Free Summer Playground Programs

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Did you know many area parks departments offer free, staffed programming for kids during the summer months? It’s true! My favorite is the program in Puyallup, where energetic college students visit different parks to lead the kids in organized games, crafts, and more. All I have to do is choose which bench to plant myself on!

Some of these programs also include free lunch. This is a program funded by the USDA and designed to make sure that children who depend on school lunches don’t go hungry during the summer months. The list in this post is only those locations specifically offering activities. If you need to find a lunch site (some of which also offer things for the kids to do) use  this handy link. When I checked this, it looked like some were still being added, so don’t panic if you don’t see one near you yet. You can also try calling your school district.

Keep in mind that these are generally drop-in programs. While staff will supervise your kiddos on site, they aren’t generally going to track their comings and goings, and you should not use these activities as a substitute for childcare (you knew that already, right)?

Kent  Summer Playground Program Sack lunch, organized games and activities 10:30-4:30 beginning June 25th at five area parks. Special events on select Fridays and Tuesdays

TacomaSummer Playground Program Organized games and activities; lunch by Subway! Extensive program

PuyallupMonday Madness

Organized activities at area parks on select Mondays. July 2………. Pioneer Park………… Bubbly Bubbles
July 16……. Sam Peach Park………… Sports Galore
July 30…..Rainier Woods Park…. Obstacle Relay Race
August 6…. Clarks Creek North…………..Water Play

Sadly, this seems to have replaced the more frequent Fun Squad from years past. The City tells me attendance at those had dropped off dramatically. If you miss that program like I do already, let ’em know!

Note: There is No lunch at these programs. Lunch is served at many Puyallup schools. Use the link above to find one near you.

FifeSummer Playground Program at Colburn Park next to the pool. Mondays-Thursdays 10AM-3:30 beginning June 25th Drop-in program with staff to help supervise games and arts and crafts. Morning snack and USDA lunch provided to those who want them. My boys got in a little pick-up soccer game and enjoyed monkeying around with the frisbees and jump ropes.

Lakewood-St.Leo’s provides food, and in the past, has also supervised games and activities at the Springbrook site. Still working on finding current info. on that for you.

LaceyPlayground Pals program Lunch followed by structured actvities and play.The Summer 2012 schedule is from 12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, June 25 to August 17, at Lydia Hawk, Mountain View and Pleasant Glade elementary schools (no program on July 4).

South Kitsap South Kitsap School District playground program lunch plus reading and activities with a variety of community organizations

Remember that some cities provide other programming, such as daytime concerts and kids’ entertainers. You can see my rundown of area kids’ concerts and shows.

If your city doesn’t provide kids’ activities, you should still be able to find a location serving lunch through the link at the top of the page. You can also go to a neighboring city. They won’t ask for i.d. or proof of need at any of these programs-just show up! My kids have happened into lunches in both Tacoma and Fife. Honestly? They weren’t fans, but they loved the fun and games.

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  1. Heather says

    Oh no! I am so sad to see the Puyallup Fun Squad is not being offered this year. That was such a fun program with times offered in the morning and in the afternoon depending on your family schedule! 2-4 just doesn’t work for us.

    Thank you for posting this great list!

    • admin says

      I know….I’m still going to double check, but I don’t see it in the catalog, so my guess is this is a less costly alternative.
      I’ll let you know if I find out something different.

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