After a long and (very) cold winter, it looks like spring is finally upon us! The days are longer, and the weather is a lot warmer – so why not take advantage and spend more time outdoors with your family! There are many free activities you can organize that everyone in your family can participate in. From exploring Calgary’s parks to having fun in your own backyard, you and your family don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the season.
Decide on an activity
It isn’t easy trying to decide what activity to do, especially if multiple people are involved. Why not start by getting together with your family and allowing everyone to share what activities they would like to do throughout the spring and summer. Everyone can be tasked with coming up with one or two ideas, which can be recorded on a board or sheet of paper. Once a few options have been decided, you can start putting them in to action. It is a good idea to go through all of the activities and make sure they are possible to accomplish. Are there any age limitations? Is distance or cost an issue? Do they require equipment you don’t have? Depending on what activities have been chosen, you can either decide to randomly draw an activity each weekend or every couple of weeks, or you can plan out activities for the next couple of months (especially if they are time sensitive or require special planning).
Plan your experience
For free activities like visiting city parks or natural areas, the only factor that might prevent you from visiting is the weather or renovations. Check the weather a couple of days before to get a more accurate idea of what the conditions might be and plan accordingly. Some events might take place at certain times throughout the summer and can only be experienced on certain days. If you need to book time off work, make sure that you are able to take that time, and make any other arrangements, like transportation, as soon as possible.
There are many activities that you can even plan in the comfort of your own backyard, like sports, scavenger hunts, tag, and campfires. These activities may require a visit to a local grocery or recreation store, but there are not many other tasks that need to be completed ahead of time. During periods where they weather is more unpredictable, activities like this are more ideal because they can easily be scratched or changed as needed.
Pack a bag (and bring some snacks!)
Before you head out, put together a day bag with plenty of sunscreen, bug spray, and water. Don’t forget to bring hats and sunglasses on particularly sunny days. For parents with younger children, a few snacks should also be packed for full-day activities. Snacks do not have to be anything extravagant, just enough to satisfy any hunger cravings, and prevent you from having to spend money on pricier items at stores or restaurants. Multiple snacks can even be combined in one bag to make a fun-looking treat!
Not only is this snack easy to put together, it’s healthy and easy to carry around as well. Cut up carrots, slice an apple, or wash a handful of grapes and store in a plastic container or recyclable plastic bag. When you’re choosing fruits and vegetables, choose ones that don’t have extra peels, stems or pits, and pre-cut anything that can’t easily be eaten on the go.
This is another simple snack for shorter excursions, as the cheese should not sit out for a full day, especially if you don’t have a cooler or cold place to store your bag. Consider placing the cheese slices on the crackers before placing them in a container or plastic bag for each child for a more efficient snack break.
With so many different variations, energy balls are also a delicious and easy snack that can be made up ahead of time. They can be sweet or savory, and you can bring a couple of different kinds to a weekend activity, so your family can pick and choose which ones to have. Putting the energy balls together can be a fun activity on its own, as everyone in the family can help roll them out.
Sometimes, even the best plans can fail, so always be prepared for weather, injuries or other obstacles that may impact your spring activity plans. Whatever happens, make sure that you make the most of the warmer season enjoy the warm weather with your family!