Does it feel like spring where you live? Some places are still in the depths of winter while others haven’t seen winter yet this year. Hike it Baby hikes are in full swing wherever you live, regardless of season, but as always, interest picks up in the springtime. And it’s easy to see why. Days are getting longer, birds are singing, trees are budding. Spring is springing. Or at least getting ready to start.
Although Hike it Baby’s main goal is to get families outside, regardless of how, sometimes a themed hike can be a whole lot of fun! Recently, several branch ambassadors brainstormed hike ideas and came up with fun spring-themed hikes. These are great to do with a group or on your own.
Spring-themed hikes revolving around specific dates
March 14 – Pi Day
Pi day celebrates the mathematical symbol with infinite digits, but that is typically truncated at 3.14 for all but the most advanced mathematical calculations of circular objects. There are so many fun ways to celebrate. Our imaginative team favorites were.
- Actual pie. Why not? In addition to the word pronunciation, pie is also round, and the size and circumference are calculated using pie. It’s also a great opportunity to teach preschoolers about words that sound the same but taste mean different things – homonyms. And, pie is delicious.
- Mud pie. Let’s get muddy, with the perfect excuse to use some awesome Oaki trail or dry tyke suits. See justifications above under “Actual pie” if you need any.
- Bubbles. Bubbles are spherical, and all kids love bubbles.
- .14 mile walks/hikes/jogs. Let’s take Pi Day literally and apply the number to an excursion length. You could also make them 3.14 km or 31.4 minutes long.
- Education. Add an educational component with these STEM-themed Pi Day activities (like these).
March 17 – Pot o’ Gold hikes
We can call these hikes anything, especially if you’re trying to stay away from saints day names. Shamrock Shuffle, Pot of Gold, End of the Rainbow, Lucky Leprechaun. The sky is the limit and the options for fun are endless. Some fun themes we’ve come up with are to hide spray-painted gold rocks before the hike and go on a rock hunt, end hikes at a “pot of gold” or “rainbow” that you’ve designated, share rainbow-themed or green foods (cookies, candy) or drinks (smoothies, juice), or going on shamrock hunts!
March 21 – Spring Day or Spring Equinox outings
There are myriad ideas for getting out this special day when day and night are the same length, and when spring officially begins on the calendar. Pick any fun spring theme (see non-date-specific hikes below) and just schedule a celebration hike. OR, if you want to get into the fun theme game, wrap pipe cleaners around a pencil to create spring shapes and then hand the springs out to everyone at a hike. They make great zipper pulls or fun springy things. If meeting somewhere with natural stairs, you could also bring a few slinkies and experiment with sending them downward.
Rotating Dates – Eggstravanzas hikes
There are lots of fun ways to do an egg party, including requesting each participant bring a few eggs filled with candy or toys, and have a few caregivers hide them while the kids go on a short (20-minute) walk. Another great option is to have a bunny hop and have older kids hop to the finish line. 2016: March 27. 2017: April 16. 2018: April 1
April 22 – Earth Day hikes
Organize a trail clean up hike and picnic. If your city has a clean up program, they may provide bags and gloves if you connect with them. Otherwise, contractor bags and latex gloves are inexpensive if you wish to provide them. Meet at a park or trail your group frequents and divide into smaller groups to clean up and after a set period of time (30-40 minutes), meet back at the original place for a picnic. Bring your own food or a dish to share.
May 1 – May Day hikes
There are so many ways you could celebrate May Day.
- Flower headbands or leis. These are both festive and spring-like. Bring your own, or make some there.
- May poles. Create the pole out of an inexpensive piece of pvc or even smaller hiking poles. The ribbons could be made out of anything from fabric scraps to contractor ribbons. Or you could use found art and go round an existing feature… a soccer goal, anything.
Non-date specific hikes
Sometimes it’s simply fun to make ordinary hikes extraordinary with a touch of fun. Here are some hike ideas that you can do any time.
- Flower scavenger hunt/identification. Search for as many different types of flowers as you can. Elect a photographer to capture each one and then let everyone do research on their own (or not) about the different flower types.
- Butterfly (or bird) hunts. What a fun way to explore the world by searching for other living creatures. Want to make it extra fun? Bring butterfly, insect wing costumes for your kiddos.
- Bubble walks. Because bubbles. Children of all ages love bubbles. And you can get small bottles inexpensively on Amazon or at your local party stores.
- Spring field day. Hold fun events like sack races, bubble contests, read fun stories snacks to share, and more!
- Puddle jumping contests. Again, wear your Oaki rain suit and waterproof boots because the kids will lie down, roll over and stomp in puddles. But it’s fun, so who cares? And bring dry clothes for everyone in your vehicle.
- Spring clean up hikes. We talked about these during Earth Day, but it’s a great hike to do any time, and not just in spring. Give back and help make the trails you love better.
Obscure holidays can be fun too! Why not celebrate International Picnic Day (June 18), or Water a Flower Day (May 30), or No Housework Day (April 7)? Need to find your own obscure holidays? I love this site.
Regardless of the theme (or not) of your hike, we can’t wait to hear about your exploits! See you out on the trail!
Have more fun ideas for spring-themed hikes? Comment with them below!
Photo Credits: Ashley Scheider Photography, Deanna Curry
Erin Pennings’ main duty in life is making sure that her sweet, but very busy toddler, Emmett, doesn’t dive head first off the highest thing he can climb. She is also an outdoor advocate, formerly avid traveler, animal lover, and a lifestyle blogger who loves food. Follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @SalmonAtSeven.