Hunger isn’t the only problem kids face during the summer. Boredom is a summer adversary for many parents during July and August, when kids are no longer kept busy with school curriculum. It usually isn’t long before parents hear those two dreaded words, “I’m bored.” As adults, we don’t necessarily get the same amount of free time during the summer, so it can be hard to come up with enough ideas to keep kids busy for two months. For families with tight budgets, finding inexpensive activities can be even tougher.
Our league of summer superheroes is here to help out! Here’s our list of 17 free (or almost free) activities you can do with your kids this summer in Calgary:
- Pack a picnic and head to one of Calgary’s parks
You can put down a blanket and spread out your basket of goodies in any of Calgary’s parks from 5 am until 11 pm. So there’s plenty of time to relax, enjoy your picnic and toss around your Frisbee before it gets dark.
- Cool off at your local wading pool or spray park
The City’s wading pools and spray parks are typically open from mid June until fall so there’s no shortage of splashing opportunities this summer.
- Take a family bike ride
Did you know Calgary has 960 km of bike paths? Take advantage of these safe routes all throughout the city to get some exercise and explore. Check out the city’s bikeways map and get out there.
- Shaw Millennium Park
Shaw Millennium Park isn’t just for the older kids. With over 75,000 square feet of skateable surfaces, there’s enough room in this family activity park for everyone.
- Inglewood Bird Sanctuary
The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre is a great place to visit, with interpretive exhibits and information about local wildlife and parks. If you have a little more room in your budget, they also offer bird watching courses for under $30 (12+).
- Get jumping at Spruce Meadows
Even if you know nothing about horses, Spruce Meadows’ North American Tournament (July 6 – 10) is a great activity for the entire family. There is always lots going on, with pony rides, face painters, the Prairie Dogs, and so much more. And when you get hungry, there are a variety of world foods for even the pickiest eater to try. Admission is $5 per person, but children under 12 are free.
- Go on a literary adventure at the Calgary Public Library
There are 18 library branches around the city with more than just books – they have CDs, DVDs and musical instruments too! All are available for free with your library card. Sign up and download the School’s Out Summer Learning activity booklet for activities, booklists, and contest ballots.
- Travel through time at the Glenbow Museum
Art, science and history – the Glenbow Museum is an adventure of epic and educational proportions all rolled into one. Admission is free from 5pm – 9pm on the first Thursday of every month.
- Watch family favourites with Cineplex
Cineplex Theatres offers $2.99 movies on Saturday mornings at 11am. It’s a fun and affordable way to enjoy the weekend with your family, and you’ll even be giving back. A portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting Free The Children.
- Get creative at Michael’s craft stores
If your kid is creative, Michael’s offers kids 3 years and up the chance make and take home a finished masterpiece. Sign up in store or just drop in for a creative workshop. Sessions start every half hour from 10am – 11:30 am and are only $2 per child.
- DIY with Home Depot
If your kid is very hands-on, Home Depot offers free workshops for children ages 5 – 12. Workshops are held on the 2nd Saturday of each month at all Home Depot stores.
- Eat pancakes every day
Just like last year and every one before it, families can eat a pancake breakfast for free somewhere in the city almost every day throughout Stampede (July 7-16).
- Discover new foods at Taste of Calgary
Running August 10-13, Taste of Calgary gives visitors the chance to sample the city’s food and beverages. Admission is free and gives families access to all the musical acts. Sampling tickets are only $1 each and you can use them to sample any of the food or beverage items.
Fiestaval is a free and family-oriented, multicultural arts and entertainment festival highlighting the Latin American Culture. The dancing and celebrations take place at the Calgary Olympic Plaza on July 21-23, 2017.
- Watch the running of the bull (dogs)
Eau Claire is going to the dogs on July 29th & 30th from 10am-4pm. Pet-a-Palooza is bringing events like the Running Of The Bulls (French and English bulldog races), wiener dog races, a puppy stampede and dock diving. Bring your pets and join the fun for free!
- Calgary Dragon Boat Race & Festival
North Glenmore Park is home to Canada’s premier sport festival, the Calgary Dragon Boat Race & Festival, on Saturday & Sunday August 12-13, 2017. Admission is free and there is a kid’s zone, multi-cultural entertainment, live bands and food trucks to keep you entertained between races.
- Marda Gras Street Festival
Marda Gras is a free family-friendly event on Sunday August 13th, 2017 taking place in the streets of Marda Loop. Enjoy live music, dance and cultural performances, a fun kids area and lots of great food. There is something for everyone!