Keep kids busy this summer for less


Summer camps average about $200 a week, with some costing as much as $400. So the Stretch Your Dollar team went searching for some cheaper options, from full day camps to bargain entertainment.

At 300 Bowling Alley off Bunker Hill and I-10, this summer kids 12 and under can bowl for free.

Donna Eyler explained, "It's two games of bowling that they can do every single day of the summer and just pay for the shoes and that's it."

The 300 summer kids club program starts May 27 and runs until August 30. You will have to sign up at the bowling center.

If you are looking for a bowling center near your area, head to There are several area bowling alleys that are allowing kids two free bowling games a day during specific business hours. Check each location for any restrictions.

At the First Tee of Houston at FM Law Park, there's free golf instruction for kids ages 7 to 18 all summer long. But the First Tee organization is not just about the sport.

Spokersperson Dave Harris explained, "We teach kids life skills through the game of golf."

The goal is to empower kids and develop respect others using golf as the basis. Golf clubs are even loaned out to kids who can't afford them.

"We bridge that gap to make it affordable," Harris said.

For parents and kids looking for a place to keep cool this summer, check your area movie theater for one dollar movies.

"That's really good for kids," said student Sully McGowen. "I think they would really like that and also for the parents. They don't have to spend that much and kids can enjoy a nice movie with their family."

At participating Cinemark theaters every Wednesday at 10am, starting May 22, tickets are just a dollar. If you purchase your tickets in advance, it's $5 per person for all 10 movies this summer. Edwards Theater at West Oaks Mall also has dollar movie admission. Days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am.

For parents looking for an all day camp to keep their kids active, there are options as well.

Kay Joshua with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department said, "Our program is one of the cheapest programs in the city of Houston."

Houston Parks and Recreation offers a summer enrichment program at 49 community centers in the Houston area. The hours are Monday through Friday, from 8am until 6pm, at the cost of $30 a week.

Joshua explained, "Parents can enroll their children at the community center by simply completing the registration form."

Activities at the summer camps include arts and crafts, sports, field trips and nature exploration.

If you don't live in the Houston area, check with your municipality to see if they offer a summer camp through their parks department. The cities of Sugar Land and Conroe are among those that do, and some of the camps offer financial assistance to those who need it.

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