20 Fun and Free Summer Activities for your Children

Summer has just begun and parents and caregivers everywhere are already looking for activities to keep the kids occupied and happy without breaking the bank. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of our 20 favorite FUN, CREATIVE, and FREE activities to do this summer.


    1. Have fun bowling this summer with Kids Bowl Free. Children can enjoy 2 free games of bowling everyday. For details and participating centers in your area, visit www.kidsbowlfree.com.

    2. Attend a free Build and Grow Clinic at your local Lowe’s Store. Your child will receive a free wooden project, apron, goggles, project themed patch, and a certification of merit. Free clinics are held every Saturday at 10 a.m. Details at www.lowesbuildandgrow.com.

    3. Attend a free Kids WorkShop at your local Home Depot store. Children participate in a free project, and receive a free kid-sized apron, and achievement pin.


    1. Plan a trip to the Children’s Museum in your city. The Children’s Museum has partnered with Target to offer Target Free Tuesday every month for children. Check with your local Children’s Museum for times and details.

    2. If you’re a Bank of America cardholder (ATM, Credit or Debit), take advantage of their Museums on US program, offering free general admission to museums, botanical centers, zoos, science centers, and more on the first full weekend of every month. Visit http://museums.bankofamerica.com/MOU_homepage_2009.swf for participating museums and program details.

    3. Visit your local farmer’s market.

    4. Earn free books by participating in the Barnes & Noble free Summer Reading Program. Details at: http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/our_company/community/Summer_Reading/Summer_Reading_Program.html

    5. Visit your local Barnes & Noble Store for free story time and costume character visits (e.g. Clifford, Winnie the Pooh, Curious George, Peter Rabbit and more). Visit http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/our_company/community/Storytimes_Costume_Character/storytimes_costume_characters%20.html to view upcoming events at your nearest Barnes & Noble location.

    6. Feed the ducks or go fishing at your local pond.

    7. Sign your child up for a free Apple Store iMovie Camp to learn the ins and outs of film making. Details and sign up at www.apple.com/retail/camp/

    8. Enjoy the playground at your local park

    9. AMC Summer Movie Camp is offering nearly-free, $1 movies every Tuesday at 10 a.m. all summer long. Most importantly, all admission and concession stand proceeds will benefit The Children’s Charity and the Will Rogers Institute. See a list of participating theatres and movie selections at www.amcentertainment.com/smc/

    10. Visit your local library. Not only can you can check out books or movies for free, but you can also attend free story times and events.

    11. Take advantage of the free trial classes offered in your community for popular activities such as swimming, tumbling/gymnastics, dance, golf, karate, music and art.

    12. Get wet in the backyard! Take advantage of your pool (if you have one), water balloons, squirt guns, running through the sprinklers or playing in the kiddie pool.

    13. Have a craft day with the kids. You can find lots of free craft ideas and printable worksheets and activities online.

    14. Volunteer. Let the kid’s pick out a worthy non-profit cause and make a commitment to donate your time to help others this summer.

    15. Go on a nature walk or enjoy a day at the beach or lake.

    16. If you’re going to be eating meals on the go, be sure to check your community restaurants and compile a list (or obtain one online) of all the Kids Eat Free days and locations near you.

    17. Lastly, make sure to search online for your local free attractions. Most cities will publish a list of free activities and events in your area.

Do you know of other great and FREE summer activities?  Comment and share!

Congratulations to INA Nanny of the Year, Greta Schraer

Congratulations to Greta Schraer of Batavia, OH, recipient of the 2010 INA Nanny of the year award. 

Greta has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Theology. She began her nanny career in 1992, working as a full time, part time, temporary and summer nanny over those years. As a nanny in the Cincinnati area, Greta found that there was a need for the nannies in the area to feel connected and so she began CincyNanny, a website and blog giving the local nannies their own community and families resources they can use.

Greta’s current position is as the full time nanny of triplet boys. Jessica Shelly said, “She makes it a priority to see that not just the boys are taken care of, but that our family unit is supported and encouraged.” Their family has an inside joke – when a challenging situation arises they think WWGD? or What Would Greta Do?

Should household employers be required to offer paid benefits, overtime, and 2 weeks notice/severence pay?

Well, just last week, the New York State Senate passed a bill that would require such benefits as paid holidays, sick days, vacation days, overtime wages and either 14 days notice of termination or severance pay before families can fire their domestic employee. This bill is currently being “reconciled” against a similar bill passed last year and lawmakers expect New York Governor David Paterson to sign what is being proclaimed the nation’s first workplace protection for domestic employees. If signed, this new law is expected to affect an estimated 200,000 workers in New York, including illegal immigrants.

Is this bill long over due and should other states follow suit? What types of effects will this law have on a family’s ability to afford a nanny or domestic employee? Does your family already offer these benefits? Should workplace protection be extended to illegal immigrants? We’d love to hear thoughts from both families and nannies.

See “For Nannies, Hope for Workplace Protection” by Russ Buettner