Free Summer Activities and Classes for Kids

child playing soccer with coach and cityscape in background
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It's time for some summer fun, but enrolling in multiple summer camps can be costly. The good news is there's plenty of free fun to be had that entertains and even educates children while giving parents' wallets a vacation too.

No-Cost Classes and Activities

Find free summer programs for kids that won't cost you a cent and will keep your children busy until the school bell rings again.


Watch a free movie at the theater or under the stars. Many movie theaters host free movie days throughout the summer. Outdoor movies are usually in the park where there's plenty of room for families to spread out with blankets and coolers.

Indoors or outdoors, some free movie events are sponsored, which usually includes games, prizes, and food giveaways. Kids probably won't get to see the latest box office smash, but they do get to watch a family-friendly movie at no cost to you.

Sports Clinics

Learn from college athletes, their coaches, and even professionals in the sport. Free sports clinics are usually held on college campuses for a limited amount of kids. Each free sports clinic has its own rules but many allow children as young as 4 and up to 17 years of age.

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

What's it like to work at a TV station? How does the mail get from point A to point B? Let the kids take a behind the scenes tour to find out.

You can tour many places simply by asking. Be creative when choosing locations to visit. If your kids are interested in animals, tour a veterinary hospital. If they like baseball, set up a tour at your local stadium.


Grants and sponsors make some summer camps free for kids. Art, writing, theater, math, science, and reading camps are some of the themes of these camps. But many also include crafts, field trips, and swimming.

There are even special free summer camps that cover anti-bullying, conflict resolution, self-esteem, leadership skills, and personal safety topics.

Vacation Bible School

Churches hold Vacation Bible School as an outreach of their ministries. Members of the church, as well as non-members, are invited for a free week of fun. Kids sing songs, learn Bible lessons, make friends, create crafts, perform in skits, and learn how to treat others, among other valuable lessons.

Each church has its own age guidelines but 3 and up usually benefit the most from Vacation Bible School.

Volunteer Opportunities

As soon as kids can walk, they can start learning the benefits of volunteering with you. When they get older, they can branch out into their own volunteering opportunities.

Cleaning up the park or the beach, collecting books and toys for the less privileged, visiting nursing homes, and helping prepare meals for the homeless are just a few of the many ways kids can volunteer. One place to search for kid-friendly volunteer jobs is

Library Events

The library is an excellent venue for storytime. But did you know there are even more activities for kids at the library that won't get them shushed? Most libraries offer free summer reading programs. Kids sign up to read a certain amount of books over the summer. The library then awards prizes and holds a party for the eager readers at the end of the reading program.

Or just stop in for one of the library's other special events. Themed activity days may include book readings, related crafts, and hands-on learning. For example, a fire safety day might feature stories about firefighters, a dress-up time where kids can put on a firefighter's gear, and a visit from a real fire truck so kids can see how it works.

Other library lessons can be educational with activities designed to teach kids about computers, stranger danger, and bike and water safety.

Arts and Crafts

Introduce art appreciation at a young age. Museums are reaching out to future artists through free kids' programs that encourage them to create their own works of art. Storytime ties book illustrations into the art you find in the museum. Kids enjoy craft time, paint, use clay, and a variety of other mediums to enrich their art experience.

Parks and Recreation Activities

Playing in the park can be more than an hour on the playground. Many parks and recreation departments set up a summer schedule of day-long activities.

Kids are exposed to the arts, fitness lessons, a variety of sports, even computer instruction. Check your city's local parks and recreation department website to see what activities are planned near you.

Building Workshops

Some home improvement stores offer free building workshops that help kids build everything from a birdhouse to a miniature schoolhouse. Kids get free aprons, goggles, and the required tools and supplies to build their own projects with the help of the store's employees.

The most popular kids' workshops are through Home Depot and Lowe's. Home Depot's Kids Workshop is typically the first Saturday of the month. Lowe's Build and Grow Clinics are about once a month on a Saturday. Check with your local store for dates and times.

Museums and Theaters

Spend a day at a children's learning museum, children's theater, or art museum absolutely free. Target Free Days lists thousands of places across the country where admission is free.

Some locations have a reduced-cost admission, but most waive the admission fee completely. The programs are usually available all year long but are perfect for summer outings with the whole family.


Strike up two free games of bowling every day of the summer. Present the coupons that are sent to you each week and go bowling. Participating bowling alleys are listed on


What's it like to walk through a jelly bean factory or see a motorhome being built? Take the kids and go see for yourself.

There are plenty of free tours for kids and going on a sweltering hot day will get the whole family out of the sun. What's best about this activity, though, is that you can also go on free tours during the winter when it's too cold to go outside. Most companies that offer free tours don't just open their doors during the summer. You're welcome to come just about any time for some free fun.​

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2 Sources
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  1. Walsh L, Black R. Youth volunteering in Australia: An evidence review. Braddon, ACT: Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth; 2015 Sep 2.

  2. Clarkin‐Phillips J, Carr M, Thomas R, Waitai M, Lowe J. Stay behind the yellow line: Young children constructing knowledge from an art exhibition. Curator: The Museum Journal. 2013 Oct;56(4):407-20.