Warmer weather has arrived, and it’s a great time to explore the outdoors with your family. Here are some fun, easy ideas for connecting with nature and enjoying the wonderful colors, smells and sounds of the season.
Check out these Fifteen Fun Things to Do Outdoors This Spring from Five River MetroParks:
1. Grow something from a seed: Get a jump on your garden and start seeds indoors to be replanted later in spring.
2. Go birdwatching: Spring migration is happening, so look for new species of birds each day. Keep your eyes out for robins, mourning doves and cardinals, Ohio’s state bird. To report your sightings and view migration maps, visit journeynorth.org.
3. Stargaze: There are many happenings in the night sky that are exciting to watch. Many smartphone apps allow you to learn more about what you’re seeing in the sky.
4. Have a picnic: Head to your favorite park, neighborhood greenspace or back yard to enjoy a meal with your family. If you are headed to a MetroPark, pack a blanket to sit on, as you should not use communal picnic tables. Additionally, prepare to pack out all your trash, including dog waste, as many trash cans have been removed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
5. Set up camp in the back yard: Set up a tent or make a blanket fort. Read books, play board games and eat a snack.
6. Stop and smell the flowers: Take a stroll through your neighborhood or local park to see what’s in bloom. Spring flowers and blooming trees and shrubs smell wonderful and provide a pop of pretty color — especially on days when the skies are a little grey.
7. Take a ride: Go for a bike ride around your neighborhood or on the region’s 340 miles of paved recreation trail – the nation’s largest paved trail network.
8. Nature play in your own yard: Use natural materials such as branches, rocks and leaves to make a fort, play games and more.
9. Get some exercise: Run, walk or jog in your neighborhood or your local park or on the paved trails.
10. Discover insects: Amazing bugs — such as ants, beetles, worms, beautiful moths and cool spiders — are popping up everywhere. Search for insects in your garden, under rocks, on trees and elsewhere. Identify your discoveries by taking pictures of your buggy friends and visiting ohiodnr.gov.
11. Listen for nocturnal animals: After night falls, visit your back yard or grab some flashlights and head to your local neighborhood greenspace to listen as your natural surroundings come to life after dark.
12. Start a nature journal: Grab a notebook and a bunch of colorful crayons, pencils and markers to sketch what you see in your favorite natural space. Record what you discover and how the space changes throughout the season.
13. Create a masterpiece with sidewalk chalk: You may have noticed Dayton’s sidewalks, windows and yards are filled with rainbows and other positive messages that inspire happiness and community during a time when we must be apart in terms of distance. Families can draw amazing things outside and share pictures on social media.
14. See how many native plants you can spot in a park or neighborhood: This April is the first Ohio Native Plant Month! Learn more about some of the state’s beautiful native plants and why they’re so important to our local environment by visiting ohionativeplantmonth.org or ohiodnr.gov/gonative.
15. Relax outdoors: We all need to decompress and de-stress. Take those activities outside, such as reading a book under a tree or doing yoga outdoors. Nature provides myriad healing benefits for your physical and mental health, and doing relaxing activities outdoors can double that calming effect.
Show Five Rivers MetroParks how you’re spending time outdoors solo or with members of your household by posting pictures of your outdoor adventures on social media. Use the hashtag #natureisopen to let others know how important it is to spend time outdoors this spring and year-round.
Always follow the CDC’s recommendations, particularly for social distancing, when spending time outdoors. For more information and to learn how you can help keep your MetroParks open, visit metroparks.org/COVID-19. Stay up-to-date on alerts, closures and ways to get outside by following MetroParks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.