5 free or low cost ways to stay active with the family this summer


With the kids home for summer break, the relaxed schedules can often mean it’s harder to keep up with your regular workout schedule. Because of this, you need to get creative and get the kids involved so that everyone can get plenty of exercise over the summer!

The best part about summer is that these ideas are free or low-cost and you’ll make some fun family memories at the same time!

1. Utilize the extra daylight hours in the summer for more physical activities outdoors

Summer is the perfect time to start a tradition of an after dinner walk or bike ride with the whole family. We like to feed the kids an early dinner, then hit up a local trail for some exercise after dad gets home from work.

Our kids can get practice riding their bicycles, giving them a good workout, while we run or walk alongside them. Typically, it’s cooler in the evenings, so you don’t have to worry about the hot temps and it’s also less crowded on the trails, making it the perfect time to enjoy some outdoor exercise for the whole family. If your family loves to get up and get moving in the mornings, you can take advantage of the quiet and cool temps to get in some family exercise to start the day.
2. Find a new trail to explore each week as a family

If you’re a family that loves the outdoors and adventure, start making a list of hikes you want to take with your family. Whether you’re on vacation, on a staycation around your area, or just looking for a quick hike nearby, make it into an adventure for your kids.

REI has a great site to help those looking for some fun family adventures in the outdoors. You can search for a trail for hiking or biking by state and then see a list of hikes near your closest city. You can also head to REI stores to pick up a free adventure journal for kids (or download a copy to print off at home). Not only will your kids have fun exploring, you’ll all be getting in some great exercise at the same time.

3. Go on a Geocaching Adventure with your family

Geocaching is a great way to combine your child’s love of technology and spirit of adventure while still getting outdoors and staying active. Geocaching is like a modern day scavenger or treasure hunt. You will head to different locations around your area or even on your vacation, where you will search for hidden containers, called geocaches, which have a little trinket inside.

You’ll be using a GPS on your smartphone or a handheld GPS to find these geocaches. Often, the caches are found in parks or on trails, so it’s a great time to then explore a new park or trail and get in some exercise as you check it out. Find out more at Geocaching.com, where you can sign up for a free membership to get started. The only cost would be if you want to get trinkets to replace in the geocache, but you can think of frugal options for these items.

4. Have a family sports day at a local park

Plan a day of fun and friendly competition with your family or a group of families at a local park. Activities can range from frisbee or frisbee golf to a quick pick-up basketball game or playing “Horse” with the younger kids on the court. You can also get creative by turning a playground or local landmarks into a mini obstacle course. The only cost involved would be the initial supplies for the sports equipment which you can then use for years to come.

5. Plan a Family Night of Physical Activity Video Games

If you’re looking for an indoor activity for when it’s raining or you just need a break from the heat, use your child’s love of video games and turn it into a family fun night of activities.

With video systems such as the Wii or XBox 360, there are so many games available where you have to get active to participate. Encourage some friendly competition while you battle each other on the tennis court or ski down a mountainside through the active video games. Games such as Just Dance are fun games to invite friends over to laugh over each other’s silly dance moves while you all keep movin’ and groovin’! Keep the video camera handy!

These are just a few ideas of ways to keep your family exercising while staying on budget this summer! For more resources, check out the Let’s Move.gov website, to help you find ways to make physical activity part of your family routine. We’d love to hear your tips of how your family stays fit together!

Jen Dotson and Sia Hills are Savings.com DealPros and authors of the website Thrifty NW Mom, a one-stop resource for ways to save money all around the Pacific Northwest. They both teach Savings Nation workshops around the Northwest, to show others how to save 50% off or more on their grocery bill.

(Source: Savings.com)

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