25 Free + Cheap Ways to Keep Cool in Edmonton This Summer

Summer can get expensive and hot. Environment Canada has issued heat warnings for the next week or so for our neighboring cities/towns south of Alberta. Included is Drumhellar, which is a popular camping spot for everyone during the summer months. As a mother to two young boys who love to play outside, it’s important for me to take precautions to protect them from overheating and suffering from heat stroke.

Alberta Health Services has information on how to protect your loved ones during heat warnings and how to monitor for symptoms of heat stroke. There is also a link on the side that you can click on to see if there is a heat warning in effect for your area in Alberta.

In order to beat the heat for the next few weeks in Edmonton and beyond during the forecasted heatwave this summer, I have compiled a list of free and on the cheap ways to keep cool. Consider doing these activities during the cooler hours of the day when it’s a scorcher or seeking out shade for some of these activities. Remember to wear sun protection and stay hydrated.

Here are 25+ ways to keep cool this summer for free or on the cheap:

Play a game of “Hose” Limbo. Let the stream from the hose be the guide.

Enjoy running through the sprinkler or play a game of Limbo over the sprinkler.

Gather up the neighbourhood kids and have a waterfight.

Enjoy a cold shower – it’s nice way to end a scorcher of a day with one.

Allow the kids to be ice excavators. Freeze little plastic animals/dinosaurs/bugs in water and let them use real tools like a screwdriver and a mini hammer to extract the frozen creatures out.

Play a game of cold potato. Use a pin to poke holes into a water balloon, then fill it with water making sure the balloon has a slow but steady leak. Gather some friends or play among the siblings and toss the leaky balloon amongst each other. Be sure to pass it quickly, the goal is to pass the balloon before it runs out of water or breaks.

Freeze juice boxes the night before. This way they act as an ice pack in the cooler during a picnic but will thaw in the heat. When ready to drink, it’ll still be cold enough to quench thirst buds in the hot summer heat.


Set up the water table and let the kids scoop and pour. Add some soap for the sudsy bubble effect and allow the kids to wash some toys that need some much needed cleaning.

If you don’t have AC in the house, cool off in the basement. Draw the shades in, grab some popcorn and enjoy a movie or two or gaming on the console.

Make your own slip n slide. Find a tarp, peg it down, hose it down and let the slipping and sliding commence.

Splash at the City Hall wading pool – the water is always freezing cold to me there. For some shade pop into City Center Mall and checkout the new food court upstairs.

Go early to beat the crowds or during the evening and hit up one of the City of Edmonton Outdoor pools – it’s free to get in this year! Our favorite is Fred Broadstock Outdoor Pool.

Curate some homemade popsicles and fruit smoothies.

Have a car wash. Allow the kids to wash the car, someone will inevitably get “accidentally” sprayed with the hose or doused with the bucket of water.

Stay cool indoors and visit your local library during the free program times.

Set up the kiddie pool in the shade and dip your feet in while you watch them. If you have a bigger pool, join in the fun to cool off.

Take the electric fan outside on the deck under the patio umbrella.

Whip up some frozen fruit kabobs. Frozen blueberries and grapes are a favorite in this house. To pack in some extra hydration, consume high water content foods like watermelon, honeydew and grapes just to name a few.

Drop in for a parent and tot free public skating session at a City of Edmonton arena. Schedules are available weekly and free public skate times are an hour long.

Create some water/ice themed sensory bins. Water beads are a favorite around here, watching them grow is exciting but have you ever tried freezing them? Playing with frozen water beads is just as entertaining.

Visit an indoor playground. Many of them offer free admission to children under one years old. Take advantage of the special pricing during certain days or time slots at certain locations. They tend to be far less busy during the summer months.

Go swimming indoors. If you have a community league membership, take advantage of the free community league swim times once a week held at your local Edmonton recreation center. Check your local community league website for the schedule.

Visit West Edmonton Mall – there’s lots to do and see. Grab a booster juice or a frozen yogurt for a cool treat.

Cool off by splashing in the fountains at the Alberta legislative grounds. Bonus points for having plenty of shade on the grounds to enjoy a picnic.

Grab a slushie at 7-11. Download the app on your phone to get every seventh slush for free.

Get into the shade. Grab some bug spray, homemade trail mix, drinks and good hiking shoes to explore Whitemud Creek. Tip from Live It All In: Park near John Janzen Nature Center at The Alfred H Savage Center and walk the creek south from there until Snow Valley Ski Club and return.

Babywearing? Soak and freeze some washcloths. Take them out and place them on the back of your neck to keep cool. If you stay cool, baby can stay cool safely too. Purchase a portable mini fan or fill a mini spray bottle with water to keep you and your little one cool while you cuddle them close.

Seek out a local spray park that offers a ton of shade for everyone. Our favorites – Greenfield Community Park (SW Edmonton), Woodcroft Park (NW), Mary Finlay Park (SE), Montrose (NE). Although these parks have plenty of mature trees surrounding them, I still pack the pop up tent in my trunk for the extra UV protection if we plan on staying for more than a few hours.

How do you guys keep cool during hot summer days?













We're a team of local moms, sharing our stories about raising children in Edmonton. Places to explore, tips to help local parents and things to see and do.