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10 Free And/Or Inexpensive Summer Programs for Kids in Los Angeles

Updated for 2022

Summer break is almost here and with all that time off from school comes the question, “What am I going to do with my kids?” For some families, camp isn’t an option for a number of reasons (including a conflict of schedules and financial restraints).

Luckily, here in Los Angeles, there are several less expensive and/or free summer experiences for kids.  Below you’ll find a variety of summer programs for kids in Los Angeles to keep them occupied and having fun until school starts again in the Fall.

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Light fixtures in the Downtown LA Library

10 Inexpensive or FREE Things to do this Summer

1. “Today at Apple” Sessions
Multiple Apple locations including:
Westfield Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067

Apple stores offer a variety of free one-hour workshops designed for children ages 6-12. These hands-on sessions focus on different skills including coding, illustrating, storytelling, music, and movie-making.

Session schedules vary from store to store, so check the website for the location nearest you and their workshop session. Kids can use their own devices or one will be loaned to you for use during the workshop. By the way, adult sessions are offered as well!

2. Apple Camp
Multiple Apple locations including:
The Americana at Brand
877 Americana Way, Glendale, CA 91210

Children ages 8-12 can attend a free “Apple Camp” this summer. Dates have not yet been announced, but families can sign up to receive an email notification when registration opens. Camp includes three 90-minute sessions that allow children to “expand their digital creativity through hands-on projects with experts at Apple.”

3. Los Angeles Area Museums
Multiple locations

Many Los Angeles area museums offer free admission days — or free admission year-round, such as The Getty Center and Griffith Observatory. Check the calendar of events for each site; many offer storytimes, arts and crafts, performances, and more.

Related: The Best Kid-Friendly Museums in Los Angeles

4. Reading Rewards with Chuck E. Cheese
Multiple locations including:
20700 Avalon Blvd., Ste. 175, Los Angeles, CA 90746

Keep track of your child’s reading this summer with a special free, downloadable reading rewards chart from Chuck E. Cheese. Once your child has completed their calendar, bring it to your nearest Chuck E. Cheese location to receive 10 free play points as a reward.

5. Kids Bowl Free
Multiple locations including:
Winnetka Bowl
20122 Vanowen St., Canoga Park, CA 9130

When it’s too hot to play outside, bowling is a fun, indoor alternative that still keeps your child moving — and it’s something the whole family can do.

Kids 15 and younger can bowl 2 free games each day this summer at select bowling alleys throughout the Los Angeles area. Parents must complete online registration for each child. Check the website for details and other participating locations.

6. Youth Enrichment Classes
YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles
Multiple locations including:
1553 N. Schrader Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028

The YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles offers a wide range of youth enrichment classes. Whether your teen is just beginning to express an interest in a certain area or is looking to further his or her knowledge and skills, YMCA offers classes in dance, music, creative and performing arts, fitness, and more. Different classes may be offered at different branches; check the website for details.

7. City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks

Parks throughout Los Angeles offer many different free and/or low-cost programs for children during their summer break from school. Parents can select from day camps, historical sites, and the LA Kids program. Check the website for details and to find a location nearest you.

8. Attend a Story Time

Reading is something that needs to happen year-round. Just because school is out for the summer it doesn’t mean your kids shouldn’t be reading and listening to stories. There are many options for children’s storytimes in and around Los Angeles on different days throughout the week.

9. Visit the Los Angeles (City) Public Library

Libraries are no longer just big buildings filled with lots of books. Our public libraries are rich community resources offering classes, hands-on activities and workshops, special events, and more. Additionally, Los Angeles City Public Libraries host summer reading programs, which is always fun!

Related: 10 Things you can do at the Los Angeles Public Library System

10. LA County Library’s Annual Summer Discovery Program

The Summer Discovery Program helps kids of all ages (and adults) explore LA County Library’s resources and discover everything the Library has to offer. Besides reading books and completing activities, participants can take part in the online and paper games that all libraries will be offering, plus there will be fun summer performances and programs, like opera, magic, juggling, music, and more.  

Disclaimer: MomsLA has made every effort to confirm the information in this article; however, things can often change. Therefore, MomsLA makes no representations or warranties about the accuracy of the information published here. MomsLA strongly urges you to confirm any event details, like date, time, location, and admission, with the third party hosting the event. You assume the sole risk of relying on any of the information in our list. MomsLA is in no way responsible for any injuries or damages you sustain while attending any third-party event posted on our website. Please read our Terms of Use which you have agreed to based on your continued use of this website. Some events have paid to be listed on MomsLA.

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