2022 Summer Reading Programs

Summer is just around the corner. And you know what that means- keeping kids occupied so we don’t have to hear choruses of, “I’M BORED!” And how do we do that?

Around these parts, both kids go to summer school, but we also take advantage of free and low-cost summer programs. One of my favorites is the Summer Reading Programs that are sponsored by both the City of San Diego Library system, but also the County of San Diego Library system.

The City of San Diego Summer Reading Program starts June 1st. You can find out more details here.

The County of Sa Diego Library system has not yet released their Summer Reading Program at the time of this post, but their website should be updated with information closer to June 1st, the usual start date.

If you want your family to experience a multi-cultural world through reading, I  recommend PJ Library.  PJ Library sends free, award-winning books that celebrate Jewish values and culture to families with children from birth through 12 years old.

My kids love learning about faraway places and experiences different from their own. The PJ library books have opened their eyes to new holidays, customs, and ways of life.

Read Conmigo provides free books for kids by mail in Spanish and English to children ages preschool to fifth grade. They are only available to kids in CA, TX, and Florida. We used to receive the books, and they are ok, but my kids aren’t interested in learning Spanish.

Barnes and Noble has a summer reading program starting July 1st. More info here.

Dolly Parton has established the Imagination library, it is available in select regions (sadly not available in San Diego California), and those who live in areas that are participating can receive one book for their kids every month via mail.

Book It has a summer program called Camp Book it, where kids can read, and earn free personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut! Book It is the FAVORITE reading program in my house.

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to sign your kids up for the 2022-2023 school year Book It program. Teachers can sign their classes up too!

 

Talk Back: If you know of any other reading programs in the San Diego/Southern California area, please leave a comment!

East County Residents: Free kids books 12/21/22!

This came through my email earlier this week. Chet F. Harritt STEAM School in Santee (8120 Arlette Street, Santee, CA) is having their annual book giveaway!

  • Friday, January 21, 2022
  • Students, families, and community members are welcome.
  • All books will be displayed in front of the library from 1:00-2:30pm.

Please be aware that parking at the school and the adjacent Big Rock Park is limited. I encourage you to park along Mesa Road and use the path into the park to access the school.

Also- PLEASE follow current state masking/ face covering regulations.

Oh, and if you are looking for a way to motivate you kids to Read... Sign them up for Book It! 

Special Needs Resource Foundation Presents Free, In-person Read 3×3 Literacy Event!

Join the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego and San Diego Family for our FREE in-person event on Saturday, July 24 from 9-11am at the San Diego Central Library – 330 Park Blvd, San Diego, 92101.

Three authors, Doreen Cronin, Alex Montoya, and Reginald Brown, will entertain children of all abilities with a book reading and a unique, themed craft. Parents can gather resources from local businesses. One free book per child, while supplies last.

To Register or learn more about this event, click here.

And if you are looking for something fun to do later that day, check out the Free San Diego Youth Carnival at the Jacobs Center. 

San Diego Summer Fun on a Budget

681517ea18b6760354438c6a7f6190f1.jpgIt’s time for kids to finish up school, and be let loose on the world.

Now that places are reopening at 100% capacity, there are a lot more options for summer adventures.

Free Music Lessons from Staump Music School.

Kids Bowl Free all Summer!

$1.00 Movies all Summer with Regal Cinemas

Free Summer School Lunches (Gotta keep them fed this summer). Lots of locations have events or activities nearby, so you can have fun and have a free lunch!

The splash ground at Santee Lakes is GREAT! It’s only $2.00 per kid (on weekdays, $3.00 on weekends) to play and if you park outside the Santee Lakes, you don’t have to pay to park! Take a picnic and it’s a great frugal outing! We go at least once a week in the summer and it’s always
a GREAT time!

If you are looking to beat the heat and need something free, check out the Waterfront Park downtown. They have a great splash pad area for kids, a really fun playground, and a big grassy area for picnics. Only downside- no shade trees.

Balboa Park still offers Free Tuesdays at various museums in the park. Another free activity in Balboa Park is the Botanical Garden and Lily Pond. Right next door is the Spanish Art Village, which is fun to explore as well. Pack some snacks and make a day of it.

San Diego County has great parks, as do most of the cities in San Diego County! Our favorite parks include Big Rock Park in Santee, Kennedy Park in El Cajon, La Mesita/Junior Seau Park in La Mesa, Harry Griffin Park in La Mesa (great for little kids).

I also find lots of local events and free fun stuff by checking the “Events You May Like” section on Facebook Events.

Celebrate Día de los Niños All April Long with The San Diego County Library!

 

Día de los Niños is a celebration of children, families, and reading that culminates yearly on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. San Diego County Library extends its celebration of Día throughout April.

At 19 parks throughout the county, you can read stories and enjoy nature at San Diego County Library Story Trails! These original stories were written and designed by library staff and we are so excited to share them with you. Choose your location, choose your Story Trail! Each site has two stories for your enjoyment. To find the park closest to you, click here.

And kids and teens 18 and under can stop by your local County Library location any time in April and pick up a Dia de los Ninos activity pack! I’m taking the kids to get theirs this week!

 

FREE Virtual All-Inclusive READ 3X3 Literacy Event (San Diego and Imperial Counties)

 

This FREE virtual event on Saturday Sept. 12, is hosted by the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego and San Diego Family Magazine.

Three local authors, Henry Herz, Margarita Elizondo and Cindy Jenson-Elliott, will entertain children with a virtual book reading and craft.

Each child that registers for the event will receive a free book and craft supplies, donated by the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego and San Diego Family Magazine.

Families who register will pick up their FREE event book and craft supplies bags* through a contactless drive-by pick up. Details will be sent after registration is complete.

Sign up on Eventbrite today! Please register for the county you live in.

San Diego County: www.eventbrite.com/e/all-inclusive-read-3×3-literacy-event-san-diego-county-tickets-115791719149

Imperial County: www.eventbrite.com/e/all-inclusive-read-3×3-literacy-event-imperial-county-tickets-117657008279

*Tickets are limited.

A big thank you to our event sponsors!

Summer Reading Programs for Kids!

With the Covid-19 shutdowns, most libraries are not doing a summer reading program.

If your local library isn’t doing a program, here are a few programs that are online. You can of course do as many programs as you (or your kids) would like.

bookitNow Enrolling: Camp BOOK IT!
Parents, join us for our first ever Camp BOOK IT! and keep rewarding your kids all summer long. Track and reward your kids’ reading for June, July, and August in our digital dashboard. When they meet their monthly reading goal, they’ll receive a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza® from Pizza Hut! We’ll also share fun activities and book recommendations each week to keep the fun going throughout the summer! For more info on the 2020-2021 school year Bookit program, check out this post.

The City of San Diego library system is doing its summer reading program with some modifications. You can learn more and sign up here.

scholasticScholastic has a summer reading challenge in which kids go online to record the minutes they’ve read during the summer. This year, kids can build an avatar, make new friends, earn virtual rewards, and help unlock donations for kids with limited or no access to books. All you need to do is sign up and keep a “reading streak” in Scholastic Home Base over the summer!

RIF

Soar with reading while summer is out with Reading Is Fundamental, the nation’s largest children’s literacy non-profit. From RIF reading lists and a collection of free ebooks to interactive materials on Literacy Central and a brand new Literacy Central app, Reading Is Fundamental has tools for every level to raise reading to new heights this summer and beyond.

Thanks to We Are Teachers for the heads up on some of these summer programs.  The original article has some additional resources that are regional (and not applicable to San Diego/Southern CA).

Tips to Reign In and Out Of Control Family Budget: Saving on Entertainment!

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This is one of the most divisive topics I write about. I am completely serious. Television. Specifically- cutting or lowing your cable or dish package to save money.

This is a big bone of contention for a lot of people who ask me how we live on one income. For some people, they “need their shows“ or they “have to” watch the game every week.

Cable and satellite television is expensive, and now with all of the streaming services in addition to cable, it is conceivable that a family may spend upwards of $300 a month on television. That’s JUST TELEVISION! That doesn’t include movie tickets!

Sit down and gather up the cost of each streaming service and/or cable subscription/dish subscription. Where is there overlapping entertainment?

  • Hulu Plus has a live option, which gives you access to sports, and television shows on the same day they air on cable television.
  • If you have cable that includes the Disney Channel, CBS, HBO, or Showtime, is there really a reason for you to pay for the subscription/on-demand versions of those networks?

If you feel like you are ok with changing your television viewing habits, ditching cable in favor for a few streaming options and over the air television which can be viewed with our digital antenna (which is easy to use/install) and is available for purchase for about $50-$100.

Depending on how strong the signals in your area are, you should be able to receive:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • NBC
  • CW
  • Fox
  • PBS (We get three PBS channels)

There are additional networks that are available in various areas of the county.  Here in So Cal, we also get:

Plus we get a few more Spanish language channels, and one Korean language channel.

Now that you’ve trimmed/cut the cord, what other entertainment do you see/attend/do? We don’t go to the movies too often, but we have a weekly date night budget of $50. I try to get it out of the bank in cash and if we are going out together, we spend it together, but if we are going out with other friends, or staying home with the kids, I give him half.  If we don’t use it one week, we roll it over to the next week!

images.jpgOne of my other main sources of Entertainment is the gym. I try and go at least 4 times per week for at least an hour.  Other places that you can trim and your family budget can include your gym membership. If you don’t require a gym that has the bells and whistles and lots of classes, you might consider changing your full-service gym to a more budget-friendly or discount gym like Crunch or Planet Fitness. Both of them have extremely reasonable rates, but they don’t offer classes or childcare usually.

If you’re looking at something that is slightly more family-friendly, I cannot recommend the YMCA enough! For our family, we pay $69 a month, and that is inclusive of childcare on-site for both children up to four hours a day (two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon as long as there is a lapse of four hours of time in between the two sessions), we can visit any YMCA location in San Diego County, and also have travel benefits if we go out of town. There are free classes for everyone in the family, on various types of exercise from family yoga to family kickboxing to open gym for the kids two-three times a week.

They have great swimming facilities for spring and summer, and the family swim is available year-round in the large pool at our local YMCA. I also like that they have trained people in the childcare/kids club area that know how to work with kids who have special needs, so I never feel like my big kid will be ignored or be feeling out of place. If you are a local and want to check out the YMCA, let me know and I’ll get you a guest pass!

In the past we had some really bad experiences with 24-Hour Fitness. We were also paying a lot of money to go to 24-Hour Fitness (upwards of $120/month Between our membership dues and the cost of the on-site childcare) and I felt like our fitness goals could not be supported because of the lack of support and education with their child care employees.

I also like that the YMCA offers discounted rates/scholarships for military families (active duty and retired), those with low-incomes, or receiving certain government benefits.

As far as kids’ entertainment, our local community library has us covered over school breaks. Between summer reading programs, spring break events, Star Wars Days, Back To School supply giveaways, and Christmas cookie decorating/Polar Express PJ parties. You would be surprised at all of the cool stuff going on at your local library!

 

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about how you save money on entertainment!

Free Reading Event for All Kids at Central Library (San Diego, CA)

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On June 22 from 10am-1pm, the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego and San Diego Family will be holding an All-Inclusive Read 3×3 Literacy Event: 3 Authors, 3 Hours, 3 Times the Fun at the San Diego Central Library.

San Diego Family Magazine is partnering with the San Diego Central Library @ Joan & Irwin Jacobs Common, Binford I CAN, Too! Center to promote literacy in kids from 0-10, put a free book in the hands of every child, teach empathy and compassion through stories and promote summer reading.

Every child that attends will receive a free book (while supplies last) donated by San Diego Family Magazine. We will have 3 authors (Salina Yoon, Sally J. Pla and Andrea Zimmerman) each read two of their books, followed by a craft for the kids.

The San Diego Central Library houses the Binford I CAN, Too! Center serving children with accessibility needs and their caregivers. The Binford I CAN, Too! Center offers access to technology, allowing patrons access to the following:

  • ZoomText: computer screen magnifier
  • JAWS: computer screen reader for the visually impaired, Read & Write Literacy: speech-to-text software, SARA Reader: converts text from printed to spoken
  • Optelec ClearView: 22” magnifier, High-definition keyboards, Adjustable height tables and Assistive Mouse/Ball Tracking.

In addition to the technology and equipment, the Center also provides periodic programming for and about children with special needs. These programs provide children with the opportunities to socialize, learn and have fun. Additional resources include large print and braille books, Sensory Integration Kits for children on the autism spectrum, and parent resource materials.

I’m excited to take the kids to this event and check out the Binford I CAN, Too! Center this summer.

Summer Fun on a Budget!

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It’s here again… Summer Vacation. Soon we shall hear the sounds of sighs, the boredom, and the wailing about how there is nothing to do or eat.

Ya’ll can feel me, right? Ok, so here are some ways to beat the boredom without breaking the bank.

Kids Bowl Free All Summer! Just pay for bowling shoe rental!

Free Summer Lunches for kids– Lots of locations have events or activities nearby, so you can have fun and have a free lunch!

The splash ground at Santee Lakes is GREAT! It’s only $2.00 per kid to play and if you park outside the Santee Lakes, you don’t have to pay to park! Take a picnic and it’s a great frugal outing! We go at least once a week in the summer and it’s always
a GREAT time!

The Santee Lakes hosts free summer movies throughout the summer.  If you park your car outside the gates (there is lots of street parking!), there is no cost of the movies.  If you drive your car into the park, it’s $8.00 per car, regardless of how many ppl are in your car.   Bring a picnic and some blankets and kick back for a fun family movie!

There are a bunch of municipal pools in San Diego that have open swim times, and a couple that have splash pads!

Most San Diego, CA area YMCA locations have fun events for kids a few Saturday nights per month. Our local Y does Kids Night at the Y twice a month. It’s only $20 per kid (Just a little more if you aren’t a member), and your kids go have fun for 4 hours. It’s cheaper than a sitter and a lot more fun!

Speaking of the YMCA- Most locations have pools, splash pads, or other aquatic fun, entrance is included with YMCA membership. If you aren’t a member, entrance fees are just a few dollars (it varies by location).

Balboa Park still offers Free Tuesdays at various museums in the park.

San Diego County Libraries have story time and various kid events each week.  I love taking the kids to the Santee library story time!

El Cajon, La Mesa, and Escondido all have classic car shows/rallies each week that are free.  Most have free live music too!  Check out some sweet rides, cool tunes, and have a fun frugal night with the fam!

San Diego County has great parks, as do most of the cities in San Diego County! Our favorite parks include Big Rock Park in Santee, Kennedy Park in El Cajon, La Mesita/Junior Seau Park in La Mesa, Harry Griffin Park in La Mesa (great for little kids).

If you’ve got a Starwood Managed Mall Near you (We do- It’s Parkway Plaza), check out their fun kid’s events each month called: MallStars.  There are different crafts, games, and sometimes even snacks for the kids (10 and under) to do! Times and locations within the mall vary, so check with mall management.

Talk Back: What kind of stuff do you do to keep your family entertained for free?