If you're bored on Saturday, September 18, 2021 and live near one of the thousands of participating museums, then you should take advantage of the annual Free Museum Admission Day!
It's rather impressive how many museums the Smithsonian has convinced to participate, but don't let me influence your opinion. I get impressed easily. I once saw a dog wearing sun glasses then spent 10 minutes begging for his autograph.
You can download your free ticket here and the fine print says each ticket allows entry for two people at participating museums and cultural institutions across the country.
So go! Venture out and soak in the free knowledge, culture, and enlightenment! Let me know how you enjoyed your free experience in the comments.
Free Comic Book Day 2021 will feature up to fifty free titles available at participating local comic shops. The titles will be comprised of up to twelve gold and thirty-five silver sponsor titles. Titles will be announced to the public in March and will appear in the April 2021 edition of the PREVIEWS catalog.
So mark your calendar and pick up a free issue for the … kids at home? Suuuuuure, let's pretend it's not for you and say it's for the little ones.
It's been years since I've read comic books. I even tried drawing my own once. It didn't have many super heroes, but starred a kid who refused to eat his vegetables, couldn't talk to girls, and looked ridiculous in his baggy jeans. I guess it wasn't so much a comic book as a journal. No wonder Marvel never took me seriously.
To make matters worse, I harshly learned on a recent date that comic books aren't an appropriate answer to “what have I read lately?” Suffice to say, there wasn't a second date.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you that Sunday, August 6, 2022 is National Root Beer Day. What you might not realize is we get a free A&W root beer float from 2pm-8pm as part of their annual celebration. All you have to do is stop by your local A&W and pick up your freebie.
Okay wiseguy, you're right, that's not all you'll have to do. You'll need to walk inside or at least go around the drive-tru and ask for your freebie. It's not like the floats will be sitting outside in the parking lot.
With summer in full swing (woooo!), I thought it'd be a good idea to compiled a list of all the free kids summertime events & activities.
Check out some of these free events before summer 2021 ultimately ends (boooo!)
It's important to point out that while many of these are traditional freebies available each summer, you may encounter some offers are slowly rolling back out due to last year's shutdown. Therefore, I strongly suggest calling ahead and confirming your local establishment is participating in any of these.
The free reading programs are always a big hit each year. Over 13 companies such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chuck E. Cheese, Pottery Barn, and many more reward good behavior by offering freebies and prizes for reading. Most stores have a free reading companies guide or tracker that you can print at home, fill out as your child reads over the summer, then turn it in for freebies!
At least 17 different cinema and theater chains across the nation, both big and small, offer some sort of summer movie ticket admission deals. In many cases, you can either get free admission or super cheap tickets for G and PG movies. Some chains are also offering discounted concessions and snacks as well.
They're cheap, they're air conditioned, and they're all summer long!
While some states only hold license-free fishing dates early in the year, others hold multiple dates throughout the summer and even into fall! Check out your state's dates and then go reel in a fish or two with the little ones! These free fishing days are awesome. Take it from somebody who learned the hard way that you needed a license to fish 😀
Geocaching was one of my family's favorite activities back when multiple young ones were running around the house. All you need is a phone or GPS to access over 2.5 million free geocaches hidden all over the world! No matter how big or small your community, you'll be surprised how many geocaches are nearby!
In lieu of their annual free slurpee day on July 11, 7-Eleven is giving away a free small slurpeeany day in July! Simply download their free 7Rewards app and the promo coupon will appear in your account on July 1.
To find the coupon, check the “Scan and Save” section of the app once you're logged in. To find a 7-Eleven, drive around aimlessly and navigate only by sticking your head out the window and shouting for directions at stop lights. Seriously, it's fun!
The press release also states 7-Eleven will have a lot of food specials and sales throughout July too.
July 11, is otherwise known as 7-11. At least most of us call it 7-11. Maybe you're certifiably insane and call it Kingfork Day or 7-*foghorn noise*. If that's the case, then you and I should definitely hang out, as we are assuredly cut from the same cloth.
Where was I? Oh yeah, 7-11 means it's free 7-Eleven Slurpee Day! Simply walk into a 7-Eleven from 11am-7pm on July 11 and you'll walk out with a free small Slurpee. Here's their store locator if you need help finding a nearby spot.
Friday, June 3, 2022 is the next National Doughnut Day. Or National Donut Day, whichever way you swing. It dates back to 1938 and dates forward to delicious, scrumptious free doughnuts and donuts and coffee!
So dig out those extra stretchy pants and skimp on dessert for a few nights because we're about to get some free doughnuts and donuts! As always, you might want to confirm with your local store that they're participating in any promotions. I've listed all the confirmed 2021 offers I could find.
2022 freebies will be announced closer to the event date!
If you spot any I missed, please leave a comment with a link to the offer!
Krispy Kreme – Your pick of any variety donut for free! Their chocolate iced kreme filled have always been a favorite of mine since I was a wee little Goob.
They specifically mention it's okay to stack this freebie on top of their existing offer of a free original glazed doughnut for anybody with a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (locations)
Dunkin' – Free classic donut of your choice with the purchase of any beverage. (locations)
LaMar's – They say “Experience the Famous Donut for FREE on June 4.” I really hope experience means eat. (locations)
Duck Donuts – Receive a free bare, cinnamon sugar, or powdered sugar donut with no purchase necessary. (locations)
Cumberland Farms – For the second year in a row, many sites and even news stations are reporting you'll get a free doughnut if you buy any sized drink, but I can't find anything from CF confirming this. They've held similar promotions on past National Doughnut Days though, so I'd call ahead if you're interested in this.
If you have a link or press release from Cumberland Farms confirming this freebie, please share in the comments!
Kwik Trip – Get a coupon for a free Cake Donut, Dunker, or Glazer with your Kwik Rewards card. After logging in, go to “Coupons” and click “Add Offer” to save the coupon to your account. (locations)
Next up in our summer freebies series is a “OH DEAR GOD, JUST GET OUT OF THE HOUSE FOR A WHILE!” offer for all those stressed out parents 🙂 You can grab free kids roller skating passes good at a variety of locations in 36 states.
Once you locate a nearby rink, click their name to see dates, times, and age limits for their free skating. Register an account, then download the MyHownd app on your smartphone. This will be the app that lets you claim your kids free passes each week. Your first set of passes will be available in the MyHownd app on Monday morning following your free registration.
You will receive 2 Kids Skate Free passes per child, per week. These passes are only valid for one week and will automatically expire, but they're replaced with two new valid passes every Monday!
Some locations have a $4 signup fee to register. While not free, these passes don't expire until the end of the year, so you make your money back pretty fast.
As long as you count the backs of cereal boxes, I'm quite the voracious reader. I read on average two books a month and if your children are anything like me, they might be interested in this list I compiled of free summer reading programs! I've been updating this list since 2014 and was pretty surprised at how many of the offers stilled existed in 2021!
Below are all of the 2021 summer reading freebies and deals for kids! Most follow the “read X books, get 1 free” model, but there are a few that differ. Hopefully your little one enjoys reading or at least getting freebies 🙂
I also have an idea I wanted to pass along. With some of these programs, you earn a free book off a list of available books. If your child reads this summer, but isn't interested in the freebies, consider donating them! School and public library are always desperate for books. Donating them to The Salvation Army or Goodwill is another possibility. Regardless, showing your child that freebies can be fun and helpful to others is a cool idea!
Barnes & Noble – For kids in grades 1-6, get a free book after reading 8 books and filling out a Reading Journal by August 31. For adults, share your school's required reading list and get a free tall hot or iced coffee from the cafe. They also have coupons and discounts listed under the right-most “Summer Reading Deals” tab.
Chuck E. Cheese – They have a ton of methods for kids to earn freebies, from good grades to sports achievements to reading in Spanish or English! This reading rewards calendar doesn't expire until 12/31/21 and gets 10 free Play Points with any food purchase.
H-E-B – Texas children can take part in the H-E-Buddy summer reading club. They have to read 10 books and send in this form by October 1 in order to receive a “cool prize,” which looks to be a free t-shirt.
H‑E‑Buddy 2021 Summer Reading Program
San Antonio, TX 78217
New York Times – Every Friday from June 11 through August 19, any 11- to 19-year-old anywhere can read one article in the NYT and write in about why they read it or what interested them. At the end of the week, judges from the Times newsroom pick favorite responses and publish them here. Aside from broadening their horizon's and randomly posting some of the selected weekly responses, there doesn't look to be any “reason” to do this. Still, 15-year-old-Goob would have gone crazy over this offer so maybe there's a kindred Hiffer out there who would enjoy this.
Pizza Hut – This classic program lets children earn a free personal pan pizza in exchange for reading anything over the summer. Parents can sign up and track their child's progress online without any forms.
Public Libraries – Be sure to check with your local libraries, as they often host multiple weekly, monthly, and seasonal events and reading competitions.
Reading with the Rays – Florida children can read anything they desire and receive free baseball prizes! This program starts on May 30.
Scholastic – Now through September 3, kids can log their reading time online as part of the Scholastic Summer Reading Program. Over the course of 18 weeks, kids can unlock digital rewards as they complete weekly reading challenges; and access book excerpts, videos, and other summer-exclusive content.
Maintaining a reading streak will also unlock donations of 100,000 books from Scholastic to kids in rural America with limited or no access to books.
SYNC – This free program offers free audiobooks each week to teens at least 13 years old.
TD Bank – We can't forget the classic offer by TD Bank! Kids in grades K-5 have from June 1 until Aug. 31 to read 10 books. They'll be rewarded with cold, hard cash in the form of $10 added to their free savings account.
Previous Summer Reading Deals Unconfirmed for 2021
The items below were summer reading deals during 2018-2020. If I find confirmation they'll return this year, I'll move them up above.
Amazon – Grades K-8 can read any 8 books this summer and get a free book$1 off your next book purchase. Man, they really downgraded this offer for 2020, huh?
American Girl – Select locations in large cities are being held for girls ages 8 and up. Kids get to decorate their own bookmark and summer reading log and can take home a doll-sized poster.
DOGOBooks – Ten participants who review the most books will be eligible to win a Prize Pack of seven books shown on the site. The next twenty-five participants with the most reviews will be eligible to win a $10 Gift Card.
Half Price Books – This program went virtual in 2020, but they haven't released full details for 2021 yet. In years past, this program started on June 1. Children 14 and under who read 300 minutes over June and July (that's only 5 mins/day) will receive Bookworm Bucks. I don't see where it says how much you'll get, but it was $5 previous years.
Teens can also earn HPB Bookworm Bucks by reading any of the listed titles and writing a short review.
LifeWay – Take your completed Summer Reading Journal to the register at your local LifeWay store to get one of nine books plus receive a free Bible, while supplies last.
Showcase Cinemas – Bookworm Wednesday rewards your little one with free admission to a select children's film when they present a book report. Accompanying parents or guardians and children under six years of age receive free admission and do not need to submit a book report!
Eagle-eyed Hiffers (holy crap, how did you get an EAGLE'S EYE?!) know that my current offspring count sits equal to the number of home runs I've hit for the Seattle Mariners this season. That said, growing up with tons of siblings, I have an inkling for what it's like with bored, moping children around the house. For you see, I myself get bored. A lot. And if your kids are anything like me, it must be insufferable to be around them when they have nothing to do. Plus it's hot outside. we need some cheap, air-conditioned entertainment!
As such, here's a huge list of all the free & cheap kids summer movie events! Almost every theater chain has a dedicated page advertising their summer deals, plus a helpful list of participating locations. So be sure to make sure your local spot is holding a deal before heading out.
I've included both nationwide and smaller, regional chains so as many Hiffers can take advantage of these deals as possible. I'm sure there are more, so please leave a comment if you find any I missed.
Confirmed Kids Movies Deals for 2021
Alamo Drafthouse – Their summer Kids Camp shows children's classics with tickets at $1, $3, or $5, depending on location. Kids earn stickers for your Alamo Kids Club Prize Book and 100% of proceeds go to local nonprofits. You can even buy your tickets online, making this super easy and relaxing!
Cinemark Century Theaters – Their Summer Movie Clubhouse is 8 weeks of $1.50 movies for kids every Wednesday from June 16 – August 4. They're also offering $1 off deals on kids; snack packs, large popcorns & large drinks during Summer Movie Clubhouse showtimes.
Cineplex – Saturday mornings at 11am through July will feature Cineplex Family Favourites. Watch a family favorite film each week for only $2.99 at participation locations, with a portion of the proceeds supporting the WE Charity.
Classic Cinemas – Running June 8 – August 11, take part in the Wednesday Morning Movie Series. Ticket prices are just $2 on Wednesday mornings, with all movies rated G or PG. Movie showtimes will be staggered starting at 9:30am until 10:00am. You're encouraged to arrive early to meet some of your favorite characters and join in on the fun games & activities.
Harkins Theater – Each week from June 11 through July 22, see a family favorite movie for only $3 for My Harkins Awards Members and $5 for Non-My Harkins Awards Members. As an added bonus, My Harkins Awards Members will get 50% off a Kids Combo Monday through Friday before 6PM.
Marquee Cinemas – Each week they offer family-friendly flicks, usually at 9:30 am on Tuesday or Wednesday, with regional sales and discounts. Click on your local theater to see a full schedule and offers.
Megaplex Theatres – Starting May 26, they'll show 10 popular family films over the course of 10 weeks. Individual tickets are $1.50 or you can buy a 10-week pass for only $10, making each movie only $1! This years schedule has movies on Mon-Wed at 10am with sensory friendly shows at 10:30am.
Metropolitan Theaters – Get $2 admission to movies at 10am Tuesday and Thursday, starting June 8 – Aug. 11. You can optionally upgrade to a $10 Kid's Package deal, which includes lunch, available for MetroLux Dine-In Theatres.
Phoenix Theatres – Absolutely free select 10am showings of kid movies every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Doors open at 9am and all ages are welcome. There's also a “special kiddie meal” available, but I'm not sure what's included in that.
Regal Cinemas – All summer long, watch select G or PG family movies for just $1 a ticket! Show dates are Tuesdays & Wednesdays and run from May 25 through September 8.
This deal is also offered at participating United Artists and Edwards Theaters.
Studio Movie Grill – Their Summer Children's Series is every weekday at noon from May 31 until Sept. 3. Tickets are $6 and include a small popcorn and small drink.
Showcase Cinemas – Their Bookworm Wednesdays allow kids to bring in a book report (6 and under don't need this) in exchange for free admission. Tickets must be reserved in advance online and seating is limited
The best I ever got for a book report was the promise of no more book reports.
Previous Summer Movies Deals Unconfirmed for 2021
AMC Theaters – Their Summer Movie Camp program holds kid-friendly movies plus a KidsPack every Wednesday for just $4. This year, the program runs through July 31 and will feature movies such as Trolls, Lego Movie 2, Peter Rabbit and many more.
The KidsPack includes a kid's size popcorn, small drink, and FrootiTooti fruit snack.
Bow Tie Cinemas – Select locations are showing free kids movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am from June 25 to Aug. 21.
Georgia Theatre Company – Join them for the Summer Kid Show Series at 10:00am every Tuesday and Thursday in June and July. They've got $1.50 admission, $1.50 drinks, and $1.50 popcorn.
Marcus Theaters – Every Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday mornings at 10am from June 16 – Aug. 14 will feature a favorite family flick for just $3. Popcorn and fountain drinks are $2.75 as well.
Paragon Theaters – Scroll down to find their Free Kids Movies promotion. In 2019 they offered free admission for 10am movies on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Seats are limited to first come, first serve.
Ultra Star Cinemas – Finally, see a different movie every week at 9:30am for just $1. New movies are rotated each week.
So there you have it. Like I said earlier, please leave a comment if you know of any programs I missed.
The annual free National Pancake Day at IHOP is normally held in early March. However, in 2021, they're giving away a free stack of buttermilk pancakes during the entire month of April!
Veteran Hiffers will recognize this recurring yearly offer, but here's how it works if you're new to the game.
Join IHOP's free MyHOP rewards system before March 31.
Go to a participating IHOP during April.
Eat one free short stack of pancakes.
That about sums it up. You can search by zip code on their site to make sure your local IHOP is participating before heading out.
In lieu of payment, they'll ask you to make a donation to one of three children's charities: Children's Miracle Network, Shriners Hospitals for Children, or Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It's not required, but it's a nice thing to do. Besides, we're all nice people here, aren't we?
This freebie also triggers the IHOP free birthday pancakes offer AND you'll get a free pancakes coupon emailed to you just for joining today! I feel like Oprah screaming “you get pancakes, they get pancakes, everybody gets pancakes!”
This classic, annual children's freebie of a free personalized video from Santa isn't a typical offer that arrives in your mailbox. Instead, you get a unique, personalized video sent straight to your computer, phone, or tablet from the big man up North himself!
This Santa freebie is always a favorite of Hiffers. Well, I'm assuming their children love it more than they do. It's fairly straightforward to set up and you're even given the option to pay for an upgraded video with more bells and whistles, but the free one gets the job done just fine.
Seriously though, a boatload of Hiffers always email me about this every year. And I don't mean some piddly canoe. We're talking gigantic, covid-filled cruise ships here. Every third email this time of year seems to be asking for me to post this. It's actually a nice break from the letters I typically receive. You'd think being told how handsome I am every day would be nice, but it sure can get tiring.