 
  • Cook/Bake
    • My kids do like to "help" in the kitchen sometimes. One of the things I still remember the most from when I was a kid, was making rice cereal treats and chocolate chip cookies with my mom. I love when I can do it with my boys too!
  • Playgrounds/Parks
    • Almost every day (even in the winter), the boys ask if we can go to the park. I get tired of seeing the same thing, so we explore and find new parks.
    • Sometimes local parks offer free events during the summer too, especially around holidays like Memorial Day or 4th of July.
    • Many also offer free movies or concerts during the summer.
  • Picnic
    • If you pack a picnic from home and bring it to a park, it can make for a great (and free) adventure!
  • Museums/Zoos/Aquariums
    • Our local children's museum offers free admission on certain Fridays during the summer. Check out your local art/history/science/children's museums to see if they have free days. 
    • Sometimes other places like the zoo or aquariums will offer kids get in free days (with an adult ticket).
  • Crafts
    • My boys love craft time and we have spent a lot of time during summers past making new things. I have a lot of the ideas on this blog, and a lot of them are made from things you probably already have in your house!
    • Michael's offers $2 crafts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. (Runs 6/16-8/1.)
  • Camping
    • I am not a big camper, although Hubby and the boys love it. However, I will camp in the living room! We even made s'mores over a candle one time. Have everyone tell a scary story, or even have a progressive story (these can be hilarious, especially with little kids).
  • Bass Pro Shop
    • Sometimes they offer fun activities and workshops for free
  • Garage Sale/Flea Market
    • This one isn't free, but can be pretty cheap. A couple of dollars and some negotiation can obtain a few new books or toys that can keep the kids busy for the day or hopefully even a few days. We've even found new video games for just a few dollars. As an added bonus, you can offer them extra chores to earn extra spending money. I think I have a mountain of socks that may need sorting and folding... :) Try garagesalecow.com, local newspapers or community Facebook pages to find garage sales near you.
  • Eat Out
    • Ok, this is not free. However, there are certain days when kids eat free at some restaurants. If you want to have a treat, but also have it be cost effective, this would be the way to go!
  • Junior Ranger Program
    • This is a free program at the national parks. You pick up an activity book and fill in the questions. Once the booklet is completed, you turn it in and the kids get to be sworn in as Junior Rangers and get a badge or patch! (Click here for more info.) If there aren't any national parks near you, they also offer an online option to earn the WebRanger badge.

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