Who can forget last spring? March 2020 was the month of stay-at-home orders, school closures, and TP shortages; it was uncertain and scary. This spring is certainly marked with more hope—many schools have reopened for in-person learning, the vaccine rollout continues, and the new COVID relief bill will bring some financial help to those who need it—though the scary hasn’t subsided for a lot of people.
While we are still in a pandemic, this spring’s bucket list includes opportunities to appreciate the outdoors, strengthen connections, and take care of ourselves—and our communities. Plus we included a little standard springtime fun (puddle-jumping, anyone?). Read on for 14 ideas to celebrate spring this year.
1. Surprise someone with flowers
There’s just something about fresh blooms that can really brighten someone’s day. It’s why I can’t wheel past the flowers at Trader Joe’s without picking up a lovely $6 bouquet. On your next trip to the farmer’s market, grocery store, or TJ’s, pick up a second bundle and make someone’s day a little more special.
2. Do something special for your mom or mother figure in their love language
A text or a social media post just doesn’t feel like enough for the person who birthed or helped raise you. Consider doing the thing they find most meaningful by focusing on their love language this Mother’s Day.
If you’re not familiar with the five love languages, the theory comes from Dr. Gary Chapman, who suggests there are five unique ways people show and feel love; words of affirmation, acts of service, gift-giving, quality time, and physical touch. You can probably guess what’s most meaningful to your mom by the way she shows love to you. Is she a big hugger? Probably physical touch. Did she put sweet little notes in your lunchbox? She might be words of affirmation.
For a words-of-affirmation mom, a heartfelt, handwritten note can become a treasured keepsake. If quality time is her preference, make plans on or around the day to do something special (safely) together.
3. Swap your kids’ bookshelf with springy favorites
If your children have a bookshelf, let them help you sort out the wintertime subjects and swap in some spring selections. If you’re up to it, you can even style their shelves with spring-themed garland, baby stuffed animals, or other items that say “spring” to you.
4. Commit to a tangible change to celebrate Earth Day
Earth Day is April 22 and a perfect time to decide how you’d like to help the planet as a family. One approach: take a thoughtful look into your garbage—what are you throwing away most often? Maybe it’s single-use plastics and you can consider investing in alternatives for plastic bags, straws, water bottles, and more.
Or maybe you have an animal lover in your family? Brainstorm ways to raise money or bring awareness to help the species closest to your little one’s heart. Whatever you do, choosing something tangible to do as a family can help keep everyone accountable and engaged in caring for the earth beyond April 22.
5. Go on a scavenger hunt to find the first signs of spring
The perennials are just starting to poke through and the birds have begun chirping early in the morning. It’s a perfect time to take a family walk or hike and point out the sounds and signs of spring. Have your kids look, listen, (and hopefully feel the warmer weather) on a nature-themed scavenger hunt.
6. Walk or bike somewhere you’d usually drive to
Pretty self-explanatory, but see the warmer weather as an open invitation to get outside and go somewhere on foot you’d usually get to by car… within reason of course.
7. Do a detox unrelated to food
Think about what’s been bringing you down or making you feel unhealthy. Is social media upping your anxiety? Try deleting the apps from your phone for a week. Wish you could resist the pull of Netflix or Prime Video at the end of a long day? Try picking up a book or listening to a podcast instead of reaching for the remote. Marking the transition from working at home with a hearty glass of wine (maybe that’s just me?) Try taking a walk around the block after quitting time instead and see how you feel (you can still have that glass later, but maybe you won’t feel like you need it). Take note of what you learn after a week-long detox. Or if a week still feels too daunting, try a weekend.
8. Take the next step in your anti-racism journey
Still feel like you’re learning? Listen to a new podcast or add a book to your reading list. Ready to affect some policy change? Learn what’s happening in your community. Local Facebook groups are a good place to start to see how you can best support the movement. Most importantly, keep having the tough conversations in your circle of influence.
9. Learn about another spring holiday your family doesn’t usually celebrate
Easter, Passover, and Ramadan all happen in the spring. Whatever your family celebrates, make an effort to teach your kids about the holidays other friends or neighbors may also be celebrating at the same time. Children’s books are a great place to begin!
10. Get outdoors on a rainy day
As the Scandinavians say, “no bad weather, only bad clothes,” goes for springtime too. What kid doesn’t like jumping in a puddle? Get on their boots and raincoats, grab the umbrellas, and venture outdoors for worm spotting, puddle splashing, and more rainy day fun.
11. Spring clean more than your closet
Who else loves the seasonal wardrobe swap? The transition when turtleneck sweaters move to the back of the closet and shorts, dresses, and tanks take center stage brings me joy. In addition to the spring swap and purge, think about other, unexpected areas of your home you could spring clean: like your underwear drawer, spice rack, or the trunk of your car.
12. Try seed-starting
Seed-starting turned into a months-long activity for my girls last spring. We planted a dozen cucumber and a dozen tomato seeds in egg cartons in late March, which meant my kids were checking for signs of growth, watering (and overwatering in my 4-year old’s case), and generally assessing the health of their “babies” each day. By June, we were able to transfer six healthy plants to an outdoor garden.
13. Make a spring break staycation feel special
If you have school-aged kids, doing something for spring break matters even if you aren’t traveling. Many parents may feel like they’ve exhausted all at-home activities to do as a family over the past year, so consider exploring safe options beyond your home like a nearby state park or a day trip to the beach (remember, you don’t have to go in the water to build sandcastles!).
14. Get in line for your COVID-19 vaccine
If you’re not already vaccinated, President Biden announced in his nationwide address on March 11 that all U.S. adults will be able to sign up for a vaccine by May 1. If you’re planning to get vaccinated, be sure to sign up as soon as you’re eligible.