Investing in Family: Cheap Summer Family Fun

It's that time of the year again. Kids have left backpacks and school books behind and long summer days stretch on for hours, just begging to be filled. Moms and dads are trying not to pull their hair out because it's barely July. You know - it's summer. If you're looking for things to do with your kiddos you both can enjoy that won't break the bank, read on for two frugal options for cheap family summer fun.

Hit the Lanes
I stumbled on a great national program recently that could potentially help fill some of those long summer hours: Kids Bowl Free. Much as the name implies, this is a program which provides free bowling games to kids throughout the summer. Kids who fall below the age limit are eligible to receive two free games of bowling every day during the summer months. Age limits are set by each individual bowling center participating in the program (my local bowling lanes have an age limit of 15, but I saw 18 as the limit on other centers). The local centers also set the dates in which your children can redeem free games (it might be May 1 - September 7 or May 31 - August 15 or another date range; it varies).

Interested? It's pretty easy to get your kiddos signed up and bowling. First, head over to the Kid Bowl Free website. Find your state and then the bowling center closest to you. Check out the details (age range, date range, times allowed for free bowling, etc.) and if all looks good to you, sign up!

Some important notes: shoe rental is not included with the free games, however some of the centers I've checked out seem to offer a package deal on shoe rental. Also, the free games are just for your kids, but the program also has a family pass option to allow parents and older siblings the chance to play alongside the younger kids. Typically, these passes run $24.95 and allow the same two games of bowling every day for up to four adults.

Cheap Flicks
There's nothing quite like heading out to take in a movie on the big screen in air-conditioned comfort. Regular tickets can get pricey, though, especially if you have a couple of rugrats in tow. Enter Regal Entertainment Group's Summer Movie Express. For nine glorious weeks this summer, you and your kiddos can take in films (rated G or PG) at Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards Theaters on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for a buck. To find a theater near you, and to check out what movies are showing on what dates, head here.

You can also check out a local blog or do your own google search for other free or cheap movie options near you. For example, in my neck of the woods, Buffalo's Central Library hosts free movies for kids each week, and another local movie theater offers cheap kid flicks every Saturday.

So there you have it - two cheap-o ways to help pass these summer days with your family. What things will you and your family be doing this summer?

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Anonymous's picture

AverageJoe wrote:

Fri, 07/13/2012 - 11:57 Comment #: 1

Great ideas. I've never heard of the Kids Bowl Free thing. I love bowling even though I pretty much stink at it.

Melinda Gregory's picture

Melinda Gregory wrote:

Fri, 07/13/2012 - 21:50 Comment #: 2

I'm terrible at bowling... but it's fun, especially with the kids! I'm surprised at how many people don't know about the Kids Bowl Free program.

Anonymous's picture

AverageJoe wrote:

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 00:12 Comment #: 3

I'm horrible, too, but that's the point, isn't it? ;-)

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