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Toronto, Canada

312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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30 Ways to Have Fun This Summer for $10 or less!

Written by Melissa Robertson

Sun’s out and it is time to have some family fun-no matter what your budget. Take a look at PLN’s guide to getting outside this summer and making some memories at every price point.


Take meals on the road-Summer is infamous for fun meals that can easily travel. Hotdogs? Check. Watermelon? Check! Turning a boring Tuesday night into a fun new tradition with a simple picnic? Check!

After dinner explorations-Take advantage of daylight savings and enjoy some after dinner exercise as a family. It’s a great way to stay fit and get some extra fresh air to tire out the kids.

Stay cool-Many communities have some of the cool splash pads in the area to stay cool for free! Take it up a notch by discovering new parks in the area and don’t forget the sunscreen!

Wash the car-Put on bathing suits and let the kids go to town with a bucket, some sponges, and free rein to have some good clean fun.

Bowling-Check out the list of bowling centres in Canada that offer two free games a day for kids!

Sleep under the stars-Take a trial run to see if you have what it takes to camp as a family by trying it out in the backyard. The best part is the trip home is pretty short if things start falling apart.

Fun in Town-Check out the local community events in your area. Many offer free movies or music in the park, festivals, and other events that are free of charge.

Take a bath outdoors-Summertime is notoriously messy; from drippy popsicles to sandboxes full of fun, kids need bath time now more than ever. For a fun twist, fill up the kiddie pool with baby shampoo and let the kids get clean in the backyard. They can cool off and get clean.

Enjoy the library-The library is a family-friendly destination that is not only free but lots of fun. Not only can kids check out books, music, and movies, but there are often playgroups, events, and toys on hand for extra fun.

Geo-caching-A super fun scavenger hunt that is perfect for the whole family. Just download an app, many are free, like this one and you can start hunting treasure. If you plan on taking the prize once you find the ‘cache’ then you will be expected to replace it with something else (usually dollar store fare) but you can choose to put it back and it will be completely free!

$5 or less

Feed the need-All it takes is some peanuts or bird seed and you have a fun family outing to feed the birds and chipmunks at your local conservation area. It’s a picture-perfect way to get some great candid shots of the kids enjoying nature. It gets the family out of the house and it helps out our furry and feathery friends!

Sweet treat-While five dollars isn’t enough to take the family out for ice cream, it is enough to grab some sweet treats from the grocery store. Whether you want to share a pint, buy a dozen freezies or a pack of popsicles, you can take a family walk and then enjoy your sweet reward.

Happy rocks-Painting rocks is a fun way to allow little ones to explore with paint. Simply gather rocks from your local green spaces, and then add a little bit of paint from your local dollar store. Parents can get in on the fun. Simply add some motivating words, seal with clear coat and then have fun hiding around the neighbourhood. Check out The Kindness Rocks Project for some inspiration.

Art fun-There are lots of affordable art projects available from materials found at the dollar store. Check out this blog and follow PLN on Pinterest for more inspiration.

Bubbles-Of course you can grab a few bottles and create some fun or you can take it to the next level by making your own mixture and crafting these cool bubble wands.

Photo courtesy of Mommee Friends of Long Island

Help them grow-Gardening is a fun way to teach your kids basic science and a love of nature. You can get some simple seeds to help them grow their own food or share perennials with neighbours and family to spread the love.  

Water balloons-Invite the neighbourhood kids over for some fun and a cool down by filling up some water balloons for an epic battle.

Glow stick dance party-Grab some glow sticks and throw on Just Dance on YouTube for some fit family fun.

Check out a workshop: Many stores in Canada offer free or low-cost workshops. You may have to pre-register so be sure to check with your local Michaels, Toys R Us or Home Depot.

Bug out-Grab a bug house from your local dollar store and go on a search for some creepy crawlies.

$10 and under

Catch a flick: Many theatres offer reduced pricing for older movies during special showings. For under $10, you can get two tickets-perfect if you are unsure if your little one is ready to sit through a show.

Bake from scratch: Let your kids take the lead and find some great baking recipes that you can make from scratch. Too hot to bake? You can always try this amazing microwave cake recipe! Make some treats and then share them with some neighbours or invite some family over to share in the sugar.

Photo courtesy of Bigger Bolder Baking

Do a lemonade stand– This is a project that can be as creative or simple as your tastes. It can be as simple as a card table and a sign or it could be constructed from lumber and used year after year. You can get the kids involved in charitable efforts by donating your proceeds to a local charity, such as the animal shelter.

Let them take the lead in the kitchen-A great way to get your kids to try new foods is to involve them in the preparation and cooking of them. Let your kids pick out a fun new ingredient or recipe to try and then let them be your sous chef in the kitchen!

Do kid-friendly science experiments-Inspiring a love of science doesn’t take a lot of time or money! Check out this site where they even rate the mess factor so you know what you are getting into beforehand!

Make slime-While slime can be messy and annoying, kids are absolutely obsessed with it. You can always use it as a reward after a family clean-or if a reward chart has been filled out. If you want an easier recipe for little ones you can always try the old cornstarch and water recipe or make your own playdough.

Go thrift shopping-Have your kids help out with chores all week and then grab some change and hit the local thrift store or get up early and hit the neighbourhood garage sales. It’s a great way to introduce new toys that are both thrifty and environmentally friendly.

Eat pizza in the park-Instead of the boring old Friday night ritual, grab a walk-in special and head to the local park for some outdoor fun and family memories.

Go berry picking-Get some fresh local produce and support local farmers while making family memories.

Fly a kite– The fact that you probably haven’t flown a kite in years will only make this activity even more fun. While you can buy cheap kites at many retailers or even dollar stores, you can always take it up a notice and try to make your own.

So PLNers, what items are you going to add to your summer bucket list? Be sure to bookmark this page to come back to the moment one of your kids complains about being bored this summer (or you can always suggest chores!) Let us know in the comments what your favourite frugal family activities are.


*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.