13 free things to do with family this summer

Looking for inexpensive ways to spend time with your family this summer? Here are some of our favourite ideas.

For some families, the end of the school year means more time to enjoy the great outdoors and hanging out together. But summer fun doesn’t always have to come with a big price tag. If you’re looking for free (or inexpensive) ways to spend time with your loved ones this time of year, here are a few ideas:

1. Plan a picnic

Pack a lunch, grab a blanket and head to your favourite green space for an afternoon picnic. (Tip: ride your bikes or play catch to get some exercise, too.)

2. Hit the beach or pool

Many communities near water may have free beach access so you can swim, build sandcastles and relax on the beach. Other locations may have free community pool hours and splash pads you can use. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

3. Catch an outdoor movie

Check your local newspaper or website to see if your community hosts family-friendly movie nights outside. If there isn’t a free event in your area, consider watching your favourite family film at home.

4. Visit a playground

Lace up your running shoes, pack a cold drink and head to your local playground for an evening of swings, slides and monkey bars. (If you tend to visit one specific playground a lot, consider checking out a different one in the area).

5. Go to the park or garden

A local park or garden is a great place to check out plants and wildlife, play a game of Frisbee or even watch local sports teams in action from the bleachers.

6. Check out the library

If there’s a library in your area, consider checking out the latest selection of books, films and games it has to offer. (P.S. Libraries often have free events and workshops you can attend as well.)

7. Stop by a farm

You can look up family-friendly farms, farmers markets and petting zoos in your area and spend the day learning about animals, agriculture and more. (Some places even have pick-your-own fruits and vegetables so you can take home ingredients for a fresh, inexpensive summer meal.)

8. Host a games night

Whether you prefer cards, classic board games or mobile apps, you can get your family members together for a friendly game night with prizes like “do the dishes for a week.”

9. Get involved in your community

Volunteer for a local charity or other organization to have fun with your family while making a difference in your community at the same time.

10. Drop by a festival or fair

Visit your community’s tourism centre for free activities in your neighbourhood like festivals, craft fairs, sidewalk sales and carnivals.

11. Go for a hike

Get out your hiking boots and explore your area’s trails and other nature zones. (Going at sunrise or sunset may give you the best views for Instagram-worthy pics.)

12. Camp out

If your family has camping supplies, consider setting up tents and chairs in the backyard and spending a night under the stars together. S’mores, optional.

13. Take a road trip

Research your area for places you’ve never been to before and take a road trip. (Think waterfalls, bridges, trails, etc.) You could even make a summer checklist and visit all of the free landmarks near you.

No matter where you live, you can always find free activities to do that are both fun and family-friendly.


Need more information or support? You can contact Kids Help Phone 24/7.