In the summer of 2019, our goal as a family, was to cut back on our entertainment expenses.
Upon checking our previous spending, we realized that we have been throwing away too much hard-earned cash towards weekend family activities.
So here we share the free family activities you need to try if you’re trying to save money too!
There are a lot of playgrounds in Calgary. There are also a couple of YYC bloggers that review playgrounds.
We have been visiting playgrounds outside of our community. I usually do a map search for playgrounds in a specific community we are targeting. We then google reviews and pictures of the said playground.
Playground tourism is usually on a Saturday for us. We spend about 2-3 hours in the playground with the kids. After that they’re tired and ready to go home to rest.
The Calgary Public Library system has a lot of free programs and activities. You just need to sign up for a library card. Note that each family member should have their own library card as you use that number to register for programs.
Kaeden has done the Angry Birds Physics and Coding Buddies program. He’s had fun on both and actually wants me to register him for other programs.
Sign up early before spots run out. To be able to do that, sign-up for the library email newsletter.
We’ve also gone to the free airbrush tattoo activity that was run in Bowness library. There are a lot of businesses that market their services or products by providing a free session in libraries. One activity that we are planning to go to soon is family yoga.
There are also a lot of fun things to do inside the library. Our Seton library has a helicopter in it, where children can play pretend. They even have pilot costumes to go with it.
Seton library also has a human-size chess board that is a lot of fun to play with. We’ve also seen a similar chess board in the Bowness library.
Sensory tables are also a common offering in our libraries. This keeps the younger kids occupied for a while.
Seton library has a lego table that always keeps Kaeden entertained for at least half an hour.
Quarry Park and Bowness library both had tablets full of games aimed at learning. There are only a few available at each location though so you need to wait for a turn.
Oh and did I mention books? LOL The library has lots and lots of books to read that will capture any child’s imagination.
Retail Business Promotions
A lot of retail businesses hold events to promote their products or services.
Home Depot does a lot of classes aimed at both kids and adults about building stuff. Sign-up for their e-mail newsletters to be notified of these events.
Watch for grand opening events for retail businesses and malls – these events usually have free family activities that will keep you entertained for several hours.
Show Home Madness
There are a lot of show homes in Calgary and the builders make their grand opening a huge deal. There are usually a lot of free family activities during show home grand openings.
The most recent one we’ve been to had free ice cream and face painting for the kids. The funnest ones we’ve gone to had balloon artists and each child gets a free balloon.
All of the ones we’ve been to had at least a coloring or painting station for the kids, some form of kids entertainment center (lego table, indoor play structure, or a kid-friendly movie playing), and sweets (cookies, cup cakes, candy, you name it!).
As a bonus for the parents that love interior decorating, we get inspired with the interiors of these show homes. Win win for everyone!
Showhome grand opening events are often advertised on the radio, local newspapers, flyers and mailers. You can also chose to stalk your preferred community developer through their social media pages.
Community associations put up free events all year. Technically it’s not really “free” because you pay HOA fees yearly. But your already obligated to pay that anyway so why not get more of your money’s worth by joining the activities in your community.
We’ve gone to several events held by our community association – summer BBQ and clean-up event, movie in the park, end of summer fireworks, Easter Egg hunt, and Family Christmas Party.
These events are usually advertised on signs all around your community so keep your eyes open.
What free activities do you do with your children? Let us know in the comments.