It seems like this summer is going by so quickly. My kids have less than four weeks left of their summer vacation before they go back to school. There's still plenty of time to have fun while doing it on a budget.
Here are a few ideas of fun activities to do when your kids say there's nothing to do.
Something new this summer my kids can't do enough of is gymnastics. They don't take classes, but they still like bouncing on a trampoline and flipping around. We found several local gyms offering open gym for kids. Open gym is where kids get to use the equipment and work on their skills without a teacher. One place my girls love to go to is Gold Medal Gymnastics in Pinellas Park. They offer open gym on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for only $5 a child. You can find out more on their website at www.goldmedalgym.net.
If your kids like to bowl, you can register them for two free games of bowling a day all summer long. This is part of the Kids Bowl Free Program. Bowling centers around the country participate in this. We have several local bowling alleys participating including: Locally Liberty Lanes, Ten Pin Lanes, Countryside Lanes, Dunedin Lanes, Seminole Lanes and Sunrise Lanes participate. You register online and print out tickets each week. I have registered my girls the past several years for this and they love it. The only thing you have to pay for are the bowling shoes, but if you have them than it is totally free. The website to register is www.kidsbowlfree.com.
There's also a program for kids 12 years and younger to skate for free at local roller skating rinks. You can sign up at www.kidsskatefree.com. You can bring your own skates or rent skates for a nominal fee. Astro Skate in Pinellas Park offers free skating on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Each rink has their own hours for free skating.
I know my kids love going to the movies especially the theatres with the recliner seats. They are pretty awesome! Cobb Theatres offer movies for free on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. Local movie theatres like Cobb Tyrone Luxury 10 and Countryside 12 in Clearwater are participating this summer. Regal Theatres offers movies for kids for $1. The movies are G and PG rated and are offered on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10am. Park Place Stadium 16 in Pinellas Park is one of the local theatres participating this year. There are some really good movies this summer. To find out the movie dates and times go to the movie theatres website.
Maybe watching a movie outdoors is more your style. Every Friday and Saturday nights Pier 60 in Clearwater offers fun family movies for free all year long. The movies begin at dusk. For a list of the movies go to www.sunsetsatpier60.com and click on Sunset Cinema.
Your kids can also go to a Tampa Bay Rays game for free over the summer if they read. The Rays Sponsor a reading program called Reading with the Rays.You need to go to your local library to get a score card to write down all the books your child reads during the summer. If they complete 24 hours of reading, they can get a free ticket to a Rays game. Both of my girls enjoy reading and love going to the Rays games, so this is extra incentive to read over the summer. The Rays also have $2 kidsTuesdays for all their home games. Kids 14 and under are only $2 with a full-price adult ticket.
Minor league baseball teams also offer great discounts. Most of the of the teams have fireworks after the game. We are so fortunate to have the Clearwater Threshers, the Dunedin Blue Jays and the Tampa Yankees all playing in the Bay area. Check out their websites for ticket promotions. Tuesdays is dollar day at Clearwater Threshers. You can purchase a ticket for $1 and most food is also $1.
Make sure you and your kids visit Largo Central Park when they have their train rides. It's something for the whole family. The first full weekend of every month, the Largo Central Railroad offers rides on their miniature train to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Largo Central Park. Admission is free, but donations are welcomed. For more information visit their website at www.lcrailroad.com.
If you want to beat the heat check out the Kiwanis Sprayground in Dunedin at 1937 Ed Eckert Drive. It's an interactive water park open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to sunset. It's free and kids love playing and spraying each other with water. Dell Homes Park in St. Petersburg at 2741 22nd St. S. also has a Splash Pad Water Playground open from 9 a.m. to sunset daily.
Of course there's always aquariums and theme parks to go to that aren't too far away including: Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens and Lowry Park Zoo to name a few. We also have fantastic museums including: Morean Art Center, SalvadorDali Museum, Great Explorations Children's Museum, Glazer Children's Museum and more. Some of the attractions have deals on certain days like the GlazerChildren's Museum where kids get in free between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.
There are so many great ways to spend your summer having fun with your kids without leaving your wallet empty. Hopefully some of these ideas will help you keep your kids entertained during the rest of the summer before heading back to school.