February 19, 2017

Free and Low Cost Summer Fun Activities

Looking for summer activities to do with the family? I’m always searching for summer activities and programs that are educational, affordable and fun. I check local libraries, school districts and even local chambers of commerce for summer programs. In preparing for summer activities, I consider my kids’ interests and our family’s “must-dos” for the summer.

free summer fun activities high res

From $1 movies to kids eat free places, check out a list of free or low cost summer fun activities. Click To Tweet

 

american police hall of fame museum

EDUCATIONAL

 star wars screening

ENTERTAINMENT

 Captain's Grille at Disney's Yacht Club Resort

KIDS EAT FREE

(Please call ahead to local restaurants to verify time and date of when kids can eat free since it’s subject to change)

  • Kids Eat Free In addition to the list below, kids eat free locations nationwide can be found at mykidseatfree.com and kidsmealdeals.com.


    EVERYDAY & WEEKEND KIDS EAT FREE SPECIALS

  • California Tortilla One free kid’s meal per adult meal purchased.

  • Captain D’s Two free Kid’s meals with any adult entrée purchase at regular price.

  • Chick-fil-A Kids can eat a free kids’ meal at Chik-fil-A for Family Night Promotions .

  • Cici’s Pizza: Kids 3 and under eat free from Cici’s Pizza buffet at .

  • Denny’s Kids can eat free at Denny’s from 4-10pm at participating Denny’s.

  • IHOP Kids eat free at IHOP if they are 12 and under daily. Kids can get 1 free kids’ menu item per adult meal purchased from 4-8pm .

  • Steak n Shake Kids eat FREE at Steak n Shake on weekends for every $8 spent.  Remember, offers may change or vary by location, so always call first to make sure your location is participating. Children must be 12 years old or under to participate.

     

MONDAY

  1. Arizona Pizza

    Children eat free with each adult meal purchase.

  2. Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

    Free ice cream cones for children under 40 inches tall.

  3. Brewzzi

    Children under 12 eat free with an adult purchase of $12 or more.

  4. Cinzettis

    Children under 12 eat free from 5-9 pm.

  5. Cody’s Original Roadhouse

    Two children under 10 eat free with every adult entree purchase.

  6. Cici’s Pizza

    Free food for children under 3 all day.

  7. Culvers

    Children 12 and under receive a free cup of custard with each meal.

  8. Holiday Inn

    Children eat free with every paying adult.

  9. Fuddruckers

    Children under 12 eat free from 4-9 pm with each paying adult.

  10. Garduno’s Restaurant

    Children under 12 eat free with each paying adult.

  11. Golden Corral

    Up to two Children under 10 eat free from 5-9pm.

  12. Indigo Joe’s

    Children eat free from 5- close.

  13. Islands

    Children eat free all day.

  14. KC Masterpiece

    Children under 12 eat free from 4- close.

  15. Millies Restaurant & Bakery

    Children eat for $.99 all day.

  16. Moe’s Southwest Grill

    Children eat free all day with an adult entree purchase.

  17. Macaroni Grill

    Free children’s ice cream with meal purchase.

  18. On the Border Mexican Grill

    Children receive a free sundae with meal purchase.

  19. Piccadilly

    Children under 6 eat free all day.

  20. Quaker Steak and Lube

    Children eat free from 5-10 pm with paying adult.

  21. Red Robin

    Children 10 and under can eat for free (and Tuesday in select locations) from 5-9pm

  22. Salsarita’s

    Free for children all day with an adult meal purchase.

  23. Shoney’s

    Children under 4 receive a free meal with an adult meal purchase.

  24. Sweet Tomatoes

    Children 2 and under eat free all day.

  25. Texas Road House

    Children 12 and under eat free all day (check local location for participation).

  26. TGI Fridays

    Children under three eat free all day (depending on location may also be on Tuesdays).


TUESDAY

  1. Applebees

    With each paid adult entrée, 2 children (ages 12 and under) will eat for free from 5-9 pm. (Kids eat free on Mondays at select locations so call ahead to verify).

  2. Backyard Burgers

    Children under 12 eat free after 4 pm with an adult meal purchase.

  3. Bennigans

    Children eat free all day with a paying adult.

  4. Brewzzi

    Children under 12 eat for free with an adult purchase of $12 or more.

  5. Cici’s Pizza

    Free food for children under 3 all day.

  6. Culvers

    Children 12 and under receive a free cup of custard with each meal.

  7. Holiday Inn

    Children eat free with every paying adult.

  8. Macaroni Grill

    Free children’s ice cream with meal purchase.

  9. On the Border Mexican Grill

    Children receive a free sundae with meal purchase.

  10. Captain D’s Seafood

    Up to two children per adult receive free meals all day.

  11. Cinzettis

    Children under 12 eat free from 5-9 pm.

  12. Cody’s Original Roadhouse

    Two Children under 10 receive a free meal per adult purchase.

  13. Beef O’Brady’s

    Children under 12 eat free from 4-8 pm.

  14. Black Eyed Pea

    Children under 12 eat free from 5- close with an adult entree purchase.

  15. Coco’s Resturant

    Children under 10 eat free all day with an adult entree purchase.

  16. Dennys

    2 children eat free per adult purchase from 4-10 pm.

  17. Famous Daves

    Children eat free all day, check location for participation.

  18. Fazoli’s

    Children 12 and under eat for $.99 from 5-8 pm.

  19. Friendly’s

    Children eat free all day and depending on location discounts available on adult meals.

  20. Fuddruckers

    Children eat for $0.99 eat from 4-9 pm.

  21. Gator’s Dockside

    One child per adult under 12 eats free from 6- 8:30pm.

  22. Godfather’s Pizza

    Children under 10 eat free from 11-2pm & 5-8 pm.

  23. Gold Star Chili

    Children under 10 eat free per adult purchase.

  24. Islands

    Children eat free all day.

  25. Lone Star Steakhouse

    One Child eats free per adult entree purchase.

  26. Millies Resturant & Bakery

    Children eat for $.99 each all day.

  27. Norms Restaurants

    Children eat free all day with the purchase of an adult entree, drinks are not included.

  28. Piccadilly

    Children under 6 eat free all day.

  29. Pizza Hut

    Children eat free in the evening, check for participation.

  30. Planet Sub

    Children eat free all day with a paying adult.

  31. Pluckers

    Children eat free all day.

  32. Ponderosa Steakhouse

    Children eat free from 4-close.

  33. Perkins

    Children eat free all day.

  34. Pizza Street

    Children under 9 eat free from 5-8 pm.

  35. Rockyard American Grill

    Children eat free all day with the purchase of an adult entree.

  36. Ruby’s Diner

    Children eat free from 4-close, check with your local Ruby’s for participation.

  37. Salsarita’s

    Free for children all day with an adult meal purchase.

  38. Shoney’s

    Children under 4 receive a free meal with an adult meal purchase.

  39. Sweet Tomatoes

    Children 2 and under eat free all day.

  40. Salty Iguana Mexican Restaurant

    Children under 12 eat free all day.

  41. Siblings Resturant

    Children under 10 eat free from 5-9 pm.

  42. Space Aliens

    Chidlren 10 and under receive a free pizza and 10 game tokens.

  43. Texas Roadhouse

    Children under 12 eat free all day, check with your local resturant for participation.

  44. TGI Fridays

    Children under 3 eat free all day.

  45. Tony Romas

    Children under 12 eat free all day.


    WEDNESDAY

    1. Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

      Free ice cream cones for children under 40 inches tall.

    2. Cici’s Pizza

      Free food for children under 3 all day.

    3. Culvers

      Children 12 and under receive a free cup of custard with each meal

    4. Holiday Inn

      Children eat free with every paying adult.

    5. Carrow’s Resturant

      One child under 10 eats free from 4- close with the purchase of an adult entree.

    6. Damon’s Grill

      One child per adult eats free.

    7. Firehouse Subs

      One child eats free per adult purchase from 4-9 pm.

    8. Garduno’s Resturant

      Children 12 and under eat free with a paying adult.

    9. Gatti Town Buffet

      One child under 10 per adult purchase eats free.

    10. Jeffrey’s Sports Grill

      One child under 12 eats free from 5-9 pm.

    11. Little Itty Bitty Burger Barn

      Two children under ten eat free from 5-8 pm with an adult meal purchase.

    12. The Locker Room

      Children under 12 eat free from 4-9 pm.

    13. Luby’s

      Children under 10 eat for $2 per child from 4:30- close.

    14. Lucille’s Bad to the Bone BBQ

      Children under 12 eat free all day.

    15. Macaroni Grill

      Free children’s ice cream with meal purchase.

    16. Millies Resturant & Bakery

      Children eat for $.99 each all day.

    17. On the Border Mexican Grill

      Children receive a free sundae with meal purchase.

    18. Perkins

      Children eat free all day.

    19. Piccadilly

      Children under 6 eat free all day.

    20. Qdoba Mexican Grill

      Children eat free all day, participation may vary.

    21. Rainforest Cafe

      Children eat for $1.99 in the evening.

    22. Salsarita’s

      Free for children all day with an adult meal purchase.

    23. Shoney’s

      Children under 4 receive a free meal with an adult meal purchase.

    24. Smokin Okies BBQ

      Children under 9 eat free with an adult meal purchase.

    25. Sweet Tomatoes

      Children 2 and under eat free all day.

    26. Zarda BBQ

      Children eat free all day.

     


THURSDAY

  1. Backyard Burgers

    Children under 12 eat free after 4pm with the purchase of an adult meal.

  2. Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

    Free ice cream cones for children under 40 inches tall.

  3. Captain D’s Seafood

    Up to two children per adult receive free meals all day.

  4. Carrow’s Resturant

    One child under 10 eats free from 4- close with the purchase of an adult entree.

  5. CB and Potts

    Children eat free all day.

  6. Cici’s Pizza

    Free food for children under 3 all day.

  7. Culvers

    Children 12 and under receive a free cup of custard with each meal.

  8. Damon’s Grill

    Children under 12 eat free all day with the purchase of an adult meal.

  9. Holiday Inn

    Children eat free with every paying adult.

  10. Macaroni Grill

    Free children’s ice cream with meal purchase.

  11. On the Border Mexican Grill

    Children receive a free sundae with meal purchase.

  12. Piccadilly

    Children under 6 eat free all day.

  13. Salsarita’s

    Free for children all day with an adult meal purchase.

  14. Shoney’s

    Children under 4 receive a free meal with an adult meal purchase.

  15. Sweet Tomatoes

    Children 2 and under eat free all day.

  16. The Locker Room

    Children under 12 eat free from 4-9 pm.


FRIDAY

  1. Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

    Free ice cream cones for children under 40 inches tall.

  2. Cici’s Pizza

    Free food for children under 3 all day.

  3. Culvers

    Children 12 and under receive a free cup of custard with each meal.

  4. Holiday Inn

    Children eat free with every paying adult.

  5. Macaroni Grill

    Free children’s ice cream with meal purchase.

  6. On the Border Mexican Grill

    Children receive a free sundae with meal purchase.

  7. Piccadilly

    Children under 6 eat free all day.

  8. Salsarita’s

    Free for children all day with an adult meal purchase.

  9. Shoney’s

    Children under 4 receive a free meal with an adult meal purchase.

  10. Sweet Tomatoes

    Children 2 and under eat free all day.


SATURDAY

  1. Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

    Free ice cream cones for children under 40 inches tall.

  2. Cici’s Pizza

    Free food for children under 3 all day.

  3. Culvers

    Children 12 and under receive a free cup of custard with each meal.

  4. Dennys

    2 children eat free per adult purchase from 4-10 pm.

  5. El Torito

    Children under 12 eat free before 3pm with a paying adult.

  6. Holiday Inn

    Children eat free with every paying adult.

  7. Macaroni Grill

    Free children’s ice cream with meal purchase.

  8. On the Border Mexican Grill

    Children receive a free sundae with meal purchase.

  9. Perkins

    Children eat free all day.

  10. Piccadilly

    Children under 6 eat free all day.

  11. Salsarita’s

    Free for children all day with an adult meal purchase.

  12. Shoney’s

    Children under 4 receive a free meal with an adult meal purchase.

  13. Sweet Tomatoes

    Children 2 and under eat free all day.

  14. Shari’s Resturant

    Children eat free from 4-9 pm.

  15. Steak n’ Shake

    One child eats free per adult entree purchase of $9.

  16. Texas Land and Cattle

    Up to two children under 12 eat free per adult meal purchase between 11-4 pm.

SUNDAY

  1. Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

    Free ice cream cones for children under 40 inches tall.

  2. Cici’s Pizza

    Free food for children under 3 all day.

  3. Culvers

    Children 12 and under receive a free cup of custard with each meal.

  4. Holiday Inn

    Children eat free with every paying adult.

  5. Macaroni Grill

    Free children’s ice cream with meal purchase.

  6. On the Border Mexican Grill

    Children receive a free sundae with meal purchase.

  7. Salsarita’s

    Free for children all day with an adult meal purchase.

  8. Shoney’s

    Children under 4 receive a free meal with an adult meal purchase.

  9. Sweet Tomatoes

    Children 2 and under eat free all day.

  10. Arriba Mexican Grill

    Children eat free with an adult meal purchase.

  11. D’Amico and Sons

    Children eat free in the evening.

  12. Dickey’s Barbeque

    Children under 12 eat free all day with a paying adult.

  13. Firehouse Subs

    Children eat free from 4-9 pm with paying adult.

  14. Garcia’s Mexican Resturant

    Children eat for $1.49 all day.

  15. Go Roma

    2 children under 12 eat free per adult purchase.

  16. Hooters

    Children eat free from 11- 11 pm.

  17. La Mesa Mexican Grill

    Children under 12 eat for $0.01 all day.

  18. Mel’s Diner

    Children eat free all day with an adult meal purchase.

  19. Planet Sub

    Children eat free all day with a paying adult.

  20. Qdoba Mexican Grill

    Children eat free all day, participation may vary.

  21. Shari’s Resturant

    Children eat free from 4-9 pm.

  22. Steak n’ Shake

    One child eats free per adult entree purchase of $9.

  23. Zebb’s Deluxe Grill and Bar

    Children under 10 eat for free all day.

  24. Tropical Smoothie Cafe

    Children eat free all day.

  25. Tumbleweed Southwest Grill

    Children under 12 eat free all day.

     

OUTDOORS

Looking for other summer ideas? Check out our summer guide available: HERE

Fun Indoor and Outdoor Summer Learning Activities to Help Avoid the Summer Slide

This post first appeared in conjunction with GreatSchools.org. All opinions are my own. GreatSchools is committed to getting the word out to parents about “summer slide” and encouraging the support of summer learning programs.

With creative thinking, Mami of Multiples faces the three-month challenge of keeping her four boys, from 1 to 18, active and learning.

summer learning

It seems like the year just started, yet summer vacation is already here. As a parent, I try to balance the summer months between fun and learning for my children. It’s important to experience quality time together as a family, take a vacation, and relax. It’s equally important to participate in educational activities and programs to help prevent the loss of learning.

Also known as the summer slide, learning loss happens when children and adolescents don’t engage in educational activities over the summer. According to the U.S. Department of Education, studies have shown a notable trend of learning loss when young people aren’t involved in anything educational during summer break. We may hear more about it on National Summer Learning Day. The nationally recognized day is meant to spread awareness about the importance of summer learning to help close the achievement gap. It might need more than a single day to build awareness of something so crucial.

This summer, I will have four boys to plan for: a teen who just graduated high school, identical twins starting third grade in the fall, plus a baby. With such big age differences, I’m always searching for summer activities and programs that are educational, affordable, and fun. I check local libraries, school districts, and even local chambers of commerce for summer programs. In preparing for summer activities, I consider my kids’ interests and our family’s “must-dos” for the summer. And I’ve learned not to wait too long to make our summer plans!

Besides soaking up some sun on a pool or beach day, my boys enjoy day outings. Here are some summer learning ideas that I have found work for everyone in my family and may appeal to your kids, too.

Creative ways to get kids learning during the summer to avoid the summer slide! Click To Tweet

• Libraries: Nationwide, libraries have summer programs that are either free or low cost. Everything from summer reading lists to LEGO building contests, library summer programs are suitable for all age groups. For example, my teen can partake in a college prep online course, the twins can have fun with a storybook contest, and even the baby can be part of a “mommy and me” read-aloud playgroup – all under the same roof.

Don't tell the kids...they can have fun & learn! Experience great programs this summer! Click To Tweet

• Museums: The unique exhibits, special interactive programs, and longer admission hours put museums and children’s museums high on the list for the summer. With interactive displays, especially at children’s museums, kids of all ages have the opportunity to be hands-on and learn on about science, history, art, technology, and various subjects. Many museums offer affordable day camps that focus on a particular theme like dinosaurs, space, or the rain forest. Last summer, our family visited the American Police Hall of Fame and Museum. The museum had historical law enforcement artifacts, many types of different police cars, a touch-and-feel kid’s corner, and a theater. The twins loved getting to climb into historical police cars, watching funny Sheriff the Dog cartoons in the children’s movie theaters, and dressing up as law enforcement officers and firemen in the kids’ corner. My teen was impressed with the historical law enforcement stories and real-life paraphernalia from notorious cases such as indicting Al Capone.

• Children’s theaters: In theaters across the country, award-winning plays and scripts are being performed not only by adults but by a cast of talented children, too. The twins recently saw The Adventure of Treasure Island and loved the play. It was fascinating for them to see characters they had read about perform scenes from the book in front of them. Theaters for young audiences often offer discounted or free performances during the summer where children can see their favorite books brought to life.

• National, state, and regional parks: The vast open space is the perfect setting for a wide range of learning opportunities, from forestry to camping. Families can learn about trees, animals, wilderness, native plants, and geographic elements on guided nature walks or during summer camping specials. National parks also have free admission and entrance days throughout the year that you may want to take advantage of.

Find a local petting zoo or pick-your-own farm to visit together this summer with our list. Click To Tweet

• Petting zoos and pick-your-own farms: As an urban family, an outing to a petting zoo is a great learning experience. The boys get to approach and touch various farm animals they don’t see on a daily basis. Also, lots of teaching opportunities present themselves when kids get to pick their own fruits and vegetables. Visit a pick-your-own farm and learn about agriculture and vegetation while having fun – and then bake a pie together that night with your pickings!

• Zoos and aquariums: Almost everyone enjoys learning and seeing wild animals and sea creatures. Zoos and aquariums have programs designed especially for families in the summer. I’ve seen day camps where kids learn about African wildlife, deep-sea animals, bird watching, dolphin feeding, and more.

• Volunteering: Summer is an ideal time for children and teens to learn about giving back and do community-minded service. Helping others teaches and reinforces social and emotional learning skills and attitudes important to making thoughtful and empathetic decisions. Volunteer Match has a comprehensive list of opportunities that are age appropriate, including virtual options. My twins helped distribute food to those in need at a local food bank. My teen was an assistant sports coach at a youth summer camp for underprivileged children. Both experiences were incredible learning opportunities for the boys. They unconsciously practiced social and math skills and got physical workouts. Just as important, it made them more appreciative of what they have and made them feel good about being able to help others. They want to volunteer again this summer.

Check out our list for age appropriate local volunteer opportunities this summer. Click To Tweet

• School summer programs: Saying the words summer and school together may strike fear and dread in children’s hearts, but actually many school districts offer various summer programs that students might find entertaining – even as they continue to learn. Math and science clubs, music and dance classes, fun day trips, and day camps where children receive one-on-one tutoring are usually free or a minimal fee for families living within the school’s zoning boundaries. Ask your child’s school or neighboring school districts for a list of summer options.

• At-home activities: Looking for an activity to do at home? Many arts and crafts projects can be found online and created using items already found at home. Family-friendly sources for these ideas include: Scholastic, Scholastic Summer Reading, Barnes & Nobles (Free Summer Reading Books), Nick Jr. Summer Activities, PBS Kids, Disney Family , Disney CraftsMichael’s Arts & Crafts, Backyard Exploration, Gardening with KidsSummer Activities for Tweens and Teens.

Encourage learning but still have fun with a list of indoor & outdoor summer activities. Click To Tweet

Even if your children don’t remember the exact lessons learned in the months before vacation, a summer that keeps kids’ minds active will mean they are primed to learn and will likely be quicker to recall last year’s lessons when they return to school.