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15 (free) outdoor activities to enjoy this summer


Posted on Wednesday, October 4, 2017

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Think back to the summers of your childhood. Long evenings with a late curfew, running around barefoot and spending hours building sandcastles and playing cricket in the streets. It’s the hours of fun that didn’t cost a thing that stick in your memory.

Wondering what to do during summer? Spending summer 2017 on a budget might seem impossible, but if you go back to basics you’re bound to make some memories that don’t cost a thing. Fun things to do for free are everywhere; you just need to know where to look.

1. Visit your local parks and playgrounds.

Local parks and playgrounds are the ideal place to lay out a blanket, put up a sun umbrella and watch the kids burn off some energy. The best part? It’s free. If your area doesn’t offer a space where you feel safe, head a little further afield. Organise to meet friends and set up fun activities for the kids.

2. Go on a picnic.

Food alfresco is the very essence of summer fun. Pack up a dinner and head down to the beach, up the mountain or to the local park or camping area. Outdoor braai areas are dotted around tourist spots too.

3. Go on a bike ride.

Exercise is high on the list of fun, free things to do. Dust off your bike and get exploring. If you have children, plot the route in advance and stick to areas where you can safely bike in the streets or on pathways. Need to run a few errands? Leave the car at home and bike everywhere. Just don’t forget your helmet

4. Camp out.

Set up camp in the back garden for a free adventure, or head to the great outdoors for a small fee. Camping is the ultimate outdoor activity for families and groups of friends looking for a bit of adventure on a budget.

5. Go to the beach.

Need summer activity ideas? Look no further than the beach. South Africans flock to the ocean this time of year, but even if you’re near a lake or dam, spend some time digging in the sand. Nothing says ‘summer’ like warm sand between your toes and the smell of sunscreen.

6. Complete a home project.

What is the DIY project that you’ve been wanting to do all year? Fixing the roof of the shed, putting up a few shelves, sorting out the garage? Commit to getting these tasks done this summer. Find ways to get the kids involved, too.

7. Volunteer at a nearby animal shelter.

Volunteers are a vital part of keeping animal shelters going. If you have a soft spot for animals and want to do something worthwhile with your summer, then get onto the website of your local shelter and get in touch.

8. Go on a hike.

Pull on your hiking shoes and get some fresh air – pick a gentle climb or a sharp ascent, whatever you can handle. Add an extra twist by bringing a little checklist of bugs and plants for your kids to tick off once they’ve spotted them.

9. Take a road trip.

Jump in the car, take a drive to a nearby tourist town and spend the day wandering around and seeing the sights.

10. Make ice cream.

It’s simple and delicious. This is a great way to keep the kids busy with the promise of something delicious at the end. This simple strawberry ice cream recipe works a treat.

11. Teach your parents to Skype.

Whether they live nearby or across the sea, teaching your parents or grandparents to Skype is a free activity that will leave a lasting impact. Once they’ve mastered that, try WhatsApp, or even Facebook.

12. Go to the library.

This isn’t only a free thing to do in summer, but year-round. The local library offers a quiet haven to discover new authors and teach your children the excitement of reading.

13. Host a garage sale.

Do you have things you’ve been meaning to get rid of but not sure where to take them? Get the whole family involved and spend a couple of days clearing out and sorting through cupboards; then host a garage sale. Send invites to friends, family and neighbours. You might even make some new friends. 

14. Go to a flea market.

Teach your children the art of negotiation, or watch as they out-negotiate you. Flea markets are full of treasures and a great place to wander around and enjoy the weather. You can spend the money earned from your garage sale!

15. Exercise in the park.

You don’t have to join a gym. Just get a few friends together, take your mat down early in the morning and work it out. Search online for routines: this easy yoga workout and 15-minute morning routine are good examples.

The information contained in this document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.