Spring (or Fall) is here, and sometimes we are waiting for some of the theme parks to open up, splash parks to open and for the really warm weather to get here. But once that sunshine starts to shine we want to get out and enjoy it as much as we can. Here are some ideas for you to do with your family and most can even be done on rainy and cooler days.
16 Fantastic, Fun and Free Springtime Activities
(Even great for those cooler days)
Spring (or Fall) is a great season and I love it for so many reasons (click here to see why) but sometimes it can be hard to find something free (or very cheap to do) to really enjoy it. A lot of the theme parks and water parks aren’t open yet, it’s still al little too chilly to have a sprinkler on, or have a water balloon fight and you need some ideas to entertain the kids (or yourselves) during these in-between months.
Here are some tips for some great free activities for your whole family to enjoy.
This one is obvious but go for a walk. But not just your every day kind of walk. Find a local trail, find a new park in a different town/city and go for an adventure walk. Don’t go for your average walk around your neighbourhood (although that is good too, and a great time to meet your neighbours because they are probably out enjoying the weather too).
If you haven’t heard of this activity, look it up, and go for it. It is a perfect activity to do as a family. My kids LOVED going to look for treasure. They bring their binoculars, flashlights, little backpack and camera. Download the free Geocaching app for your phone, and find hidden treasure near you. I live in a small town and there are TONS near me. I can’t imagine what there would be in a big city. It is a great way to check out local places, and have an adventure. Make sure you bring a little treasure of your own to leave so you can take one that is there. Record your name and date in the book that is usually available and go find the next one. You might need to drive from one to the next – but that might be because I live in a small town. We did our first Geocaching in the rain and we all still had fun. Click HERE for more tips and tricks to make it a success
3. Scavenger Hunt
This can be done in your own back yard, in a local park or along your way in your Geocaching adventure. Check this out for a great Scavenger Hunt with pictures that can be done almost anywhere and it includes pictures for those beginner readers. We bought our kids a cheap (5$) camera so some of the items they can’t carry with them but they take a picture of instead. Get them ready to go with a clipboard, pencil, backpack to storing all their goodies and of course some zippy bags or small containers to contain whatever samples or living things they find. This scavenger hunt is meant for more nature things but a quick google search will provide you with endless ideas for a scavenger hunt meant more for cities (signs, types of architecture, public transit, etc).
4. Bug Hunting
This one is a favourite of our kids, especially my daughter who will snap out of a tantrum at the sight of even just an ant. Grab a couple of cheap magnify glasses (we found ours at Canadian Tire, but you can find them at any department or dollarstore too), grab some old containers or jars, poke some holes in them and see what kind of bugs you can find in your own backyard, porch, park, balcony, etc. Fill the containers with leaves and sticks and then let the kids watch them for a while, and then set them free (if you don’t want the heart break of them dying).
5. Play a sport
First of all I am NOT an athlete, I try to be healthy by doing different activities but I am far from athletic and I am the furthest thing from competitive. But what I do enjoy doing is grabbing some sports equipment (soccer balls, lacrosse sticks and ball, baseball and bat, or even just a beach ball) and head to any open area. That might be a park, a field of a nearby school, an empty parking lot, if you are lucky in your own backyard.
Ok let me get this straight I am no gardener, especially flowers, honestly I couldn’t care less about gardens for the “look” of it. But I do like gardens that give me food after a while. If it can give me something to eat, I’m all about it. And lately my kids love digging in the dirt. So this activity isn’t free by any means but it will save you money down the road because you will be able to have your own veggies (pesticide free). The kids will love having something to take care of, watering it, weeding, and just playing in the dirt. So rewarding and for a very little price. Just make sure that before you plant that there is no frost warning usually by the end of May for un Ontario folks. If you are in an apartment there is tons of stuff on Pinterest and online about planting a vegetable garden in planters – some may even let you start a “green roof”.
Along with the garden theme, what I love to do is find a country road, or a near by park and go and pick some wild flowers, for the little kids is a great time to practice their colours, and counting. What is even better is think of someone that could use a little splash of colour in their lives. Maybe a nurses station at your local hospital, the police or fire department, a school secretary, a patient in the hospital or bring them to a retirement home to brighten up someones day or in the front lobby.
Need I say more? My kids never get enough of bubbles they love catching them, running around, check out here for a great DIY recipe of your own bubble mixture.
Give your kids 5 dollars each (or whatever amount you want) and let them buy whatever they want from the outdoor toys section. They can get butterfly nets, water guns, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, beach balls, endless amounts of games and toys to choose from. Then go to a local (or new) park and let them have fun.
Ok this one was a favourite of mine as a child and now one of my kids favourites as well. Pack up some finger foods, wraps or sandwiches, fruits, and why not a little treat. Pack up some blankets, and chairs and head out somewhere new (or old). Last year we went down to Lake Ontario and had a great picnic near a park and beach, and what was great was that it was so lovely and quiet. Even more fun, have the kids help pack the lunch, plastic plates and forks, cups, drinks, etc.
11. Water Painting
Ok so I know I said no water activities but this one you want get wet (in theory). Get some paintbrushes (older the better) all different sizes, a bucket (or cups) of water and have the kids ‘paint’ anything they want. The sidewalk, the house, the pathway, the car, in whatever designs you want and then watch the sun “make it disappear” I remember this activity kept me busy for hours in warmer weather. No mess to clean up (my favourite)
12. Fly a Kite
You can now get some kites at the dollarstore (or elsewhere if you want to get something a little more fancy and durable) and head to your local field (please make sure there is no overhead wires…we all know how that would turn out
So this is similar to one of my winter activities but instead of making a blanket fort inside, bring it outside, grab some sticks, trees, poles, whatever you can get your hands on and see what kind of shelter you can create. Grab some more blankets, pillows and books, paper and crayons and have a reading, creating hangout in your fort. If your fort isn’t a possibility then grab a tent you have, or one from a neighbour and have your reading party in a tent instead.
14. Tea Party
A classic with any kid. Have a tea party with some sweetened non caffeinated home brewed tea and enjoy it in the sunshine (or shade). Bring some cookies along with it and see where the conversations take you.
15. Ride a Bike
So again, this isn’t a new idea…but it is certainly a classic. Grab some bikes, either your own, a friends, or you can rent them in many major cities and go and find yourself a fun adventure. Go find some back roads (I live in the country, so it is so easy to find those), or you could go down to the waterfront, a local trail, or park and see where it takes you.
16. Puddle Jumping
And on those spring (or fall) days that aren’t so nice, but you need a change of scene throw on your rubber boots, a rain coat and go and jump in some puddles. Jump, Jump, Jump, then come in and have a nice warm bath and hot chocolate to warm up.