Thursday, May 31, 2018

2018 FREE and Frugal Summer Fun

Summer, Summer, Summertime!! Fun in the Sun or Fun indoors, so much to do, and it doesn't have to "break the bank"! Well, I have complied a list of FREE and Frugal Summer Fun Ideas!!

 National Programs for All:

 Cinemark Movie Theatres will have the Summer Movie Clubhouse. Movies are shown on Wednesday at 10am. You can purchase a 10 movie Punch Card for $5 or pay $1 per show. The rates are per person.

Regal Movie Theatres have the Summer Movie Express. Movies are shown Tuesday and Wednesday at 10am. Cost is $1 per person per movie.

Classic Cinemas has Wednesday Morning Movie Series. Movies are $1 per person per movie.

 Marcus Theatres has the Summer Movie Series. $3 movies on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday from June 24th until August 29th. American Family Insurance is the sponsor for the Marcus Theatres Summer Movies. You can go HERE to print passes for FREE admission.

Studio Movie Grill has a Children's Summer Series. The movies are shown Monday through Friday and cost $1. The same movie is shown for a week at a time.

 Check your area Movie Theatres for more Deals and Summer Movies!

 FREE or Frugal Bowling:

 Kids Bowl Free is a wonderful site that lists many "Independent" Bowling Alleys in all 50 states. Sign your child up and they get 2 FREE games a day. Shoe rental is not included, but usually inexpensive.

 AMF Bowling and BrunswickZone are now a combined company, although they keep separate names. The Summer Bowling program for both can be found here: Summer Bowling Games. Summer Bowling Games does have a one time cost per child,the cost does include Shoe Rental for the entire summer. Sign your child(ren) up and they receive 3 games a day from May 21st through Sept 3rd. AMF Bowling also has an Adult Bowling Pass, cost and rules vary by area. Also valid at Bowlero, BowlMor Lanes, and Brunswicks.

Free Roller Skating: 

Kids Skate Free is FREE Roller Skating and is gaining in popularity, like the Summer Bowling Program. You can register at the location nearest you and each facility runs the program independently.

Barnes and Noble: The Barnes and Noble Summer Reading program is back for its 22nd Year. Have your child(ren) read any 8 books. The child(ren) will get a FREE book from Barnes and Noble once the list is complete.

 Half Price Books: Feed Your Brain is the Half Price Books Reading program Children need to read at least 15 minutes a day and 300 minutes per month during June and July, turn in form and receive Half Price Book Bucks. Each child can earn Book Bucks each month. Book Bucks must be redeemed by August 30th.

 Check your local Library to see if they have a Reading Program going for the summer. Most libraries have a FUN program each year!

 Apple Stores: Apple stores offer FREE workshops for Kids 8-12. The kids will learn how to use iMovie and how to make their own films. Sign up HERE!

 Windows Stores: Microsoft offers FREE Youth Spark Summer Camps for kids ages 8-13. Kids are divided into 2 age groups 8-10 and 11-13. The "camps" offered include Coding. Sign up HERE!

 Churches all over the country usually reserve one week in the summer for Vacation Bible School. VBS is usually for kids K-5th grade and will have a theme. Time and cost vary by location. Churches do this as an outreach to the community and are looking to provide a week of encouragement and Bible teaching to the kids in the community. Check your local Churches to see when the are having VBS this summer.

 FREE Family Fun Festival at Millennium Park begins June 25-August 10. Check out the info and Schedule HERE. We went to this a couple summers when my boys were younger and it was soo much fun! My boys LOVED it!

 Zoo Fun:
 Lincoln Park Zoo is FREE year round, although parking can cost a "pretty penny". GREAT zoo to visit and have fun at.

 Brookfield Zoo has a cost associated with it. You can visit your library in the City of Chicago and in the Suburbs and get a Pass that allows for FREE admission for a limited number of people in the family. Our family buys a yearly membership which not only allows for unlimited FREE admission but also FREE parking. We live only 5 minutes from the Zoo, so the cost is worth it because it pays for itself in 2 visits.

 The Cosley Zoo is a small Zoo located in Wheaton, IL. The cost is FREE for kids 17 and under, $5 for Adults and FREE for residents of Wheaton.

 Museums around the City:
 Museums very rarely have FREE days in the summer. Residents of the   City of Chicago can get FREE admission to most of the City Museums   using the Kids Museum Passport. Each pass generally admits 4 people   FREE and one must be an adult over 18. Some passes have different   restrictions.

 Suburban residents can visit their local library to see if they are a   participant in the Museum Adventure Pass. Many different Museums are   included and most passes are valid for Buy 2 get 2 FREE admissions.

 The Chicago LakeFront has many Beaches and FREE swimming   available. 2018 Beach Season begins Friday May 25th. For a listing of   Chicago Beaches and locations check HERE.

 The Cook County Forest Preserves have 3 Aquatic Centers. There is a small FEE for these attractions, but it is very inexpensive. Adults (12 and up) are $6, and kids 4-12 are $4, 3 and under are FREE. Check out the locations and more info HERE.

 I found a really nice listing of Aquatic Centers all around Chicagoland HERE. The Aquatic Centers do have an admission price and each varies by location. The listing covers many areas of Chicagoland! Many Suburban Park Districts have turned their "Pool" into AWESOME Aquatic Centers, so check the Park District websites.

 Our favorite Park District Aquatic Center is The Oasis in Bloomingdale. The summer of 2018 the Oasis will have 3 “Discount Days” where admission is only $1 per person ALL DAY. The Discount Days are June 27th, July 11th and August 8th.

 Also, if you are looking for an indoor Pool fun there are a few around Chicagoland. A favorite of my family is the Oak Brook Park District Aquatic Center. Also, Splash Landings Aquatic Center in Glenview and Pelican Harbor in Bolingbrook.

 The Forest Preserves are a wonderful place to explore Nature in and around the City and Suburbs. The Programs and Events at Forest Preserves are generally FREE or very low cost. Family Fun Events abound at the Forest Preseves and include: Astronomy Nights, Campfire Nights, Butterflies, Family Fishing Days, and MUCH more!

 The Cook County Forest Preserves is now in the 4th year of offering Camping for Families and Individuals. The Cook County Forest Preserves have 5 campgrounds that will be open for Families and Individuals to rent for a night or 2 or however long you want to. The prices are very reasonable. Tent and RV sites and also cabins are available for rent. Check it out HERE.

 Here are the websites for the different Forest Preserves in and near   Chicagoland.
 Cook County Forest Preserves
 DuPage County Forest Preserves
 Will County Forest Preserves
 Kane County Forest Preserves
 Lake County Forest Preserves
 Forest Park Nature Center(Peoria Park District)
 North Park Nature Center(Chicago)
 Check them out for FREE or Frugal Family Fun for the summer.

 I also discovered a couple of Nature Centers within Park Districts in the Chicago Area. Lake Katherine in Palos Heights, Lyman Woods Nature Center in Downers Grove, Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Bolingbrook.

 Summer Fun and Learning?? Sure why not!! Take a step back in time and see how the Farms were in the late 1800's and early 1900's, right here in the Chicago Area. Check out the different Living History Farms below. The majority are FREE all the time, but BlackBerry Farms and Naper Settlement have a fee.

 Kline Creek Farm (West Chicago)
 BlackBerry Farm (Aurora)
 Naper Settlement (Naperville)
 Historic Wagner Farm (Glenview)
 Volkening Heritage Farm (Schaumburg)

 Blackberry Farm in Aurora offers a few Family Fun Days during the Summer. Family Fun Days are FREE. The dates for FREE Family Fun Days are: June 6th, June 20th, July 11th and August 8th.

 A FUN day at the Farm and going back in time!

 Check your local Library for FUN activities like Movie Days, Story Time, Arts and Craft time and much more. Libraries are a GREAT resource for FREE family fun, including Family Game Night a couple times a month.

 Park Districts all over offer Movies in the Park at least once a month during Summer Months. Our family enjoys going to Movies in the Park. The movies are mainly from the summer before or a couple years back, but being outdoors, after dusk, watching movies with the family and neighbors is FUN. The really cool thing is that since Movie in the Parks are FREE and open to the Public, you can visit other parks, not just those from your town.

 City of Chicago: Millennium Park will be hosting the Chicago Summer Film Series on Tuesday evenings from June 23- August 25th. FREE Admission and the movie begins at 6:30pm. The listing for the entire SUMMER FILM SERIES.

 Surrounding Suburbs: I have created a Printable list of a good selection of Suburban Movies in the park. Check it out below:

(Click on the Down Arrow and you can download and save this list)

 Check your local Park District, as I only searched and found a few suburbs. Park Districts are a wonderful place to have a Family Movie night and it is FREE!

 Local area churches do a community outreach in the summer in the form of Vacation Bible School. The Dates, times and cost vary by location. Here is a list of some for the Chicagoland area:

Chicago Area Vacation Bible School 2018: 
Western Suburbs
Southwest Suburbs

 This list is not a complete list, so check local churches or ask friends if their church is having a VBS week.

 More places to find ideas for Family Fun and Family Activities:

 Pinterest: Ohhh, the wonderful resources you can find on Pinterest. Do a search for “summer fun _____” and you can find resources for your city or town or idea. I have found many great ideas on Pinterest. I even have a Summer Fun Board.

 A GREAT resource for Chicagoland parents is Chicago Parent Magazine. The magazine comes out monthly in libraries in both the City and Suburbs. The magazine publishes a calendar in the back of each monthly edition with Family Fun activities all around Chicagoland. 4x a year(one for every season) they put a special edition called Going Places. It is a BIG listing of their monthly calendar of events. Check out the website and pick up a copy of the monthly magazine and the Summer Edition of Going Places for some GREAT listings of Family Fun. (not all events listed are FREE, but many are). I LOVE Chicago Parent magazine, it is a GREAT resource year round! Do a google search if you live in another state, near a BIG city. I know cities like Dallas, New York and others have a "Parent Magazine", like the sister magazine to Chicago Parent.

 Chicago Kids is a GREAT online Resource to find fun and activities for Kids and Families.

 Kidslist is blog that updates quite often with Family Fun Activities, Camps, Events and more. Each Friday they send out an email with the Weekend Activities all over town.

 KidWinks is another WONDERFUL resource for Family Fun Activities. KidWinks has a weekly email that they send out year round, just sign up for it.

OakLees Family Guide is yet another Family Fun Resource. OakLees Family Guides are available in Libraries and other places all over Chicagoland. Their website is also filled with VALUABLE info!

 Our family also loves Summer Time Fairs and Festivals. Neighborhoods, Towns, Cities and more have some fun Fairs and Festivals. We really like some of those that "take us back in time" like Old Fashioned Days, Cival War Days, etc. Make sure to check local towns, cities and neighborhoods for local Festivals and Fairs. Also, many towns and villages have "Downtown Fun" nights once a week. Check your own neighborhood and neighborhoods nearby for Family Fun events.

I hope these resources and links are a good start to planning your Summer Fun 2018. Family Fun doesn't mean Spending Money all the time. You can spend Quality family time with your kids without going broke. Use the money you save for the BIG Family Fun Days like Amusement Parks and Vacations!!


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