- Barnes & Noble Summer Reading: A real page-turner: Kids earn a complimentary book after completing eight. Grades one through six
- Borders Double Dog Dare Summer Reading Challenge: Avoid the "summer slide" when children choose one free book (from a pre-selected group) after finishing 10. Kids 12 years old and younger
- TD Bank Summer Reading Program: Reading literally pays off when $10 is added to a new or existing Young Saver bank account if 10 books are completed. Children 18 and younger
- Half-Price Books FEED YOUR BRAIN Summer Reading Program: Kids collect a "$5 Back to School Bucks" reward when they read for at least 600 minutes between June 1 and July 31. Kids ages 14 and under
- Scholastic Summer Challenge: The competition's on—dare your kids to break the World Record of minutes read. Enter times online—where they can also play games and collect digital prizes like sample chapters and virtual badges.
- Many public libraries host free kid-friendly reading events.
- Regal Theatres: It's an entertaining way to make a difference. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. select family movies are shown for $1 with a portion of proceeds going to the Will Rogers Institute, which funds medical research and health awareness.
- Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse: More than 150 theatres across the country will offer $1 G and PG titles on weekday mornings. Plan ahead and purchase a 10-week punch card for $5 at participating locations.
- Check the websites for your local parks and visitor centers for free outdoor movie screenings.
- Apple Stores Apple Camp: Budding Spielbergs discover the ins and outs of iMovie during a 3-day course (dates vary) and debut their creations at a film festival for family and friends at no cost. Kids 8 to 12
- Lowe's Build and Grow: Instructors teach how to build projects like a tow truck or binoculars in free demonstrations given at participating stores on two Saturdays a month. Students in second through fifth grade
- Bass Pro Shops Family Summer Camp: Consider it the ultimate outdoorsy staycation: Enjoy complimentary craft stations, archery, a casting pond, food and more held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m. on June 4 through July 10.
- Home Depot Kids Workshops: The future architect in your family will love free clinics offered the first weekend of every month where they create something (like a pencil box or coaster set) and learn tool safety. Kids ages 5 to 12
- Michaels Crafts Stores Passport to Fun: Travel around the world with craft projects unique to countries like Australia, Greece and Egypt for $5 or less on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kids 12 and younger
- JoAnn Fabrics Kids' Camp: In just three hours, children learn how to sew a pillowcase or shorts, decorate a cake with fondant, fabric paint or make a quilt. Classes are $30-$45 and you'll receive a 30% off coupon to use on supplies when registering. Children ages 5 to 12
- Bank of America Museums on Us: More than 150 museums, zoos and science centers offer free admission the first weekend of every month if you're a credit, debit or ATM cardholder.
- Target: Take in an opera or check out the latest sculpture and painting exhibits by visiting target.com/arts for a list of free or reduced-price events. There are 120 participants, including art centers, theaters and orchestras.
- The Association of Children's Museums, The Association of Science-Technology Centers and The Association of Zoos and Aquariums: Free or discounted admission may be available at select locations if you have a family membership to your local one.
- Brunswick Bowling Student Ball Pass: Strike a deal by becoming a Bonus Zone rewards member—kids bowl at no cost daily June through August. Kids under 18
- Kidsbowlfree.com: Children can perfect their bowling talents with two free games per day at a variety of bowling alley companies nationwide. Adults also get in on the fun by purchasing a family pass, starting at $24.95. Age requirements vary by location
- Dave & Buster's Arcade: New rewards members earn $10 in game play and receive monthly e-mails with food and activity specials.
Originally published in the July 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.