Summer Reading Programs

Summer time is coming! Check out these summer reading freebies to help prevent the summer slide. 

01. Barnes and Noble: Head into the children's section and look for the stand that says "Escape Into Summer Reading". Grab the list for any kids in grades 1-6. Kids will read a set amount of books (8 for grades 1-2 for example) and turn it in for a free book. The books can be any books, and they do not have to be purchased from Barnes and Noble. 

02. The Book Exchange: I've talked about The Book Exchange a lot on this blog, and it's because we love them! Take your child's report card here and receive between $5-$10 in store credit. Books here are always half priced, so this money goes a lot further! 

03. Local Libraries: Check in with your local library. Most of our local libraries have summer reading prizes throughout the summer. There are also reading parties and events! 

04. Book It: If you grew up in the 90's, you remember the Book It buttons. Book it is back! Sign up online and kids can earn free pizza from Pizza Hut. 

05. The Big Free Bookstore: We love this place! You can visit twice a week and get two new and two used books... all for FREE! 

Free Art Museums In Hampton Roads

I actually love taking my kids to art museums. We always plan to visit the museums in small doses, doing only one or two galleries. Sometimes I make a little scavenger hunt list for us to do, and sometimes we just talk about how some of the pieces relate to things they are learning about in school. One thing that I always do is to set expectations before we enter the museum. We talk about noise levels, running, and never touching the art. 

One reason we love these museums is because they are a great free thing to do on a rainy or super hot day. Here are six free museums in Hampton Roads: 

01. Chrysler Museum of Art: We love the Chrysler not only because they have so many galleries, many of which  correlate to topics from school, but also because they have an ever changing exhibit just for kids called The Wonder Studio.  It's engaging for kids as they can make their own art and move their bodies. For younger kids, check out their free monthly program, Tickle My Ears, with a story time and art activity. 

02. MOCA: Keep MOCA on your radar not just for their always free art museum, but also because they do monthly family days with activities geared towards children. 

03. Barry Art Museum: Located on ODU's campus, the Barry Art Museum has a large collection of antique dolls which might interest kids. We like to visit here and then walk over to get cookies and Insomnia Cookies as a treat. 

04. Hampton University Museum: Composed of the first collection of African American fine art, this museum is a great place to form conversations around equality and standing up for what is right. There is also a room dedicated to Native American art. 

05. The Hermitage Museum: We love the outdoor space of The Hermitage, but the gardens surround the home, which is a free art museum with both permanent and rotating exhibits. We always visit in December for their Gingerbread Competition. 

06. Torggler Fine Arts Center: Celebrating their second year, the Torggler Fine Arts Center is a relatively new museum that is on our list to visit this summer. Be sure to follow their social media for updates, as they do have family fun days and other free events! 

Pungo Pizza and Ice Cream

After strawberry picking, we recently indulged at Pungo Pizza and Ice Cream. Established in 1998, it's a great place to stop with kids. Everything is homemade, and a large group of us was able to split a pizza. In addition to their dining room and deck, there is a game room that's great for kids. There are regular specials Monday-Thursday and there is a VIP program where you can earn specials. 

Pungo Pizza is open Monday through Thursday 11:00-8:00, Friday and Saturday from 11:00-9:00, and Sunday 11:00-8:00. They are located right on Princess Anne Road, close to all of the picking farms in the area.