4 Frugal Outdoor (and Socially Distant) Activities for Parents with Kids

Aug 5, 2020

Now that the weather is getting warmer, it’s a fantastic time to get out of the house and take in what nature has to offer. Whether on your own or with other members of your household, there are so many possibilities and so much to explore.

One of the best parts about the great outdoors is that enjoying the fresh air doesn’t have to cost a lot. In fact, there are times when it can cost nothing at all.

Here are some money-saving tips and free outdoor activities to explore in Canada to make the most of the good weather:


You’re probably a close drive away from at least one free hiking trail in your province. Not only is the fresh air going to be good for you, but this is also a chance to get some distance from others and benefit from some valuable ‘you’ time. Take in the zen-like experience of the quiet expanse. Appreciate the shapes of tree leaves and the colours of flora. While unplugged from mobile devices, enjoy the company you’re with and the in-person conversation. Bring an old-fashioned map and compass for added fun. And for the kids, up the cool factor and turn the outing into a treasure hunt where X marks the spot of a buried mystery item. (If that’s not your thing, many parks have biking trails for you to enjoy with your family). Be sure to pack a windbreaker or raincoat for your outdoor adventures. There are lots of fun colours to choose from at Joe Fresh®.

Nature Crafts

Did you know that the great outdoors is a treasure trove of nature crafts? Here are a few ideas to keep the kiddies enchanted, and rev up their creativity.

Indulge in the ancient art of stone painting. The first part of the adventure is the hunt for good stones. Try the schoolyard, the backyard, nearby waterfront, or a park. With stones in hand, and a simple watercolour paint-set, challenge the little ones to make designs that are fun and reflect their personality.

For larger stones – such as ones that fit in the entire hand – there’s more potential for drawings of their favourite cartoons or characters. The fun of it is giving them away as gifts to friends, grandparents, or teachers, or decorating the porch with these unique creations.

A variation on the theme is stick painting. It’s an inventive way to utilize some of those fallen branches from around the house, or from your neighbourhood park. After painting, you can set aside a little patch in the front yard to “plant” them, showing off the artistic flair of the kids’ stick garden.

And finally, have you got an old shoe box or two lying around? Or perhaps a box from a delivery? Help the kiddies make a three-dimensional cardboard diorama, furnished with stones, dirt, sticks, pebbles, leaves, and anything else they can forage. Pull out that aforementioned watercolour paint-set, and the sky’s the limit as to what they can create: a landscape, a city, a village, a seashore, and on and on.

Plant a garden

This is a fun family activity. If you’ve got space in your yard—or even a balcony—everyone can take turns digging a reserved plot or adding soil to a planter. From placing the seeds in the soil, to watering, to making signs indicating what grows in which row or pot, kids can find this to be an exciting way to learn about nature.

The amazing world of coloured sidewalk chalk

This is as easy and fun activity that only requires some concrete area or a large enough paved driveway (one you have permission to use). Bring print-outs of the pictures that the kids have decided in advance that they want to draw and emulate. The chalk is their paint; the concrete their canvas. This activity can also turn into a games day by drawing hopscotch, an old standby. Bring out checker pieces and draw a board on the ground. Why not try a competitive multiplayer version of “Who can guess the picture I’m drawing?”  

Meanwhile, they can also enjoy the wonders of chalk paint. Here’s how: Using a rock like mortar and pestle, crush some of that chalk onto the sidewalk. Scoop it up and place it into a bowl, add water, and mix. Offer the kids an array of paintbrushes for artistic expression and find them appropriate canvases … on driveways, cardboard boxes, or even the backyard fence. The great part is that it’s all washable and kid friendly. (And, using your PC Financial Mastercard (opens in a new window)External link® to pay for chalk and brushes helps make sure you’re earning PC Optimum points on your purchases.) 

There are many inexpensive ways to enjoy yourself outside and they’re limited only by your
imagination. Have fun out there!

General information not about PC Financial products is provided for your reference and interest only. The above content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and is not a substitute for, and should not be construed as the advice of an experienced professional. The PC Financial® team does not guarantee the currency, accuracy, applicability or completeness of this content.

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