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Summer Birthday? Let The Games Begin!

Here are our picks for the most affordable outdoor summer birthday locations and activities.

It’s a sunny summer Saturday and you are hosting a birthday party for your child and seven of his or her closest friends.

Pumped with a lethal combination of anticipation and sugar, your guests race up and down the confined halls of your home. It’s a frenzy of fun resulting in knocked over lamps, juice soaked carpets and wall-to-wall wrapping paper.

The family dog cowers under the table to avoid notice while the cat observes the chaos from a safety point above the kitchen cupboards.

Ignoring the pounding behind your temples, you mentally take note of the party’s success. You made the perfect cake. You assembled the perfect loot bags. And you bought the perfect present.

Yet the party is missing something you can’t quite put your finger on.

Wide open spaces. That’s what this party needs.

The best part of having a summer birthday party is being able to take the kids outside. Here are our picks for the most affordable outdoor summer birthday locations and activities.

Wet Water Fun

Taking the kids to the park is a great free activity. But to earn extra points with the kids, choose a spray park or wading pool. From north to south, east to west, we present you with one park filled with summer-splash fun in each quadrant of this fine city.

Prairie Winds Water Park: 223 Castleridge Boulevard NE – This park is truly the miracle of the Northeast. Your kids can cool down with a wade in the pool or run through rings of spraying water. In addition, this park offers 16 hectares of lush, manicured green space for a picnic or game.

Riley Park: 800 - 12 Street NW – Riley Park is an inner-city favorite destination that has a lot to offer. Pack the kids’ swim trunks for a day of summer-splash fun in the wading pool.

Valleyview Park: 28 Street and 30 Avenue SE – This park also offers a seasonal spray pool for the kiddies, which they can use after you have had a lovely lunch at one of the park’s picnic tables.

Variety Children’s Park: 90 Avenue and 24 Street SW – Nestled in South Glenmore Park, this gem offers a wading pool and spray park. But what makes it really special is its playground is accessible to disabled children.

For information on more Calgary spray parks and wading pools, visit or call 3-1-1.

Let the Games Begin

After you have planned your outdoor party, you will need some good outdoor activities to keep the tykes busy and entertained.

Water balloon fight: Bring a box of pre-filled water balloons with you to the party. When the time is right, hand each child two balloons and let the water fight begin. Another affordable option is to use super soaker water guns.

Sidewalk chalk: Give each child two sticks of chalk and 20 minutes to create some sidewalk art. Offer prizes to the most creative concrete masterpiece.

Amoeba tag: Try this modified version of tag to tire the kids out before sending them home. It starts with two kids being “it” (the amoeba). Holding hands, they chase the other children. Each child tagged must join hands and become part of the amoeba. This continues until only one child is left.

Without breaking your wallet, the outdoor birthday party will keep your house clean, reduce your headaches and make you a hero in the eyes of your kids.

And your dog and cat will thank you, too.

Liesa is a freelance writer based in Calgary. A graduate of the SAIT journalism program, she has written for local publications including Calgary’s Child Magazine and SAIT Alumni Link magazine. Samples of her work can be found at To contact her, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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