Summer is just around the corner! And while the kiddos are getting excited about the prospect of no school, you may be getting stressed about the prospect of figuring out what the heck to do instead.

That’s where summer programs for kids come in!

We know summertime can be rough on parents. Your normal routine gets thrown out the window, and you often find yourself scrambling for childcare or quality activities to keep your kids engaged and away from the television.

Plus, if that weren’t enough to stress about, kids can easily lose the equivalent of 1-2 months of reading and math skills during summer. Nobody wants to see that happen.

Related: Avoid Brain Drain. Great Ideas To Keep Your Kids Learning – All Summer Long!

So yea, it’s tough. And we feel for you. Which is why we started looking into summer programs for kids. The kind of enrichment programs that provide lifelong value for our children.

We wanted to share some ideas for ways to keep the kids entertained, active, and learning all summer long, both free and paid programs.

So without further ado, here’s our list of fun and educational summer programs for kids!

We think there’s something on here to fit most every kid and budget.


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Paid Summer Programs For Kids


YMCA Summer Day Camps:

We often forget about our local “Y”, but there’s one in most areas, and most YMCA’s offer some type of summer programs for kids.

YMCA Summer Day Camps provide a safe environment for campers to participate in healthy, developmentally-appropriate activities and learning experiences.

Weekly themes and field trips keep your kids engaged and provide a basis for them to learn about themselves and the world.

The Y is a great, reasonably priced option, that’s worth looking into.


Boys and Girls Club Of America Summer Day Camps:

Another great and pretty affordable option you can find in most areas is the Boys and Girls Club.  

Boys and Girls Club Summer Day Camps feature daily activities and field trips. They also offer different pricing tiers, depending on how many trips you want your child to participate in.

Related: Summer Vacation Survival Guide: For Moms

You can do the inexpensive daily activities (without field trips) option, the daily activities + 3 weekly field trips option, or “extreme” camp which includes 5 field trips per week.  It’s definitely worth checking out.


City-Sponsored Day Camps:

You might be surprised to learn that many cities run their own special summer programs for kids.

From day camps to classes of all kinds, you should check out what your town has to offer!

Most cities list their summer programs on their official website, so that’s a good place to start. And sometimes, the programs cost a little less for city residents.

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Youth Sports Camps:

Is your child the next David Beckham or Michael Jordan? Or maybe they just love sports, and want to stay on top of their game all summer long.

There are youth sports camps out there for everything! Running, surfing, golfing, baseball, basketball, soccer, gymnastics, tennis…just to name a few.

Check out Active Camps or US Sports Camps from Nike to see what’s available in your area.


Traditional Summer Camps:

If you want your child to have the real-deal summer sleepover camp experience, a great resource to check out is

They have search features to locate quality summer camps by region and your child’s interests; everything from academics to art, sports to technology, adventure, military, and more.

Matching kids with the perfect summer camp experience is what they do.


STEM Camps and Classes:

As the demand for talented coders, game developers, robotics engineers, and designers continues to increase, more and more families are turning to iD Tech for world-class STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education via summer programs.

In addition to teaching hard skills for future careers, these STEM camps teach valuable life skills like problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration.

You can check online to see all the available STEM Camps and summer courses iD Tech offers.


DIY Subscription Box “Camp”:

If you can’t send your kids away to camp, why not bring camp right to your own front door? There are a lot of awesome subscription box services for kids that send monthly kits full of activities for a variety of interests.

You can sign up for a three-month subscription, just for summer, and get fun and educational activities shipped direct to you. These kits run the gambit from STEM projects to crafts, cooking to dress-up, even special LEGO kits.

You can also mix and match a couple of different boxes to create your own DIY summer day camp experience, right in your own home.

Check out our list of the Best Subscription Boxes For Kids to get some ideas for making your house a fun learning zone.


Free Summer Programs For Kids


Volunteer Opportunities:

Why not make summer an opportunity to teach empathy and show your kids the positive benefits of helping others?

There are lots of summertime volunteer activities available in local communities! Cleaning up the park or the beach, collecting books and toys for shelters, visiting nursing homes or preparing meals for the homeless are just a few of the many ways kids can volunteer.

One place to search for kid-friendly volunteer jobs is Volunteer Match.

Or, you can complete our Random Acts of Kindness: 30 Day Challenge For Kids program.

It’s a month long calendar with a simple task your child can do each day to spread kindness. That’s one way to create a meaningful family summer!


Library Events:

Remember your local library? It’s still there! Offering great summer programs for kids.

The library is always an excellent venue for story time, but they do more than that.

Most libraries offer free summer reading programs where kids sign up to read a certain amount of books. The library then awards prizes and holds a party for the eager readers at the end of summer.

It’s a great way to keep the kids reading and growing their vocabulary all summer long.

Related: Our Picks – Children’s Books

Be sure to check out the library’s calendar for other special events. Themed activity days may include book readings, craft projects and hands-on learning activities.  


Free Sports Clinics:

Check your local colleges to see if they run any free sports clinics during summer. Many colleges offer such programs for a limited amount of kids.

Your child can learn from college athletes, coaches and even professionals in the sport.

Related: Outdoor Summer Games and Toys Kids Will Love

Every clinic has its own rules, but many allow children as young as 4 and up to 17 years of age. It’s definitely worth looking into!


Vacation Bible School:

Another option to keep in mind is that many churches hold vacation Bible school as an outreach of their ministries.

Members of the church (as well as non-members) are invited for a free week of fun. Kids sing songs, learn Bible lessons, make friends, create crafts, perform in skits and learn valuable lessons in kindness.

Each church has its own age guidelines, but vacation bible school is generally for kids age 3 and up.

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Free Arts and Crafts at Museums:

Many museums offer free outreach programs for children that encourage them to create their own works of art.

The summer programs for kids vary by location, but your child might be able to enjoy craft time, painting, use clay or a variety of other mediums to engage in a creative art experience.

Check with local museums in your area to see what they offer.


Free Parks and Recreation Activities:

Another great, yet often overlooked option is the good ol’ parks and rec!

Many parks and recreation departments set up a summer schedule of day-long activities.

Kids are exposed to the arts, fitness lessons, a variety of sports, even computer instruction. Check your city’s local parks and recreation department website to see what activities are planned near you.


Are you inspired? We hope so!

There’s so many great summer programs for kids out there, you just need to find the one that best matches your child’s interests, without going over your budget.  Get ready for a FUN SUMMER!


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