Free Stuff For Kids in July

Tomorrow is one of my favorite national holidays: Free Chickfila Day! I am only sort of kidding but I have been dressing myself and my kids up for a free chicken sandwich for a few years now and it serves the dual purpose of feeding them and entertaining them. The deal with the freebie is that you have to show up dressed as a cow. They are fairly lenient on this though so a few cut out black spots taped on a white shirt will get it done. If you want to get really fancy you could follow this tutorial from Make It Love It.

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Cows not your thing? There are a few other ways to get free stuff in July.

You can get free slurpees on July 11 at 7-11. They do this promotion yearly and it’s a fun one because you can guarantee you’ll need to beat the heat with something cool.

Half drank green slush

Not a total free one but in honor of IHOP’s anniversary Tuesday, July 16, participating restaurants will sell short stacks, or three buttermilk pancakes, for 58 cents from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Stack of pancake with honey and butter on top

Visit McAlister’s Deli Thursday, July 18 for the chain’s annual Free Tea Day and get a free 32-ounce McAlister’s Deli tea sweetened or unsweetened black tea.

Fresh drink

July 21 is National Ice Cream Day. You can get freebies from Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins, McDonalds and more.

Blue Ice Cream and Sprinkles in a Waffle Cone

To round out the month of goodies, you can hit Cheesecake Factory for half priced cheesecake on July 30 to celebrate National Cheesecake Day. Pro tip: order ahead and pick up to avoid long lines.

Preventing the Summer Slide

As a former teacher, I can attest to how much a student can backtrack during the summer months. There are so many exciting things happening–vacations, lazy days, playdates–that it can be hard to remember to keep skills fresh. However, it doesn’t have to be as humdrum as a workbook. Here are some creative things we do to keep the learning alive:

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Find a PenPal

My 8 year old loves to write letters to her Mimi–and loves getting them in the mail even more! Sitting down once a week or so to share what is happening brings them closer, keeps her practicing writing and grammar, and teaches her life skills like addressing an envelope! You can write grandparents, other faraway family members or friends!

Outdoor Math

Writing math facts on paper? Dull. Writing math facts with chalk or a squirt bottle full of water? Fun! Keep it fresh by varying your materials and location and your kids will actually look forward to practicing math!

Word of the Day

Introduce a fun new word each day–or let your kids pick one themselves. Challenge them learn the definition and work it into a sentence at dinnertime. As the summer progresses, keep track and have a competition. The one to use the new words the most gets a prize!

Basketball Facts

We all know H-O-R-S-E. But what if you had to play to get name the parts of the scientific method? What about the branches of government, colors of the rainbow or the names of planets? The possibilities are endless!

Get Cookin’

Cooking and baking together is a great way to stock the fridge for the endless snacking your kids will do while home–but is also a great way to get academic. Following directions–reading! Halving or doubling recipes–math! Meal planning–budgeting and finance! Making the right choices–health and nutrition!

Family Storytime

Even if you have family of varying ages, you can engage everyone for 20 minutes during family story time. Older kids can read aloud while younger kids draw scenes or hold the book. Its a nice way to unwind after those busy summer adventures!

Free Activities to Beat The Summer Heat

Summer is here! It’s official–and its freakin’ hot already! If you’re like us, school is wrapping up and I am looking at the next two months wondering how we will keep cool, keep our sanity, and keep busy. I did some research on some free (or super cheap!) things you can do this summer with your kids that go beyond just throwing popsicles at them.

Free Bowling

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Sign up to receive up to two free games per child–every week! You will have to rent shoes but otherwise, this a great indoor activity that you can count on each week.

The Library

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The local library offers so much to do! Every summer we do their summer reading program, which can earn you free perks like amusement park tickets! We also attend story time and other programming. The first week school is out, our local library has three different programs for kids!

Toy Stores

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Charlotte still has old school toy stores like Toys and Company that have lots of toys on display. Lakeshore Learning Toys also has a location in Matthews which offer fun, interactive activities for kids. Local LEGO stores often offer building classes, too.

Splash-pads

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Our go to “free day” is a trip to the park–and we always pick one with a splash pad! We bring a change of clothes, bathing suits, and a picnic lunch and it lasts for hours. Many of them have shaded coverings which really helps on scorching hot days. Bonus point if you bring cups and buckets to add to the water fun.

Scavenger Hunts

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We often go online and print out free resources like this to guide outdoor play. Finding shaded wooded areas helps keep kids cool and the guided play keeps them entertained longer.

What other things do you do to save money and keep cool and entertained in the summer? I’d love to hear!

Daylight Savings is the Worst

A lot of us spent the past 48 hours slugging through the day, dragging whining kids behind us. They’re overtired but the sun is still up so they’re kicking and screaming all the way to bedtime.

So, why exactly are we torturing ourselves?

We can thank ol’ Ben Franklin for this one. He realized he was wasting daylight hours and hatched a plan to get everyone up earlier.

He had three kids so why would he do this to us?!

However, the idea really caught on during WWI as an energy-saving tactic and the practice has been a staple in many western countries since then. Although it does save a small amount of energy, the biggest push for keep Daylight Savings Time is actually a financial one.

When the sun is shining, we do more. We go more places and we spend more money. There is a lot of lobbying done to make sure we keep those “summer” hours. So, if you’re tempted to lobby against DST next year, be prepared to go up against….ya know, actually lobbyists.

So, whats the key to coping? As much as it stinks…you gotta go to bed at the same time and get your kids up at the same time. That means that at some point, everyone is truly going to be functioning on one less hour and it may take a few days to sort things out.

The good news is: this means spring is on the horizon! Your evenings can now include park visits, backyard grilling and bike rides. If you’re heading out without your kids (and with the use of a PlatinumSitter!) you can expect to be more alert when driving, to enjoy more outdoor concerts and patio dinners. It isn’t all bad after all. Thanks, Benny!