Now that our weather has become truly pleasant, the outdoors has been calling me. Sometimes it takes a little extra motivation to get us all out there, but I always find it to be so worthwhile when I make the effort. To get everyone in the spirit of spring, I’ve listed a handful of inspirations for heading outside with your family. Hopefully there’s something for everyone on this list!
- Go for a walk, either in your neighborhood or in a local park or preserve.
- Haul out your bikes, scooters, roller blades, skateboards, plasma cars, unicycles…
- Play a game: run a race, practice your sports skills, play tag…
- Climb–anything. It could be a tree, a lighthouse, a mountain–take your pick!
- Swim, or at least move around and play in the water!
- Go somewhere new, be it a new bike trail or a new park or beach.
- Spend time outside in a usual spot, but experience it in a new way. Lie on your back and look up at the trees, get down on your stomach and inspect insects through a magnifying glass, close your eyes and listen carefully to the sounds you hear.
- Go geocaching and see if you can improve your skill at spotting camouflaged objects.
- See how the wind is moving–fly a kite or a model airplane or try to make a sailboat.
- Look for small wildlife. Take some nets and containers and try to catch a minnow or tadpole in the stream; enjoy it for a while and release it back into its habitat. Find some bugs and pop them into a magnifying bug-hut for closer inspection. See how many different types of plants you can find and photograph.
- My kids could spend hours imagining outdoors, cooking with leaves and dirt, building forts from fallen branches, crafting furniture and fixtures from rocks and nuts.
- Take a sketchbook and take time to draw what you see.
- Take photographs of everything you find that’s living, then begin to make your own local guidebook, researching the names and details of the things you’ve photographed.
- Make art in or from nature. Stack rocks, paint rocks, make acorn-hat boats, paint pictures with water on rocks or with mud on paper or on yourself. Make leaf rubbings, leave prints in mud, try painting with berries or flowers.
- Make your own alphabet or number or shape book by hunting for your selected topic outdoors. A rectangular window, a curved stick resembling an S, a pavement crack that looks like a 4—your kids will find incredible variety once they start looking!
Enjoy the fresh air, use those muscles, soak up some Vitamin D–but don’t forget your sunblock and sunglasses!