With summer close at hand, most of us are beginning to turn our gaze to the great outdoors in search of activities to enjoy our downtime. While there are certainly countless ways to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts, coming up with that perfect pursuit – one that satisfies the desire for fun and fits within your budget – doesn’t always come easy. Relax. We’ve got you covered with the following free, fun and healthy outdoor activities to help you enjoy summer without spending a boat load of cash.
1. Play Tag
Even as grown-ups, a simple game of tag can be a lot of fun even if you don’t have children to play it with. The next time your friends stop by, give this old classic a try. You just might surprise yourself and you’ll get some good exercise, too!
2. Play Hide & Seek
Hide & seek is another great childhood game which will have you laughing out loud before you know it. In fact, playing as an adult can be even more fun than it was when we were little. Finding a good hiding place may be slightly more difficult, but it’s also well worth it. As you watch your friends wander past your secret spot a dozen times searching for you, you’re bound to get the giggles.
3. Play Flashlight Tag
For outdoor fun after dark, try this combination of tag and hide & seek. The person designated as ‘it’ counts to one hundred (or some other per-determined number) while the rest of the group hides. Once they’re done counting, ‘it’ must hunt down each of their friends and tag them with the flashlight beam while also identifying them by name out loud.
4. Create a Scavenger Hunt
With a little bit of preparation, treat yourself and your friends to a scavenger hunt. Create a short list of ambiguous descriptions (for example: something purple that’s larger than a bread box or something that looks like an animal but isn’t), print off enough copies for everyone, then go hunting. Take pictures of each item as you check them off the list. Then, once everyone has completed the hunt, you can all gather around and share pics of the interesting things you’ve found!
5. Create a Treasure Hunt
The ‘treasure’ can either be an item that you’ve hidden or even something interesting and unusual that you’ve found and want to share with your friends. Map out a route to the treasure and pick set locations along the way where you can hide your clues. Then come up with a set of brief riddles or other short descriptions which will guide people from each hiding spot to the next.
6. Go Geocaching
If you love the idea of treasure hunting and enjoying the great outdoors, Geocaching is one healthy addiction you’ll definitely enjoy! Caches are hidden all over the world and logged by GPS coordinates on the geocaching website. For each cache, the person who placed it often also provides clues as to its location, as well as a small piece of paper hidden inside the cache so people can log their name and the date when they found it. Also, you can keep track of all of the caches you’ve found through the website or app. It’s free to join up on geocaching.com. All you need to play are a GPS or a smart phone with the app installed, a pen or pencil, and a good sense of adventure.
7. Go Hiking
If you want to get outside but don’t have time to get creative about it, why not go for a hike? Nature trails exist all around us, though you may not know about them yet. Use a website like Trail Link to find those closest to you. Pick one out then put on your hiking boots and hit the trail for some fun, sun and good exercise.
8. Walk a Dog
Enjoy some quality time with your dog by taking him or her for a walk. Go for a stroll around the block or visit the local park. Even if you don’t have a four-legged companion of your own, you can always ask a neighbor or friend if you can borrow their pup for half an hour or so. Chances are they won’t mind and the dog will be more than happy to oblige!
9. Play Community Sports
If you live anywhere near a city or town, chances are pretty good that you can find some form of community sport to participate in. Ask around at the local town hall, schools, churches or other popular social gathering spots to find out what, when and where you can go play.
10. Go on a Self-Guided Tour
Pick a location where you think you’d like to go exploring. Then take a few hours to do some research and gather as much information about said place as you can find. Map out a route that will take you from place to place and write notes about each stop on your tour. Then head out and enjoy a little self-guided adventure!
11. Go to the Park
Most cities and towns have at least one park where people can go to walk, jog, play casual sports or otherwise enjoy being outdoors. Next time you feel like going for a quick stroll in the sun, head to the closest park for a change of scenery. It’s also a good place to make new friends while getting in your daily exercise.
12. Go to the Zoo
While zoos aren’t necessarily free, the admission fee is generally quite low and may even be free for children. You’ll exercise your body and your brain as you walk around the park and learn all about the animals who live there!
13. Build a Fort
If you have a shed or garage full of old stuff that you’ve been putting off cleaning out, this one is for you. Have some fun while you tidy up by re-purposing all of that old junk into an outdoor fort. (Just be mindful of any sharp edges, protruding nails or the like. If you plan to let youngsters into your fort, be sure to file these down beforehand!)
14. Build an Obstacle Course
Again, if you have a bunch of old stuff that you don’t know what to do with but don’t want to throw away, why not make an obstacle course? Take a look at this how-to for some ideas to get your started.
15. Build a Rope Swing
The rope swing is another blast from the past that can still be loads of fun. And making one is super easy! Just hang a rope over a thick sturdy tree limb and attach a tire or piece of wood to the end for the ‘seat’. If you don’t have anything to use as a seat, you can always tie a few think knots into the rope to stand on and use for holding on. Give it a few good tugs, then try your weight on it if the branch holds up. Once you’re sure that your swing can handle it, get a running start, grab the rope and hold on tight. (Weeeeeeeee!)
16. Play in the Sprinklers
If you’re going to water the grass anyway, put on your bathing suit and play in the water while you do it. This can be a great way to get exercise, cool off on a hot day and have fun all at the same time!
17. Go Swimming
Find a public swimming pool or a nearby lake that is safe to swim in. Then pack a day bag, don your suit and head out on a sunny day. Swimming is great exercise that’s also low-impact – great for those with sore joints or anyone who hasn’t been active for some time but wants to get back into shape!
18. Go Dancing
Dancing doesn’t have to be an indoor activity. Grab your smart phone or tablet, download some music and head outdoors. Dance on the lawn, in the park, or anywhere you want. The fun is contagious and you just might start your own impromptu dance party under the open sky!
19. Walk and Smell the Roses
These days, most people drive their cars or take public transit everywhere they go. Pick a day when you have a few free hours, leave the car keys at home and take a long walk instead. Head to the grocery store, your child’s school, or some other place that you’d normally drive. You’ll be amazed at all of the things you’ve been zooming past every day – things that you never noticed until you walked by on foot!
20. Start a Nature Collection
Pick something that interests you – things like shells, stones, leaves or flowers – and start a nature collection. Make it a point to go out at least once a week and look for new specimens to add to your collection. You can also keep a journal of your adventures, including where you found each item, why it caught your eye and any other thoughts you want to remember about each occasion.
21. Become a Volunteer
Volunteer to help build something for your community. There are always projects going on somewhere whether it’s putting in a garden at a nearby nursing home, building a playground at your local park, or helping to build homes for low-income families. Sure, it can be hard work, too. But volunteering is a great way to get outdoors, soak up some sun, and know that you and your team are making a huge positive impact on the lives of the people around you! What could be better than that?
Need a few more reasons to go outside and get some sun each day? Check out these 9 Warning Signs You Are Vitamin D Deficient & How To Fix It to learn more about how our bodies turn sunlight into Vitamin D and why this nutrient is so important for your health!
Once you’ve finished playing outside, you’ll probably want to go indoors and cool off. Pick up some great tips with these 21 Genius Natural Tricks To Stay Cool This Summer Without AC that can help save you money and reduce your impact on the environment, too!