20 Ways to Savor Springtime

With a new season just around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to revisit this popular post from The Art of Simple archives.


Spring is here, and depending on where you live, it might feel like you’re on a speeding train to summer. This is one of my favorite times of year (it’s a tie with fall, I think), and it flies by way too quickly. It’s one of the best seasons for being outside.

In our air-conditioned, drive everywhere, year-round produce section world, it’s easy to ignore the organic, orchestrated rhythm of nature and life. Generations past appreciated each season for what it provided and for what it required, and we don’t want that to die with ours.

Here’s a few ways to fully relish the spring.

1.  Eat as seasonally as you can. Appreciate the spring season for what it provides—each climate is different, of course, but in many parts of the northern hemisphere, this means asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, lettuce, and strawberries.

2.  Eat locally, so that your food is seasonal. See if you can source part of your food from a 100-mile radius.

3.  Join a CSA, then visit the farm as a family. This is an easy, fun way to ensure your food was grown nearby.

4.  Go camping. If you live in the south, the summer is too hot for camping without a constant layer of stickiness. If it’s still too chilly where you live, put a date on the calendar.

5.  Fly a kite. There’s only so many days in the year this is possible.

6.  Eat your meals outside. Dining al fresco was one of our daily rituals we picked up from living overseas, and now we eat at least one meal per day outside on our porch or lawn. (Sometimes we eat all three.)


Photo from Amanda Soule

7.  Do what you’d normally do, but outside. Drape a blanket over the grass, and read, play, study, or talk. Kyle and I love to take our morning weekend coffee to the front porch.

8.  Cultivate a little garden. Here’s 5 gardening 101 basics for us beginners. You Grow Girl is also a great resource.

9.  On Earth Day (April 22), research one new way your family can be kinder to the environment.

10.  Get your hobby on. There’s something about spring that makes me want to read good novels. For you, perhaps it’s scrapbooking, or photography, or sewing. Or lying in the hammock. Do what you can outside.

11.  Go hiking, or even just walking. Get your legs moving and soak in the pleasant weather.

12.  Check out nature books on bugs, birds, leaves, and wildflowers. Keep them handy when your kids find discoveries in their outdoor playtime. Together, research the names of your finds.


Photo by Abigail Batchelder

13.  Start spring cleaning. Take a week or two to refresh and declutter your home. (You might like my first book, Organized Simplicity, to gently guide you.)

14.  Redecorate in small ways to celebrate the spring season. Add some greenery inside, open the windows, and brighten up your color palette. I love my friend Myquillyn’s series of seasonal decor classes for this!

15.  Feed ducks living in a local pond. Simple, old-fashioned, fun. Don’t overload them, and don’t use bread.

16.  Build a bird feeder, bird bath, or bird house for your backyard or balcony.

17.  Go to a local wildlife sanctuary or preserve. It’s much nicer when the weather hasn’t gotten too hot yet.

18.  Try line drying your clothes, even just for a month or two. This is another task done by most other cultures around the world, and the spring breeze makes this timeless household task go quickly.

clothesline
Photo by Madzia Bryll

19.  Visit the farmer’s market as a family, and make this a weekly ritual.

20.  Go on a wildflower drive and stop to sketch the flowers. Our family loved doing this so much, it’s now an annual tradition.

Reading Time:

3 minutes

 

 

 

45 Comments

  1. lunzy

    Love this! We do most of these things already, but this year I think we will try to do more active things outside, like camping and hiking. I’m not excited about this yet, but I think once I get into it, we will have a blast. 🙂 Trying to get out of my comfort zone, so to speak. I love, love, love this time of year!
    .-= lunzy´s last blog ..National De-lurking Day! =-.

    Reply
  2. Sherry

    Oh, how I love spring! It is my favorite time of the year! The smells of the flowers and the radiance of their colors accompanied by warmer weather all make me smile. I have a bird feeder out back that I love to sit and watch especially when the younger birds come up with mommy and daddy bird.
    .-= Sherry´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday April 5th – 11th =-.

    Reply
  3. Rose

    I’m excited to walk barefoot in the grass without freezing my feet 😀 I love your idea to make knew throw pillow covers, so easy, so simple, with a wonderful and new effect! 😀
    .-= Rose´s last blog ..Eating cookies =-.

    Reply
  4. Maya

    I will add – Slow down on your work – just a little bit.

    Picking up a little lesser work is really preparing me to enjoy my spring and summer with my family and kids.

    Such fresh ideas, Tsh! your post smells like Spring 🙂
    .-= Maya´s last blog ..Why is storytelling important? =-.

    Reply
  5. vinajoy

    What a great list! I love transitions to a new season! We love staying outdoors as much as we can!!! This year, I’m going to attempt a clotheslines and I’m digging being outside in the garden, newbie that I am!!
    .-= vinajoy´s last blog ..Embracing the Empty Spaces: A Revolution of Emptiness =-.

    Reply
  6. Maria

    Great ideas and I love the photos too. It is still snowing in Utah and I am NOT happy about that. I want my spring sunshine already!

    Reply
  7. Tepary

    And when you must drive somewhere turn off the A/C and roll down the window. Better yet, hop on a bike or walk.

    Love your ideas!
    .-= Tepary´s last blog ..Close to Home =-.

    Reply
    • Tsh

      Good one! My kids love this.

      Reply
      • Richard

        I love that idea too. We are in Oklahoma, so like it’s only in the months of April or October when you can do that! There are a LOT of good suggestions here. Too bad spring is such a very BUSY time for me. I am a serious gardener, so that takes up almost ALL of my free time. It’s almost impossible to squeeze anything else in. But I will try!

        Reply
  8. Simple in France

    It’s great to be able to get outside again. I think it’s very, very inspiring after being ‘holed up’ all winter. And it’s easy to keep it simple with so many wonderful springtime activities to do.

    I’d add, “put on a raincoat and stomp around in the rain and puddles,” if it happens to be raining.
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..Your favorite cheap, creative dates =-.

    Reply
    • Rana

      Absolutely! My kids did that the other day and had a blast.
      .-= Rana´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday =-.

      Reply
  9. blissmamaof3

    So so glad to hear you’re doing another spring cleaning series! I’ve got the ebook and will start on Monday, April 12th. The spring cleaning party from last year sounded great, I was hoping for something similar this time around. Thank you!

    Reply
  10. Dustin | Engaged Marriage

    These are great! We love camping, which will be a bit more of a challenge with a 6-months pregnant wife this spring/summer. However, we can still enjoy eating outside (I’m a grill maniac) and trips to the St. Louis Zoo are always regular events for our family.

    Hooray for Spring!
    .-= Dustin | Engaged Marriage´s last blog ..Do You Pray With Your Kids? =-.

    Reply
    • Tsh

      My husband is a grillaholic, too. 🙂

      Reply
  11. se7en

    Oh What a great crisp spring list, especially getting outdoors… We are heading into Autumn and it has been quite a bit cooler and so tempting to stay indoors… So I am trying to find ways to get outdoors constantly!!!
    .-= se7en´s last blog ..The Week That Was – 2.40 =-.

    Reply
  12. Laura @ livingourway

    I just spent years inside from being ill. Now that I am feeling better, I am getting outside every chance I can. One of my favorite rituals is just taking the kids out side every day. We go on a short hike to look at the rest of our land and it makes me realized how blessed we are.
    .-= Laura @ livingourway´s last blog ..Cheaper By the Dozen =-.

    Reply
  13. Kara

    I enjoy doing many of these activities. 🙂

    Reply
  14. Jen

    I must admit I have to giggle a little when the world starts talking about springtime in April. Sadly – where I live in the great white Canadian north, we usually still have snow until mid May. This year it’s actually all gone already (very odd for us!!) but the wind is still bitter and hanging laundry on the line is still a good 2 months away! But I will tuck this great list away for June 🙂
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Cranky =-.

    Reply
    • Tsh

      I was just telling Aimee (editor of Simple Bites), who lives in Canada, that already here in central Texas it’s getting too muggy to be outside from about 2-6 p.m. She found that funny, too. 🙂

      Reply
  15. Lisa @ WellGrounded Life

    One of my favorite It’s Spring activities is taking a pajama walk at dusk with the kids…it is so fun to take a stroll while the world is in that “not quite dark glow” in pajamas together.
    .-= Lisa @ WellGrounded Life´s last blog ..Getting Healthy Foods In On The Fly =-.

    Reply
  16. Becky

    One of my favorite things to do with the kids during spring is to go outside, sit under a tree and read a great springy book. Fairies seem to be the latest favorite (doesn’t that just remind you of spring). Today I was looking around for great fairy books and noticed that next week, April 13th, a new Disney Tinkerbell book is coming out! I can’t wait to buy it. It is sure to leave a lasting memory imprint on my kids (springtime will remind them of fairies and butterflies and flowers)- that is what I think of when I think of springtime at least.
    .-= Becky´s last blog ..beckybooks: Just realized that there is a new Tinkerbell book coming out on April 13th! Beautiful photos… the kids and I can’t wait! =-.

    Reply
  17. Iris

    This is a great list. Thank you.
    One note of caution: It is not a good idea to feed ducks. They will live longer and be healthier eating only their natural foods (aquatic plants, seeds, grasses, insects) rather than handouts from well-meaning humans. When they get used to handouts, they lose their natural fear of humans and may become aggressive to get more food. There is some evidence that regular handouts can interrupt migration instincts because they believe the food source will be readily available all year long. Bread products are the equivalent to junk food for birds, and too much bread (not just from your family but many other families) can lead to malnutrition. Environmentally conscious birders refrain from offering any bread products to wild ducks and waterfowl to avoid dietary and behavior problems.

    Reply
  18. Kristin McLendon

    Can you give us a tutorial for #14?? I would LOVE to make some new throw pillows!!! 🙂
    .-= Kristin McLendon´s last blog ..Love Came Down =-.

    Reply
    • Tsh

      Sure. Actually, I’ve got some sewing 101 posts up my sleeve, so I’ll be sure and include that…

      Reply
  19. Jennifer Tankersley

    It helps to live in a place with dramatic season changes. Believe me, we up here in Maine cannot not enjoy the spring as it comes! It is sensational and unmistakable. This past weekend was our first beautiful weekend and I think our family did at least half of the things on this list. Yea, spring!
    .-= Jennifer Tankersley´s last blog ..the week ahead 4/5/2010 =-.

    Reply
  20. Tina @ Ride On Toys

    Oh how I miss being able to hang my clothes out on the line…no clotheslines allowed in my development! 🙁 I still put up a little makeshift line of my own on the really nice days. One of my favorite things in the spring is going out in the backyard with the dog and watching her chase all the bunnies and birds. Even she gets excited by the change in weather!
    .-= Tina @ Ride On Toys´s last blog ..Childrens Ride on Toys Help Kids Reach Important Developmental Milestones =-.

    Reply
  21. John

    Nothing beats rolling in the grass.

    Reply
  22. Rana

    Love this list. We have been doing some of these things already too. My daughter and I had a lovely afternoon on a blanket in the grass and she told me stories. We have also started grilling and using our new smoker to smoke meats. It’s wonderful to be able to eat outside again.
    .-= Rana´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday =-.

    Reply
  23. Laura

    I really love this list, and could use the reminders to make sure the kids and I enjoy this wonderful season. Would you mind if I printed this out and stuck it on our fridge?
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Living Deliberately. =-.

    Reply
  24. Soultravelers3

    I am with you Tsh, spring is my favorite season too and it is always thrilling even though we don’t have much of a winter here in southern Spain.

    Love your ideas and see that we do many of them all year long as we try to live an “eternal spring” by following the weather on our world tour. We start getting ready around this point to start our 6 month European RV road trip and your tips remind me how much we love to eat every meal outside, hike more, unplug and just live in nature. We’re ready! 😉

    One of the best things about spring in Spain are the festivals. It was such a perfect Easter in our little village where everyone from the oldest to the youngest were participating in the procession. Can’t wait for the Horse Fair & flamenco songs and dances.
    .-= Soultravelers3´s last blog ..Family Travel, Homeschool, Education & Global Students =-.

    Reply
  25. Period Dramas

    Thanks for these wonderful suggestions! I may go and fly my kite after reading this! 🙂
    I recently went to a farm and saw the cutest calves. I could have stayed watching them for hours!

    Reply
  26. kirwin

    One of our favorite things to do in the springtime is buy a container of ladybugs at the local nursery, and then free them in our garden. You have to let them go at dusk; then, they’ll stay all night and eat all the bad bugs. If you let them go earlier in the day, they just fly away. This year, the girls next door were “stealing our ladybugs” (my son’s words) so I had to go out there with my Stern Teacher’s Hat on, and put a stop to that immediately! : )
    .-= kirwin´s last blog ..Listening to me =-.

    Reply
  27. Maryalene

    I love this list, and it definitely highlights how different spring is in different parts of the country. It’s still rainy and 40s/50s here in Michigan (couple counties are expected to get 4-8 inches of snow tonight!) so we’ll have to wait until summer for some of these suggestions. 🙂

    Reply
  28. Kathryn

    I am especially excited about eating seasonally! Fruits and veggies are so much better in spring and summer, and after a long winter, I’m ready for some delicious, fresh foods!

    Reply
  29. DC

    Turning to spring finally in my area so time to implement! Went for my first “spring” bike ride of the year today although bit chilly at only 45F & windy LOL. Can’t wait for camping & favorite campsite reservations start tomo but since spots go like wildfire need to be online at 6:30am! Ugh lol

    Reply
  30. Cheri

    What a great list to motivate me to get out. We subscribed to a CSA before we had a garden and it was the best investment we ever made in healthy eating. I was raised on broccoli, canned peas, frozen corn – repeat…
    It was an education to figure out what to do with all those “weird” vegetables. The CSA box is just pricey enough to make sure all the food is put to use – even if I have to resort to making a chocolate cake with the beets!
    Something to add to the exploring nature with children – keep a calendar of spring firsts (the first robin, daffodil, rainbow – whatever is normal in your area). This is especially valuable if you move from climate to climate. By adding to the calendar each year you can compare and contrast and generally be aware of seasonal change.
    Thanks again for the list.

    Reply
  31. Aimee

    Yes!!!! Spring has finally, finally come to New England this week (March was brutal here this year!). Can’t wait to line dry our clothes. I love how hanging clothes up outside helps me to slow down, breathe deeply, and soak up the sunshine. So life-giving and peaceful!

    Reply
  32. Ashley @ Reining in Mom

    Love these ideas! I’m definitely putting join a CSA on my list. We belonged to a farm co-op in our old town and loved visiting the chickens and picking our own tomatoes. I also love doing outdoor scavenger hunts with the kids so they can look at a picture and then find the item in the wild. They love it! Thanks for all of these ideas 🙂

    Reply
  33. Michelle

    I love line-drying my clothes. It saves energy and doesn’t take much work. We lived in New Zealand for a couple of years and it was the norm there. We now live in a big city in the US with very small yards and I love the Brabantia topspinner rotary dryer (I have no affiliation with the company-just a personal recommendation based on my experience) because it doesn’t take up any room when it’s not in use and my husband installed it in less than an hour. So even those of us with limited space can line dry clothing!

    Reply
  34. Sabung Ayam

    Keep them handy when your kids find discoveries in their outdoor playtime.

    Reply

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