Spring is here, and after a year of pandemic lock-down and months of cold, gloomy winter, families are itching to get outside. As grown-ups eagerly await vaccination, here are 13 ways to get outside and enjoy spring in a COVID-conscious way.

1. Picnic Exploration

Pack up a picnic and explore a new park. Bonus: if your budget allows, pick up some take-out to support your local neighborhood restaurant.

2. Family Bike Ride

Dust off the bikes and go for a ride. But first, learn some basic bike maintenance together to ensure a fun and smooth ride.

3. Plant Something!A young girl plants something in a garden next to the sidewalk.

Whether it’s one seed in a paper cup on your big-city balcony or a raised bed of veggies in a suburban backyard, kids will marvel at the miracle of Mother Nature doing her thing.

4. Find Sweets

As ice cream shops open up for the season, put your neighborhood to the Popsicle Test. When you’re done with your sweet treat, spark up a convo about what makes a neighborhood a great place to live.

5. Visit the Beachtwo young girls explore the shoreline of a beach

I always regret waiting until it’s warm enough to swim to visit the lakefront beaches. Spring is a great time to fly a kite, dig in the sand, and roll up those pants to dip toes in the water. Bonus: when it’s still too cool to swim, parking at the beach is way easier to come by!

6. Go On A City Scavenger Hunt

So much has changed in our cities in the last year. Shops have closed and new businesses have emerged. Go explore on foot, bike, transit, or car. Start creating your post-pandemic bucket list together.

7. Neighborhood Clean-Up

Grab your plastic gloves (we’ve all got those laying around from last spring, right?!) and a trash bag, and head out for a neighborhood clean-up walk. We did this last weekend and filled four bags before we made it to the end of our block!

8. Observe NatureTwo young girls explore bushes while wearing backpacks.

Spring is an amazing time to slow down and observe. The world is waking up. New plants are sprouting. Flowers are blooming. Animals are emerging from cozy nests. Hit up a nature preserve or even your corner park and see what you can spot. Bring a journal to record what you find. Come back again in a few weeks to spot what’s changed.

9. Go Camping

(Even if it’s just in your backyard!) Spring is perfect for camping. Cool nights make campfires cozy and ensure that pesky insects aren’t swarming yet. Don’t forget the s’mores!

10. Go To School (and Work) Outside

With many of us still learning and working remotely, there’s no rule that says you have to be stuck inside on a beautiful day. Grab a cardboard box from your recycling bin and put together this simple hack to reduce glare on your device so you can soak up some rays while being productive.

11. Host A Backyard Movie NightTwo young girls watch a Pixar movie in their backyard on a projector.

It’s the perfect way to enjoy a movie with friends in a socially distanced way. Set up a projector (or make your own with a shoebox and smartphone), throw down some picnic blankets, and tell your guests to BYO-snacks!

12. Visit A Botanical Garden

The gardens really come alive in spring and the vibrant colors make a beautiful backdrop for candid photos of your growing kiddos.

13. Play In the Rain

Stomp in puddles, dig for worms, mix up mud pies. Give your kids permission to get as dirty as they can–or better yet, join them!

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