Waking from Hibernation . . .
The yearly transformation from winter to spring is upon us!
Minds and bodies are waking up. We long for fresh air, exercise, a recharge in vitamin D levels, and the buds and blossoms of the rebirth season!
Since my family doesn’t take a traditional spring vacation, I’ve spent the past few years compiling a list of fun outdoor explorations to welcome the season.
Most ideas grew out of hearing the clever moniker “No Child Left Inside.” Richard Louv’s 2005 book, Last Child In the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, truly made an impact on me. My older son was 4 at the time, his brother 1, and I did not want our family to succumb to the inactivity and routine of indoor habits. (Read an excerpt of Louv’s book here.)
We started small but fast-forward a few years and our “Spring Has Sprung” list is many pages long! Here are some of our favorite things to do in spring. I hope they inspire you to start your own traditions!
Neighborhood walks or bike rides are my family’s constant. We live less than two blocks from the main tributary of our township’s creek system. It’s a mile-long parkway flanked with walking/running/biking paths, sports fields, playgrounds, and sandy beaches with ecosystems to explore. We always bring a camera to take shots of flowering trees and emerging bulbs.
Eager for both a woodsy walk and a little culture? Local arboretums and gardens are exploding with the early buds of spring. Some have outdoor art and sculpture exhibits, perfect for young minds to contemplate and critique. Others have tree houses, hands-on nature crafting, or tours specifically designed for school-aged children.
Planning your backyard garden? Neighborhood nurseries love to teach the history and benefits of native plants to your area. Those that allow wandering through the greenhouses add an additional thrill and pique the curiosity of young gardeners.
Want to add an educational element to your adventure? Area college campuses are exploding with blooms! Set a blanket down in the middle of the main university lawn, open a picnic lunch, and celebrate spring.
Add some bird-watching into the mix! You can view the vast array of migrating avians returning “home” in your own backyard.
Even in the center of our city, we are able to use binoculars to spot red-tailed hawks that nest and hatch their young on the windowsill of the science museum; the peregrine falcons that roost atop the highest skyscrapers, and the bald eagle family who expands yearly in a wildlife preserve bordering the airport!
Here are 13 more nature activities Louv recommends for kids and families.
What’s your favorite outdoor spring adventure?