Summer fun on a budget: encourage your kids to read!

I am an avid reader and thus far, I have been able to pass of my love of reading to my kids. There are lots of great summer reading programs available for kids:

*Visit your local library – Use Swagbucks to search for our local library and find out what summer reading programs are available. Many libraries offer story time activities for babies through school aged children which include books, songs, and crafts. My kids love this! They also often offer activities for teens. Check to see, too, if they have a summer reading program where they provide incentives for reading books. My kids and I are going to story time and to sign up for the summer reading program today. They can’t wait!

*Barnes and Noble – Many Barnes & Noble locations offer a weekly story time for younger children (check with your location for details). If you have school-aged children (grades 1-6), check out the summer reading program at Barnes and Noble and your kids can earn a free book! Here’s how it works (you can also check out the details here):

1. Kids read any eight (8) books of their own choosing.

2. Kids use the Summer Reading Journal to tell us their favorite part of each book. A parent/guardian signs the journal when it’s complete. You can also get a Spanish-language Reading Journal.

3. Children bring their completed Reading Journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 26th & September 7th, 2009.

4. We’ll give them a coupon for a FREE book! They choose from a list of exceptional paperback titles.*

*BookWorm Wednesdays (sponsored by National Amusements, available in limited areas): Every Wednesday at 10:00 am beginning July 8th for six weeks. A fun and rewarding summer reading program developed to encourage young children to read during the summer months. BOOKWORM WEDNESDAYS entitles kids to free admission to a select children’s film when they present a book report at a participating Showcase Cinemas, Multiplex Cinemas or Cinema de Lux box office. Accompanying parents or guardians and children under six receive free admission and do not need to submit a book report. Click here for more details and participating locations.

*Borders – Kids ages 12 and under can participate in the summer reading challenge. If they read 8 books, they can get 50% off selected “kid” items. Get more information here.

*Half Price Books: Half Price Books is offering a $3 shopping card for kids 12 and under when they read for at least 15 minutes per day. Check out the details here. Limit one card per week per child.

*HEB Buddy Summer Reading Program – If you live in Texas, HEB is giving free t-shirts if your child reads 10 books this summer. Click here for more details.

*Pottery Barn Kids Book Club – Take your kids to story time each Tuesday from 11-11:30 am. They will get their own “Book Club Card” and a special gift after they attend five times. Click here to find a location near you or for more details.

*Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge – Your kids can join the summer reading challenge here. They will be sorted into teams and they can earn points by logging the numbers of minutes they read daily online. They can earn bonus points by participating in games and polls.

*TD BANK – If you have a TD Bank in your area (it looks like this is primarily on the east coast), your kids can earn $10 for their bank account for reading 10 books this summer. Check out the details here.

Did I miss anything? Feel free to comment and share other great summer reading programs!

Summer fun on a budget: Cheap movies!

This is my first week of summer break and I’m so excited! This entire week, I’ll be sharing ideas for summer fun on a budget. Today’s topic features cheap movie options. The following theaters have summer “movie camps” featuring free or discounted movies for kids. I’m taking my kids this week!

AMC Summer Movie Camp – $1 movies weekly (on Wednesdays) from June 17-August 5 – all proceeds benefit Variety – The Children’s Charity and The Will Rogers Institute. Kids Pack conessions including a kid sized drink, kid sized popcorn, and kid sized snack are $3 – Click here for more details

Carmike Cinemas – Enjoy $1 concessions (popcorn and drinks) every Tuesday this summer – click here for more details or to find a theater near you

Cinemark Theaters: Summer Movie Clubhouse – 10 weeks of movies for kids (all films are either rated G or PG), a different movie each week – all 10 movies can be purchased in advance for $5 or can be purchased separately for $1 per show – click here for more details or to see what’s playing in your area

Rave Motion Pictures Free Family Film Festival – free movies every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. for 8 weeks – movies are G or PG only – seating is on a first come, first served basis (no reservations allowed) – click here for the schedule and to find a theater near you

Regal Cinemas – Enjoy free family-friendly movies (G and PG ratings) each Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. Admission is on a first come, first served basis. Get more information and find out what theaters are participating in your area here.