15 Ways to Have the Best Spring Yet
April 5, 2012
Spring is here—otherwise known as the only time of year that it’s acceptable to wear both flip flops and a cardigan. It’s a warm, breezy oasis between the frustrating cold of winter and the sweltering heat of summer. But the temptation is to simply bask in these few months without making the most of them. Before you know it, spring can slide by in a blur of misapplied sunscreen and lazy evenings.
This year, we’ve put together some ideas to help you think creatively about your time outdoors. For one thing, being outside is great for your health—it loads you up on vitamin D, improves vision, boosts energy and contributes to mental clarity. But re-imagining or simply revisiting outdoor activities is also a prime opportunity to create lasting, warm memories with others. Try just one—or all 15—of the tips below and tell us we’re wrong.
Play lawn Twister: Get some spray paint that won’t damage the grass and recreate the brightly colored circles of a classic Twister game in your yard or at a local park. Use the spinner from the actual game or just make your own. Twister is humiliating fun as it is, but even more so when you don’t have to worry about that plastic sheet sliding around.
Host an outdoor movie night: Perhaps the only thing nicer than a spring day is a spring evening. Make the most of it and set up a projector to show a movie on the side of your house. Ask friends to bring lawn chairs, blankets and their favorite snacks. You can even set up a bonfire in the back for making S’mores.
Try green spring cleaning: As you clear out your winter closet and dust shelves, be mindful of what cleaning products you are using, how much waste you are producing and just how beneficial your cleaning is for the environment. Here are some tips to turn spring cleaning into green cleaning.
Rethink cold beverages: Ready to ditch hot coffee for a more refreshing iced cup? Brew a pot of coffee and freeze it into ice cubes overnight. The next day’s iced coffee can stay cool without getting watery. For drinking water, lemonade or tea, add blueberries, grapes or mint leaves to the ice cube trays.
Go on a disposable camera tour: Instagram and TwitPic are all well and good, but there’s something satisfying about having to crank three times before taking your next photo. Buy a cheap disposable camera and take a Saturday to create a unique “scrapbook” of your city—one attraction, activity or establishment for every exposure. It adds purpose to aimless wandering, and you may even discover new local favorites.
Get out and go local: If you don’t shop at a farmer’s market, spring is an ideal time to start. Not only is there an increase in food options, but you can’t beat a clear, crisp morning spent browsing vendors for fresh produce and flowers. Look up spring recipes and make one meal a week using all local ingredients.
Make some money—and give it away: Be outside, get rid of your junk and raise money for a good cause with a yard sale for charity. First, go through your belongings and pull out anything you haven’t used in the last year. Ask other friends and families to participate, and choose a charity, church or other deserving organization to donate the profits to. When the sale is over, collect whatever remains and leave it at a Salvation Army, Goodwill or a local shelter.
Play ball: Buy up some cheap seats for an MLB game, or support a local high school or college baseball team. You know you’ve been wanting an excuse to spit sunflower seeds ...
Walk in the woods: Arrange a weekend hiking and camping expedition, perhaps to a place where you can take full advantage of the sights and scents of spring’s blooms. Spring weather means you’ll stay cool enough while on the trail and warm enough while in the tent. Look up groves or orchards in the area where the public can pick seasonal fruits, like citrus and berries, and keep some fresh food at the campsite.
Plan a surprise picnic: Pick a lucky friend, family member or significant other to surprise with a picnic lunch. Select a theme for the meal—perhaps only food you can eat with your hands or popular lunch items from the ‘90s (like Lunchables, Capri Sun and Fruit Roll-Ups). Just show up with a blanket and basket, and be their favorite person for the day.
Visit a botanical garden: Look up a botanical garden in your area—and take your time. Rather than rush through, pay attention to—or maybe even learn something about—plants and flowers that are in their peak season. Consider including this in your disposable camera tour.
Find water: Not everybody has the option to take a spring break beach trip. If the warmer weather has you itching for the ocean, just improvise. Consider joining a community pool, or research local lakes, rivers or springs. Most will have options for tubing, rafting or kayaking. If all else fails, the sprinkler worked pretty well when you were a kid, right?
Sneak outside: All of the beautiful things about spring can make it really difficult for those who stay indoors often, either for work or school. Commit to doing something outside on your breaks or between classes at least once a day. Maybe you can feed ducks at a local pond. Bring a frisbee, set up a game of corn hole or initiate a daily “popsicle break.” Ask a professor or boss if a class or meeting can take place outside once a week.
Throw a potluck brunch: Traditional potlucks can be fairly predictable as far as food goes—and you’re always left curiously examining the deviled eggs. Switch things up and invite friends for a brunch in your backyard where everyone brings their favorite breakfast food.
Buy a hammock: Well, why wouldn’t you?