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Frugal summer activities to keep the family entertained

Here are some fun and frugal ways to enjoy the summer outdoors either as a family or by getting the rest of the neighborhood involved! What are you waiting for? Go have an adventure! 

Playground tourism. This is an activity our kids look forward to every summer. I usually scope out the best playgrounds in the city online, then schedule to go to at least one playground a week. The only rule is that the playgrounds should be ones that you have not visited before.  

My kids love taking photos in each playground too! It would be fun to make a photo book of your playground tourism escapades.

Geocache. Geocaching is the world’s largest treasure hunt! It is an outdoor adventure that is happening all the time all over the world.

A geocache is an item (typically a container holding several other items) that has been hidden at a location and the coordinates have been posted online.

To play, you must download the Geocache app and create a free account. Then the adventure begins. There are over three million geocaches and millions of active geocachers playing the game. Geocaches come in all different shapes, sizes, and difficulties and are hidden in both rural and urban settings. To learn more about geocaching, check out

Kindness rocks. Think of this activity as spreading kindness around while practicing your creativity and exploring the outdoors at the same time.

Gather some flat rocks, paint them with whatever you love – messages, hearts, animals, quotes, unleash your creativity! Then place the rocks back outdoors for others to find.

A walking trail would be a great place to put the rocks in – might as well get the steps in while you’re at it. You can share a photo of your kindness rocks on social media, with a clue about where to find them. It could brighten up a person’s day when they find one.

Golden hour photography. No need to hire a professional photographer or buy expensive camera gear. Your phone will do!

Golden hour is the last hour of light before sunset. This time of the day produces a warm natural light that makes for amazing outdoor shoots. If you can, head out to the Rockies where you will have plenty of amazing mountain peaks in the background. In Calgary, Fish Creek Park and Bowness Park have hosted our family for these fun photoshoots.

Keep the kids engaged by encouraging them to find poses online they want to copy and letting them choose their outfits. Bring a Bluetooth speaker, blast out fun music, and have fun while taking photos.

Having a selfie stick or a tripod for your phone helps when you want everyone to be in a shot. Make use of that timer function, too.

Backyard camping. If you’re like me, who hates packing everything up to go camping, backyard camping is for you. It is a frugal, fun, and convenient way to enjoy the outdoors by having all the luxuries of home but still being able to sleep under the stars.

All you need is a tent and sleeping bags. Don’t go buying a new one if you don’t own one yet! Check out Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji for second-hand scores.   

Complete the Legacy Trail. The goal is to complete part of the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail that runs in between Canmore and Banff. You will need a bike, helmet, lots of water, and snacks.

There is a picnic area with amazing views in the middle of this 4.5km trail that is perfect for a rest stop. Have some snacks and take some photos, too.

If you need a bike, there is no need to buy new. Check out Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, or your neighborhood’s buy and sell socials. Since kids outgrow their bikes almost every year, this is the most economical way to get their gear. Don’t forget to sell your old ones, too! We got my son’s bike for this year for $20 from our community buy and sell page.

Bike the Bow Valley Parkway. The Bow Valley Parkway is an extension of the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail that links Banff to Lake Louise. There are periods during the summer that this road is closed to vehicles to allow bikers full access. The Bow Valley Parkway is one of the most picturesque highways in Alberta.

Being able to bike on a normally busy highway would be such a thrill for the kids. Also, this road is super #instagrammable so I’m sure there will be a lot of stops for photo ops along the way!

Sidewalk art challenge. Get your neighbors involved! Pick a theme, then have the kids in the neighborhood create artwork on their sidewalk using chalk. You can post the photos of the artworks on your community’s Facebook page attached to a poll to pick the best art, if you wish.

Maybe one of the businesses in your neighborhood can provide a small prize for the winners, or perhaps each household that enters can contribute a small amount (maybe $1 to $5) for prizes.

This would be such a fun neighborhood activity and it’ll help your family get to know your neighbors!

Bubble parade. Have anybody that wants to participate in your neighborhood form a line and march around the block while blowing bubbles. Each person brings their own bubble solution and wand. One person should be playing fun music using a Bluetooth speaker.

This will be such a hit with the neighborhood kids (and kids at heart) that you might need to make it a yearly event!

Lemonade block party. Did you make lemonade stands to raise money when you were younger? That was the inspiration for this summer outdoor activity.

Have any household participating make a lemonade stand and sell a specific lemonade flavor. Each participant should have a unique stand and unique flavor to offer. Sales can go towards the winner’s charity of choice.

This activity encourages each household to be creative with their lemonade stand and their lemonade flavor while interacting with neighbors and doing good for a charity. Doing good while having fun – who’s in?

Have a great summer! 

Fueled by strong coffee and a Gemini personality, Klynne shares ideas on living a minimal organized life full of adventures. For creative ideas on how to elevate frugal to luxury, visit

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