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Fun & Frugal Summer Activities – 2014

summer fun

It’s that time of year again…summer!  While I stay home with my four kiddos full-time, summer is always a time when I want to get out a bit more and have more fun.  And while it always sounds good to “get out”, sometimes our budget isn’t so happy about that!  So, I’ve once again compiled a list of free or frugal summer activities that you can do with your kids this summer.

1. Free Bowling.  Kidsbowlfree.com offers two free games per day per child from June 2-August 29 at High Sierra Lanes.  Kids must be 15 or under, and the free bowling games can be redeemed Monday through Friday, from 12:00-4:00.  Sign up or get more info at kidsbowlfree.com.  I took my kids to this last year for their first bowling experience, and they had a blast!

2.  Dollar Movies at the Theater.  The movie theater is not the place this stay at home momma of four can ever hang out because it is SO expensive to take everyone.  Fortunately, Cinemark.com is once again offering their Dollar Movies this summer.  They play G or PG movies twice a week.  Park Lane theater plays their movies Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and Summit Sierra plays theirs on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  All movies are at 10am.  AND, if you know that you are going to the movies each week, you can buy a pass at the beginning of the summer for $5 for all 10 movies ($.50 each).  I was completely surprised last year at the quietness of the theaters considering they were packed full of kids!  We would also pop our own popcorn at home and occasionally buy a candy from the Dollar Store to take with us.  

3.  Lazy 5 Water Park.  Lazy 5 is an awesome splash pad park out Pyramid (7100 Pyramid Way).  They are open Wednesdays-Sundays from 10am-5pm.  The cost is $3/person, and children 2 & under and seniors are free.  It opens Memorial Day weekend and then open each weekend until June 14th when they are open for the summer.

4.  North Valleys Waterpark.  This is a new splash pad opening this year located at 8085 Silver Lake Road.  They are open everyday from 10am-5pm.  The cost is $3/person, and children 2 & under and seniors are free.  It opens Memorial Day weekend and then open each weekend until June 14th when they are open for the summer.

5.  Home Depot.  Did you know that the Home Depot stores hold a free kids workshop on the first Saturdays of the month?

June 7, 9am-12pm: Build a Riding Lawnmower

July 5th, 9am-12pm: Build a Bug House

They update the site to show just the next two months’ projects, so check back later for the August workshop details.

6.  Wilbur D. May Center at Rancho San Rafael Park – “The Discover Room.”  From June 18-August 8, the Discovery Room will be open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10-1.  Wednesdays will include crafts on the porch, and Fridays will have storytelling at 11am.  Each week will have a different theme:

June 18-20: Trains

June 25-27: Cowboys

(Closed July 2-4)

July 9-11: Law Enforcement

July 16-18: Bears

July 23-25: Birds

July 30-August 1: Water Fun

August 6-8: Fairies

The Discovery Room is free, but donations are appreciated.  For more info, visit maycenter.com .

7.  Sierra Safari Zoo.  Visit this local zoo on the first Mondays of the month (excluding holidays) to receive half off your admission.  Visit sierrasafarizoo.org for more info.

8.  Discovery Museum.  Although the Discovery Museum can be a little pricey for a bigger family like mine ($8/person), buy a yearly family pass and it’s a steal!  For $85 a year, you can go anytime with your family.  We like to use this on the really hot summer days to get out without the heat!

9.  Deer Park Pool.  Deer Park Pool is located at 1700 Prater Way.  They will be open from June 16-August 10, and on Fridays between 1:00-4:30, you can get in for just $1/person!

10.  Washoe County Libraries.  Although there are quite a few options, my favorite is the South Valleys library.  You can visit for:

Story Time on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11:15am

Toddler Time on Thursdays and Fridays at 10:30am

They also have fun events like family movies.  June 24th at 4:00pm you can show up to watch Frozen with your family!  Visit HERE to check out the monthly calendars.

11.  Reno’s Artown has many fun and free activities in which kids can participate, like the free improv acting class on July 3 for 6-12 year olds.  Find different events HERE or workshops HERE.

12.  My kids always love checking out the farmer’s markets around town, even if we don’t buy anything.  Sometimes they each just pick and buy a juicy peach or a bunch of grapes and we walk around looking at the different vendors.  You find a huge list of Reno area farmer’s markets HERE.

13.  For those “way too hot to go outside days”, consider signing up for Barnes and Noble’s Summer Reading program.  When your child reads 8 books, he/she can bring in their reading journal for a FREE book!

14.  Apple Stores are offering a three day “Apple Camp” for 8-12 year olds, and it’s totally FREE!  Kids get to “learn how to shoot their own footage, create an original song in GarageBand on an iPad, and put it all together in iMovie on a Mac.”  This three-day camp ends with campers “debuting their masterpieces at the Apple Camp Film Festival.”  I have no idea when this will take place, or even if our Reno Apple Store is participating (it appears that it is at all their retail stores, but I’m not positive).  But, if you want to be put on their email list for notification of details pertaining to the camp, you can go HERE.

There are so many inexpensive or free things going on this summer in Reno for our kiddos!  There is no reason at all that we should EVER hear “I’m bored,” and certainly no reason to blow our budgets!

Do you know of some other fun, frugal activities for the kids this summer?  Help a momma out and share it in the comments below!

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About Jessica Locke

Jessica Locke
Jessica Locke is a wife and stay-at-home mom of four children ages 5 and under. She is a new homeschooling mom who swore she’d NEVER ever even possibly consider homeschooling her children. She loves finding creative ways to stretch her small budget, drinking chai, writing, and eating anything with a peanut butter and chocolate combination. You can check out her latest thoughts on life as a mom, creative tutorials, activities for kids, and easy recipes on her blog, “Mothering With Creativity.”

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