The weather is warm, the kids are bored, and you don’t want to break the bank entertaining them throughout the spring and summer. How do you get kids outdoors and have a good time without spending too much money? Here are some ideas for some outdoor fun on the cheap:

Sidewalk Chalk

A big box of sidewalk chalk can entertain a young artist for hours. For kids who want something a bit more dramatic, try making your own chalk bombs (which are exactly what they sound like).

Try geocaching

This is a good one for older kids — work together with your phone’s GPS to find hidden caches. Geocaching is a huge worldwide movement; visit for more info on how to get started.

Backyard obstacle course

Set up things to climb over, climb under, dodge around, and jump through in your yard. Kids can race against each other or work on improving their times over the course of the summer.

Make a cloth mural

Spread an old sheet out on the lawn and let kids go at it with brushes and paints. You’ll end up with a beautiful work of art without the worry of getting paint smeared around the house.

Seek out outdoor movies

Many Canadian cities host outdoor movies in parks throughout the spring and summer — they’re usually family-friendly and more often than not, free. Keep your eye on local listings to see if any are screening near you.

Goop Making

Little kids love playing with ooey gooey goop — you can make your own at home with a little bit of cornstarch and some food colouring (try this recipe). This stuff is messy, so take it outside where the kids can get nice and goopy.

Volunteer in a community garden

Kids love getting their hands dirty and if you spend some time in a nearby community garden you lose the pressure of having to tend to your own garden full-time while teaching your kids why it’s important to contribute to the neighbourhood around them.

Online craft and activity apps

There are a number of apps available to keep kids busy with IRL activities. Our family’s favourite is DIY, where kids can complete tasks to earn badges. There’s a community element for families that are comfortable interacting with others online, or you can just use the challenge ideas as prompts to keep kids busy outside.

Go park hopping

How many public parks have you visited in your city or town? Make a habit of exploring different public parks — especially those in parts of town that you don’t usually find yourself in.



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