Looking to keep your kids active this summer without breaking the bank? Here’s our list of the best free and cheap programs and resources to get kids active and having fun. (Updated for 2019)
Goodlife Fitness Teen Fitness Kids ages 12-17 can get a free Goodlife Fitness membership valid from July 2 to September 2 at Goodlife’s across the country. Kids have access to almost the entire gym (pools, sauna, whirlpools and certain free weights/machines, hot yoga and tanning are off limits) from 8-4pm every day of the week.
City of Calgary Youth Passport Kids ages 7-17 can get a $55 youth passport which gets them into all the City of Calgary recreation facilities, Trico Centre, Vivo and Genesis Centre for free from July 1-August 31. They can go swimming, skating and partake in gym activities.
Park n’Play Kids ages 6-12 can participate in a day full of structured games, crafts and activities. Park n’Play runs from 10-3:30 Monday through Friday at different communities in Calgary. Get there early to get in as it’s a city favorite and fills up fast. The program is cancelled in inclement weather.
Mobile Adventure Playground If you aren’t sure what an adventure playground is, you need to go to one! Adventure Playgrounds have lots of loose equipment like cardboard, tires, buckets, blankets. Kids are free to do whatever they want and they have a blast! Supervisors are present but parents are encouraged to stay. The mobile adventure playground moves around Calgary, running 10am-4pm various days until the end of August and is then active weekends in September. There is also a mobile adventure playground at various places in Chestermere.
East Village Outdoor Games Station– Families can rent out bocce, ladder golf or other lawn games at St Patrick’s Island for free from 11am-4pm on Sundays and 12pm-4pm Saturdays.
North Glenmore Community Association Open Gym For rainy days or super hot days, drop into the gymnasium and play. There’s plenty of equipment to use and people are welcome to bring their own. It’s $2 for non members or free with a membership (residents of other communities are also welcome to buy a membership for North Glenmore). Open gym is generally Fridays and Saturdays but can also sometimes run other days. Calling or checking their social media are the best ways to check the times.
Mobile skateparks The City of Calgary has mobile skateparks which they transport around the city to spread some skating love. On weekdays they are open from 11-7 and weekends they are open from 10-6. During their open times they are supervised and staff are also usually great at helping kids pick up new tricks or get comfortable if they haven’t skated much before. Scooters, skateboards and rollerblades are welcome on the park. Helmets are mandatory. Mobile skateparks continue for the first two weeks of September with limited hours.
Kids Bowl Free Program Kids under 12/15 can bowl for free at Bowling Depot, Paradise Lanes, Let’s Bowl, Century Sports and Toppler Bowl at various times on weekdays and weekends. The upper age limit varies depending on the alley and kids must be registered in advance. Once registered they will get 2 games per day free. Programs run until end of August to end of October depending on the alley.
Lawn Bowling Kids from 8-17 can lawn bowl for free on select Sundays from 10:30-12 at the Calgary Lawn Bowling Club. They’ll get free instruction and it’s a great opportunity for them to make new friends. Parents are also welcome to play at no additional charge.
North East Sportsplex Skating The North East Sportsplex has free public skating from 2-3pm throughout most of August. Check their schedule to see which days.
Zone Up Kids ages 11-17 will get to play some basketball while learning some leadership skills. This year the program will be in Forest Lawn, and Spruce Cliff.
Swimming Specials Swimming is a summer favorite. Here are some of the best swimming deals in Calgary. Trico Centre has $4.25 admission for the last hour of swim as well as on Sunday nights from 6-8. They also have a free one week pass for the summer. The City of Calgary non Leisure Centre pools have $2 adult admission and $1 children admission during select hours on Saturday and Sunday. If you have a night owl Southland Leisure Centre has $3 admission from 9-10pm Mondays and Wednesdays. Village Square Leisure Centre has $3 admission Monday. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9-10pm.
Playgrounds Calgary has tons of great playgrounds everywhere. Check out Calgary Playground Reviews to find some of the best ones around the city. They also have a list of the waterparks/splashpads.
Calgary Public Library Programs The library always has great free programs and this summer they’ve partnered with different sports and movement groups to bring you some active ones. Kids and teens will be able to try things like dance, yoga and martial arts.
Central Memorial Library Outdoor Rentals This location has launched an outdoor play rental program. YOu can rent out bocce, skipping ropes, bubbles and more for use in the park and there is also a giant chess set outside. There’s also a great playground a few blocks away.
Vivo Community Play If you live around the North Central area, the Vivo Play Project will be in communities on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays with equipment and facilitators.
Vivo Play Hub The Vivo Play Hub offers plenty of loose parts play, similar to the mobile adventure playground. Sunday 3pm-7pm
Family Yoga Soul Studios offers family yoga for only $5 per participant on Fridays at 6:15pm. It’s a great opportunity to stretch out with your kids.
Battle City Practice Anybody interested in break dancing can enjoy some free Battle City practices and open sessions. Practices are held at Mchugh House, Genesis Centre, Vivo, Diversity Dance and Alive Danceworks. Coaches will be on hand to help out beginners and there are also workshops. The Battle City competition will be held at the end of August.
Kids in the Kitchen Kids ages 4-12 can learn basic food skills and healthy eating habits as they make a nutritious and delicious food item. Runs every other Wednesday at 11am in Sage Hill City Market. Parents must stay at the store but can go shop while their kids are participating. Pre Registration is required.
Greenkids Kids 8-12 will get to learn kitchen and gardening skills while having fun. Program is prioritized for low income nd runs from 4pm-6:30pm Wednesdays at the Alex Food Centre.
Teens Cook! Youth 13-18 can learn how to cook on a budget and how to make healthier food choices. Programs runs 2pm-4pm Fridays at the Alex Food Centre.
Flying Squirrel Bring your child’s report card in to the North or South location for a free hour of jump time. Runs until July 21.
Quidditch Sessions Kids and adults can try out quidditch for free from 10am-12pm at Olympic Height School. Runs July 13, 20 and 27th.
Soccer Without Boundaries Saturday Soccer Club runs year round and runs 10am-12pm Saturdays in Southwest Calgary and 2pm-4pm Saturdays in NE Calgary. They also run a week long soccer camp.
Discover Nose Hill Park Kids ages 6-12 can become Nose Hill Park experts with guided walks and activities. The 6 day program runs Tuesdays through Thursdays 10am-3:30pm different weeks in July and August.
Summer Recess Deerfoot City will have outdoor lawn games, sidewalk chalk, a bubble machine and a DJ for adults and kids to enjoy on Thursdays from 1pm-4pm.
Ralph Klein Park Nature Drop In Ralph Klein Park is running nature programs throughout the summer for kids ages 4-12. There are 3 different programs running Wednesdays and Fridays from 1pm-3pm. Parents must stay with their kids.
Free Padel Lessons Padel is a doubles racquet sport combining elements of tennis, squash and badminton. The Calgary Padel Club and Alberta Padel Association both offer free lessons on Saturdays so kids and adults can learn stroke fundamentals and strategy while having fun. Padels are available to borrow for the lesson and if kids like it, a membership is free at Calgary Padel Club and only $10 at Alberta Padel.
Chestermere Green Shack Program Chestere’s Green Shack program offers 2.5 hours of sports, crafts and nature exploration around different themes. It runs Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings and is suitable for ages 3+. A guardian is required to attend.
Stay n’Play Kids ages 3-5 can play group games, do crafts and other activities. Runs from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday in different locations around the city. Adults must stay with their children.
Dr Seuss in the Park University volunteers will get kids excited about reading with stories, books, crafts and games at Riley Park on Saturdays 11am-3:30pm. Children of any age are welcome to join though it’s most suitable for kids under 8. Parents must accompany children. Riley Park also has a playground and pool to go to before or after.
Tot Storytime Calgary Public Library runs a toddler storytime for kids ages 1-5 at St Patrick’s island Wednesday mornings. While you’re at St Patrick’s Island head to the playground or go splash in the water.
Free Active Toddler Programs The Genesis Centre in partnership with the Primary Care Network Mosaic offers a free parented drop in program for kids under 5. From 10-12 on Tuesdays and Thursdays kids will get to play with equipment like balls, bouncy castles and parachutes.
Calgary Public Library Programs The library has great free programs that will get tots moving, grooving and learning.
Community Pop Up Play Date There will be bubbles and activities set up for kids while parents can talk. Runs 1:30pm-3pm from July 21 to August 21 at different communities around Bowness, Montgomery and Greenwood.
Meet Me at the Park Two different playgrounds in the North will have play ambassadors at them on Wednesdays from 10:30am-12pm so that families can meet and connect.
If you know of any other programs or resources, please contact us and we’ll add them to the list.