Inexpensive or Free Outdoor Family Fun

Last week Team EOD member, Jana gave you some great ideas for free or inexpensive indoor activities that you can do this summer. Today I want to give you some activities to do outdoors that are budget friendly and super fun!

summer fun free

Keep with What Works

The traditional outdoor activities should definitely not be over looked. A trip to the park for a picnic and romp on the playground will never get old. You can take the fun up a notch but being a kid yourself. Nothing gets those kids laughing more than watching their grown-ups acting silly and having a good time.

To make a trip to the park different, add an extra element to it. Go on a walk around the park in search of items that can be used for a nature collage. Find leaves, sticks, unique looking rocks or maybe even a feather or two that you can add into the art. Snap a quick pic of the kids playing and print it out then frame it with items from the park for a keepsake to remind you of the fun you had.

Have Fun in Your Own Backyard

Some of my most fond memories of childhood involve my backyard. My brother and I staged some huge productions along with our mom and neighborhood kids. I can remember having outdoor forts with sheets that had been draped over the swing set, the fence or a tree. This was perfect for enjoying some shade and having a picnic.

We had a large outdoor grocery store one summer too that I will never forget. None of that plastic food for us either! My mom saved boxes, jars, cans and even a bread bag for us to use in our store. I always thought it was great the way she put a brown paper sack in the bread bag to make it look like wheat bread was actually inside. We had a blast playing this outside.

Bike washes were fun too. Get some soap and water in a bucket to wash it all down. Then hang a water hose up on the fence or a tree branch and drape it down, ride your bikes through like a car wash. If you end up in a water/soap fight, even better!

Stop and study the clouds. Lay down in the backyard and find pictures in the clouds. Then when you are finished, complete and art project that reminds you of the fun you had.

Volunteer Your Time for Fun

Want to have fun and do something good for others? Take the kids out to volunteer in the park picking up trash; whomever picks up the most trash wins the “Volunteer of the Day Award.” Or check out the area animal shelters, the dogs love taking walks around the area and the cats wouldn’t mind a few minutes outside for a brush down. Whatever you choose for your kids to do, make it fun, volunteering shouldn’t be something people dread doing.

Go on a Treasure Hunt

One of my most favorite and inexpensive ways to enjoy times with the kids is through GeoCaching. In my house, we call it “treasure hunting.” GeoCaching is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, build relationships and work as a team. You’ll need some sort of mobile GPS, most smartphones have this capability now (handheld GPSs are not cheap) but otherwise this is a completely free activity.

GeoCaching is like a treasure hunt. Someone has hidden a box or container, a cache with something inside at a specific location. They will upload the coordinates to a website so that others can begin searching for it. Many will have themes, I once saw one that contained only orange items. They will have small trinkets inside and maybe a notebook too. When you find the cache, you will typically leave something with it and sometimes take something with you. Some families have a signature item that they always leave, others may bring a calling card. What you leave is up to you and the theme of the cache.

fun summer activities with kids

To go on your first treasure hunt, log into the official Geochacing website and type in your zip code to find caches in your area. I live in a relatively small, rural town and there was nearly 2000 caches listed within 25 miles of my zip code. Each listing is ranked according to it’s level of difficulty to find and will also have a dated listed to let  you know when it was last found. You will need a premium membership in order to do everything with the site and it may be worth the money down the road (Take it from your entertainment budget!) if your family finds that you really enjoy this activity.

This is just one of many other websites like it on the internet. You can find loads of information about this fun activity. You can also add this to your vacation plans. Find caches that are local to your destination. If you are going on a long car ride, break the trip up part way to find a cache and get the kids out of the car. Even better, plan your entire vacation around finding caches! Imagine the fun you could have and the places you could see along the way!

There are so many things to do and enjoy this summer that doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. These are just a small handful of ideas. Are there any that you enjoy doing with your kids, friends and family?

Enjoy the summer!

Photo Credits: Pic 1 from dirk.olbertz  and Pic 2 from luis perez

About Jessica

2 Responses to “Inexpensive or Free Outdoor Family Fun”

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  1. These are some really great ideas! I think it’s especially great to combine the outdoors with volunteer work – then you can have family time while giving back. And if you’re looking for other outdoor games – Capture the Flag is always a success if you can a few other families from the neighborhood involved!

  2. J. Money says:

    Yes! And metal detecting!! Oh man, I looooove doing that – so much fun, and sometimes you get REAL treasure too 😉

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