Spring is finally here, no doubt! Summer is just around the corner. The season for outdoor fun begins. We had a lot of cold and ugly days around here lately. But now everything looks promising and the sun makes you want to go out and enjoy fresh air, nature and light! Come have some free fun time with your family! And don’t forget to put the sunscreen on and take water with you!
Check out more than 10 ideas for some fresh air activities that are frugal and fun at the same time.
Visit the Botanical Garden
We have a large and beautiful botanical garden in our town. It also includes a Chinese Garden with a Koi lagoon and waterfall. Spring is a great time to go there and enjoy nature’s awakening. It is the perfect place to practice photography or take pictures of your loved ones, too. And as there are no cars and all dogs go leashed toddlers can safely run around.
Visit a free zoo
My little one just loves the tiny zoo of our hometown but unfortunately, it is not free. (We have a yearly family pass though, so we actually don’t pay when we go) However, if we go a few miles by car we can get to a free zoo that comes with a park, a lake and a castle that regularly hosts free exhibitions. (One of those was “The Art of Walt Disney”) When I was a child I loved this place. It also has some paid-for adventures like an archery range that I dearly loved, too.
Go to the museum or an exhibition
Some museums have special times, days or areas that are open for free. This is also true for exhibitions that may take place in a museum, a university, bank or café. Here in the Ruhr district we also have a lot of open air exhibitions or trails to explore. Also, castles and manor houses sometimes open their doors to the public for free. In addition, they often have wonderful gardens to stroll in. I didn’t know how much a family could do for free until I found a booklet about these possibilities. So, go and check your area for free museums und such.
Listen to a rehearsal of a philharmonic orchestra
If your town has one, that is. If so, ask if there are special times when rehearsals are open to the public to attend for free. Go there on a rainy day when outdoor fun is not soo fun.
The mother of outdoor fun. Even if you don’t live in the countryside you usually don’t have to look very far for trails to walk or ride a bike. Find out about hiking trails or national parks in your area.
Watch a sport’s training
Not so much for me, though, but professional teams often train publically and you can go watch the sporting aces. Kids can try to snatch an autograph after training.
Go to an open theatre or open mic night
Some cafés or restaurants have artist entertain guests for free. Of course, you will probably be expected to order something. Also, this isn’t always for kids. Look for free open-air summer theatre or forest stages, too, and …
Watch out for free music festivals
Now the weather gets warmer the time for open air music events has come! Many of them are expensive, and yet you can find ones that are free! Even sometimes big events with internationally recognized artists. (I once saw Michael Franti’s Spearhead for free on one of those after I had just missed their tour gig I had already paid for.)
Explore a forest
Make the most of a stroll through the forest and let your kids find something special. Play forest bingo, for example, or have a scavenger hunt. Bring a magnifying glass to take a close look at plants and insects. Try to figure out what kind of trees and plants you see. Maybe get a field guide from the library or print one you find online. Combine outdoor fun with learning. However, watch out for poisonous or endangered species.
Find a fitness trail or keep-fit-track in your area and have an open air fun workout with your family.
Play Games outdoors
Have a family match with a fun outdoor game. You can easily assemble a few things to set up a game or use what you already have. Or just play hide and seek. You can find a lot of ideas for fun games online. Check out this post of A Girl and A Glue Gun on summer outdoor games.
Have a family picnic
This traditional outdoor fun needs no description. Browse the internet for some fresh ideas beyond sandwiches and soda cans. Read Martha Stewart’s How to plan a picnic guide to get started. Or learn how to plan a picnic lunch with your kids. (I adore the berries in the icecream cone! How cute is that?) I love the idea to surprise my little one with a picnic. She loves being outdoors. So we will have the picnic in our city park near a playground that keeps the little one entertained so that we can enjoy the food more. Pack homemade Scottish Shortbread!
Go to the days of open house or family days
I always go to kindergartens because my little one is a toddler. She can play and explore things there while most of the time there is coffee and cake for me. We have also been to a pony farm and the family day of the University clinic where there are clowns, gifts to take home, games, face painting, a petting zoo, and soap bubbles.
Explore a visitor farm
Not all are free but some are or offer free or low priced days! We have some awesome ones around here that are an adventurous place for toddlers! There is a lot to see and explore. Besides animals, there are often workshops, gardens, petting zoos, playgrounds, farm vehicles, museums or a café. Sometimes you are not allowed to bring your own food to a free visitor farm but are expected to buy something there. That’s totally ok with me because they usually have delicious homemade food there.
What is your favorite frugal outdoor fun?!
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