Twelve Free and Low-Cost Summer Activities and Programs for Elementary Age Kids

Are you making plans for your kids for the summer? Read below for some free or low-cost ideas on different summer activities and programs in your area that might a good option for you and your kid(s).

I can hardly believe it, but our first official summer break is coming up in just a few months. Since I’m a work at home mom, the idea of having all three boys with me during work hours is daunting. I need kid free time to work and he needs time to keep his mind satiated. So here I am scouring the internet and my local mom friends for all the suggestions!

Summer activities for elementary age kids

We’ll be in our new neighborhood as A gets out for the summer. Many of his friends live close by, so we’ll definitely be setting up play dates and encouraging outdoor play.

While I don’t plan on enrolling him in summer daycare or an entire summer program, I’ve started looking for different short-term activities and programs that he can enjoy during his time away from school.

Twelve Free and Low-Cost Summer Activities for Elementary Age Kids

Local Zoo Summer Camp

We’re members of the Detroit Zoo and they offer a fun Summer Safari Camp. A loves going to the zoo, so this is something that we’ll probably do one summer if we don’t get to it this year.

Most local and regional zoos offer summer camps for kids. There is a small discount typically for zoo members. If you have an animal lover, be sure to check your local zoo’s website for summer program details.

Apple Camp (Free)

Apple offers a fun, STEM-based summer kids camp every year. You can check here for updated information when registration opens.

The program is for kids age 8-12 and offers a variety of projects from making a movie to coding robots. I’ve bookmarked this for future summers!

Bass Pro Shop Summer Camp (Free)

Bass Pro Shop offers a free summer camp for the entire family. 2019 Registration information will be listed here.

Home Depot Kids Work Shop (Free)

Home Depot offers weekly workshops for kids of all ages. You can find information here for your local Home Depot’s schedule. There’s a monthly kids workshop for tots, too on every first Saturday of the month.

Themed-Camp Weeks at Local Museums (Free)

Many local museums offer themed camp weeks during the summer months. Most of the ones I’ve found locally in Metro Detroit are actually free. Google all the museums, kids play areas, and libraries for special summer programs.

YMCA or Local Gym Day Camps

Our gym offers an amazing summer program that is flexible and can be used on an as-needed basis. Due to my work from home, flex schedule, I’m grateful to have this option during summer break.

Local YMCAsalso offer similar types of programs that provide (working) parents flexibility to use as needed during the summer months.

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program (Free)

For kids in 1st through 6th grade, Barnes & Noble has a fun summer reading program. This is one of our favorite spots to visit, so it’s nice to join in, especially as A is learning how to read. My inner bookworm is so excited to start reading together over his summer break.

Michael’s Camp Creativity (Small Class Fee for Supplies)

Michael’s offers an amazing arts and crafts camp over the summer. Check your local store for details or on the website here. The classes are every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for kids 3+ for a nominal fee for supplies. The programs runs from June to Mid July from 10 am-12 pm.

Summer Movie Programs (Small Ticket Fee)

Many national movie theaters offer summer movie programs for kids. There’s usually a small ticket fee. But, a great way to get out of the summer sun and enjoy a fun movie for the day. You can find more information on the websites below:

Weekly Sports Camps

A is hugely into sports right now. He’s at the stage of trying all different kinds of sports. He’ll be back with his T-ball team and still taking his weekly swim lessons. But, there’s also a week long basketball program we might have him participate in with some of his teammates.

Sports camps typically have a fee, but based on the organization, some offer low-cost sports camps depending on your area. You can check your local city, county, or regional websites, as those tend to be on the lower end for costs.

Vacation Bible School (Typically Free or Small Registration Fee)

I grew up attending our home church’s VBS program and it’s where I met some of my lifelong best friends. Many local churches offer free or low-cost weekly programs that are typically at the start or end of summer.

In Michigan, they tend to be in June, but I know some summers I have seen them in July or August as well.

National Park Ranger Program (Free)

If you live near a national park, the National Park Service Junior Ranger program is an activity based program that is available at nearly all parks. Some of their Junior Ranger programs as well. It’s a great way to get your kids outdoors and learning more about nature.

You can find more detailed information on the National Park Service site.

There are many different options for summer break activities and camps depending on the area. It doesn’t have to cost a boat load of money either. Keep this in mind as you research activities for the upcoming summer break.

Pin It!

Twelve Free and Low-Cost Summer Activities for Elementary Age Kids

hello + welcome!

My name is JeeYoung, a work at home mom to three boys. Consultant, Content Creator, Chaos Coordinator. This is a snippet of our happy chaos - mom life, family travel, easy recipes, home decor, and simple beauty. So happy you're here!

Shop the Post



enter your e-mail address below to sign-up for our newsletter. no spam, just easy access to content straight to your inbox.