Daffodils, magnolias, snowdrops and almond blossoms–spring is obviously on the way around London. This morning, I strolled to Hyde Park after dropping off the girls at school and went for a swim in the Serpentine. Gliding on the smooth water of the lake, I watched male swans parading for the females, all wing feathers spread out in a heart shape. Let’s face it. When the first bulbs poke their blooms from underground and the temperatures are so mild that you hesitate wearing that extra winter layer, it’s time to plan some time out with the kids. Ready?
Here are some ideas to celebrate spring by going outside
- Find some bulbs: snowdrops, daffodils and irises are some of the flowers your children will spot easily on a spring walk or hike. Sporting bright colors and scented petals, they carry with them the promise of sunny days to come. Where can you find them? Local parks and gardens, forest floors and grassy hills.
- Go on an egg hunt: not the chocolate kind, you silly, real bird eggs! By now, birds have mostly returned from their winter migrations and built a nest for the season. We have a couple of robins who disdainfully ignored the painted bird house we set out for them in our backyard and built an honest-to-robin nest in the thick roots of our wall ivy. If you do find bird eggs, take a picture and try to identify the birds at home but by all means, don’t touch them.
- Have a picnic: do you still know where you stored your picnic blanket last year? Now’s the time to dust it off and plan a day out with friends so you can enjoy a spring picnic with seasonal produce. My girls absolutely love asparagus, artichokes, peas and the very first cherries – how about your children?
- ID barenaked fruit trees: can you tell a fruit tree without its fruits and its leaves? It’s a tricky thing for sure but you totally can with this nifty photo guide to fruit tree blossoms or help from your local plant nursery. If it’s true that cherry blossoms steal the show in Japan, I for one love the sweet scent of almond blossoms on dirt roads in the south of France. Fruit tree blossoms are not just gorgeous, they usually have a very nice scent that can create memories of its own.
- Dip your toes in a river or the sea: it might be too chilly for a full-on swim, but your children can certainly splash about with their pants rolled up. Who doesn’t love building a rock dam or looking for off shells underwater? I know my girls wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to go barefoot.
Last but not least, you can celebrate spring by planning outdoors activities well ahead of time to avoid last-minute rushes. I hope you enjoy the season as much as I do and that longer days will inspire you to poke your head outside and breath some fresh air in the wild.
To finish, everybody’s favorite spring poem by William Wordsworth.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
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Laure is an author, environmental advocate, blogger, open water swimmer and now mother. She's passionate about inspiring families to enjoy the outdoors with their children, learning to unplug and living a healthy lifestyle, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Frog Mom.