39 Best Things to Do Outside for Earth Month
Meaghan Weeden | April 7, 2021 | 7 min read
39 Fun Things to Do Outside to Celebrate Earth Month and Spring
Spring has sprung, it's officially Earth Month, and Earth Day is right around the corner! If you're anything like us, you're probably itching to do all the nature-related things and perhaps wondering: are there any fun things to do near me? Well we're happy to assure you that from climbing trees (or planting them!) to geocaching and starting a compost, there are plenty of ways you can get outside and celebrate Earth Month 2021 — no matter where you live. The best part? Most of these won't cost you a dime!
Read on for 39 Fun Things to Do at Home And In Your Local Environment!
1. Climb a Tree
You don't have to be a kid to climb trees, but you may need to channel your inner child for a little while — and be willing to look a little silly as you rediscover your lost talents! Just remember a few key safety points: find a tree with low branches and access points, test every branch to make sure it’s alive before resting your full weight on it, and resist the impulse to climb up to the top, as the branches there tend to be younger (and therefore more likely to break). Just keep close to the trunk, where the branches are sturdiest, and you should be fine. Once you get up there, kick back and enjoy the view!
2. Go Geocaching
If you love nature + adventures but haven't yet tried geocaching — well, what are you waiting for? Just download the official geocache app, start following the coordinates, and hiking will never be the same (sorry not sorry!). With varying levels of difficulty, this is a great activity for all ages — some geocaches are in big containers and easy to find spots, while others are so tiny they require a seriously good eye to catch. Be sure to carry some small treasures you won't mind leaving behind, and record your name on the included list to let other "cachers" know you've been by!
3. Kick Rocks
Just kidding! This tip is all about lighthearted fun and no rocks will be harmed by following it. Head outdoors and find a handful of rocks you like that have smooth surfaces and will be easy to paint. Then, set yourself up with some nontoxic paint and have fun painting words, faces, patterns, or anything else you can think of. The world is truly your oyster here, so have fun with it! Take it to another level and leave your painted creations in places where others will be sure to find them, like well-traveled hiking trails, near the beach, around your city or town, or even on a friend's patio to brighten their day.
4. Make an Acorn Whistle
If you were ever a scout, you probably already know this tip, but it's a great party trick and even survival tool if you're in an emergency situation and need to signal for help. So first things first — find an oak tree and collect a few acorn caps. Then, make a V with your thumbs and hold the cap in your hands (with the top rim of it in the middle of the V). Put your top lip on your thumb nails and your bottom lip below your thumb knuckles, and blow! You may have to adjust your hold and angle to get it right, but you should end up with a surprisingly loud, high-pitched whistle!
5. Learn How to ID Trees
If you're like us and LOVE trees, you may already be pretty good at identifying your favorite tree species. If not, pick up a local tree ID guide and see if you can identify all of the trees around your yard, or along your favorite trail. Trees are most commonly ID'd by their bark, leaves, and buds, and it's helpful to be proficient in all three points of ID so that you'll be able to confidently ID throughout the year. Bonus: if you're into maple syrup (let's be honest: who isn't?), make a point to ID any mature sugar maples around you so that you'll be able to tap them next winter!
6. Clean Up Your Local Environment
Nothing says earth month like cleaning up trash from your local riverbanks, parks, and community areas. And with the right group, it can be fun! So volunteer for a clean-up, throw on your yard clothes, thick gloves, and a good sturdy pair of boots, and get cleaning! No events near you? Just start your own! Gather with friends and family within your COVID bubble, and see what you can accomplish together. Want to up the stakes? A little friendly competition never hurt anyone, so put together some fun prizes to celebrate things like most trash collected, weirdest object collected, and more!
7. Go on a Mushroom Walk
Mushrooms are incredible beings and what we know about them only scratches the surface. For example, the part we see and think of as the mushroom, is actually only the fruiting body — and that mushrooms have underground mycelium networks that can extend for several meters? Mycologists love talking mushrooms, so sign up for a mushroom walk near you, be sure to follow local COVID-19 guidelines, and prepare to get your socks knocked off by all of the awesome mushroom varieties growing in forests near you!
8. Pull Invasive Species
Speaking of cleaning up your local environment, reach out to your local environmental organization to find out what species are invasive to your area, and how to properly ID them. You may even be able to join an invasive species pull to get some experience under your belt. While this sounds suspiciously like manual labor, there's an odd satisfaction to be found in yanking invasive species out of the ground — especially when you're able to save native trees and shrubs from getting killed or outcompeted.
9. Plant native Trees
You can accomplish this by planting native trees on your property, signing up for a volunteer tree planting event near you, or even leaving the planting to us by donating to one of our awesome projects. Because when it comes to protecting the climate, trees are the real OGs, and planting them has consistently ranked as the #1 climate change solution. After all, they help clean the air we breathe and the water we drink, stabilize the soil to prevent erosion, provide habitat for biodiversity, absorb carbon, and so much more!
10. Make a nature crown
Channel your inner woodland creature and gather up fallen branches, leaves, flowers, and anything else that calls to you. Once you've got a good collection, string or braid everything together to create a crown that would make Galadriel proud. To make a sturdier crown, create a frame with a vine or metal circlet if you have one. And hey, if this inspires an inpromptou photoshoot? Well, we won't judge!
11. Dry Your Clothes Outdoors
Spring has sprung! Temperatures are rising and the sun’s rays are getting warmer, so there's no better time to hang dry your clothes and get that fresh air dried scent! Why bother? Dryers are remarkably inefficient: an average load of laundry washed and dried in a conventional dryer emits about 5.3 lbs of carbon dioxide (CO2 equivalent) per full load. By comparison, a load washed and hang dried only emits around 1.5 lbs!
12. Get your OM on
Head to a quiet spot and find yourself a comfortable place to sit (bring a blanket and your meditation cushion if you need to), and settle into lotus position or whatever is comfortable (you could even lay down) to meditate on the sounds and smells of nature. Breathe in the healing energy and vibrations of the natural world, and breathe out anything that you're holding onto. Do this for as long as you'd like — even just 5 minutes of meditation can do wonders for your state of mind!
13. Dust off your Bike
Haul your bike out of storage for some springtime adventures! If you have a local rail trail, awesome. If not, hit up some less-traveled hiking trails and try your hand at mountain biking to really take in your local environment in a different way. Just don't forget that helmet! Mountain biking requires balance, agility, and a good sense of humor when (not if) you hit rocks, roots, and other impediments not found on groomed bike trails. We think it's worth it, though!
14. Support Your Local Farmer
Visit a local farmers' market. Not only will you be helping to support growers in your area, but buying local cuts out fossil-fuel intensive transport by air, land, and sea. We guarantee that the food will also be a fresher, tastier, more sustainable, and way more nutritious — and by supporting local farmers, you’ll add dollars back into your local economy, which benefits you and your community. Alternatively, you can join a CSA or sign up for a local delivery service!
15. Go Forest Bathing
From towering evergreens to meandering streams, nature is there for us to lean on — we just have to open ourselves up to it. Forest bathing has many proven health benefits like reducing stress and anxiety and strengthening your immune system — and besides, it's just plain fun. Plus, it’s as simple as it gets: all you need is a forest, time, and patience. So head to a forested area and take it all in. Keep in mind, the more natural the setting the better, as it will offer up more for your senses.
16. Break out the boats!
If your local lake or river is no longer frozen, then there's no time like the present to get out there and start paddling! Even if the water is too cold for swimming, there's nothing stopping you from enjoying the scenery from the water! Just be sure to let someone know what you're doing, wear a life vest, apply plenty of sunscreen, and pack plenty of snacks and drinks if you're planning to be out for a while!
17. Do Some Outdoor Yoga
Gather a few friends or keep it simple and head outdoors for a solo yoga session. Just roll out your mat on a flat, tick-free spot and let your senses guide you through whatever poses feel right. This is a great opportunity to concentrate on mind-body wellness while connecting with the great outdoors. Bonus points if you can get to a local beach at sunrise or sunset for some true sun-moon yoga!
18. Go Stargazing
The next time there's a clear night, grab a few blankets, a thermos filled with hot chocolate or tea, and snuggle up under the stars. Test your knowledge with a stargazer app, or just enjoy the awesomeness of it all. Prime nights for stargazing this month include April 8th, when the moon will be in conjunction with Jupiter, April 9-21st for the Lyrid Meteor Shower which will peak on the 21st, and the Pink Moon on the 26th!
19. Make a Full Moon Infusion
On April 26th, the Full Pink Moon will be shining bright in the sky. For eons, humans have been following the phases of the moon, and this one feels like a pretty special opportunity to celebrate spring with a nourishing lunar herbal infusion. Just place your favorite tea herbs in a clear mason jar, cover with pure water and lightly cap, then leave it under the light of the moon for a magical, healing infusion for the next day!
20. Hit the Trails
On the back of a horse, that is. Never ridden before? Search around to find an insured and reputable local barn or trail riding service, make sure they take good care of their horses (and take your safety seriously), then prepare to enjoy nature like never before! They say the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a (wo)man, and we have to agree that there's something special about connecting with a being that's wired so differently from us humans!
21. Get Your Garden On!
Whether you're starting seeds or purchasing veggie and herb starts, there's nothing quite like getting your hands in the dirt to feel connected to the earth. And the organic fruits, veggies and herbs you'll get out of the deal are pretty great, too! Don't have land to work? That's okay! Even just a few pots on your patio, your balcony, or in a sunny window can yield you plenty of delicious food. Got kids? Gardening is a great way to get them outside and teach them about healthy food!
22. Make a Nature Mandala
Head outside to your yard, local park, or forest (or beach if you're lucky!), and gather up fallen twigs, leaves, pebbles, shells, or anything else that you see. When you've got a nice cache of stuff collected, create a beautiful nature mandala to relax your mind and delight your senses. You'll know when you're done, and don't forget: it should be fun, not perfect!
23. Host A Farm to Table Dinner
Showcase the bounty of local farms with a spring-themed farm-to-table dinner in your backyard! Have everyone dress up a little bit, bring out a folding table, and set it as if you're at a fine restaurant. Your family and friends will surely appreciate the chance to get out of their sweats and enjoy a uniquely delicious, sustainable meal in the great outdoors.
24. Harvest the rain
Depending on your local ordinances and rainfall, you may be able to collect rain to help expand your garden without jacking up your water bill. You can either purchase one that's made with eco-friendly materials or go the DIY route and retrofit an old, clean barrel or garbage can with a lid, a spigot, and a downspout. It may take a little bit of time to set up, but it'll be worth it over the long term!
25. Tour Your Local Waterfalls
If you're lucky enough to live in an area with natural waterfalls, act like a tourist and take a local waterfall tour! What does this mean? Make yourself an itinerary and plan to hit at least 3 waterfalls within a comfortable distance from your home. Pack a picnic with some wine and tasty food, and be sure to have your phone or camera ready for some epic shots!
26. Build a Simple Rock Cairn
This one is as simple as it gets, but it's a great way to relax your mind by working with your hands and focusing intently on the environment around you. Just head to your nearest body of water, find some flat-ish rocks, and stack them as high as you can! Leave it when you go, so that others can appreciate your handiwork or even add to it if they'd like!
27. Scavenger Hunt
The verdict is in: scavenger hunts are fun for adults and kids alike! Take the traditional route and hide things in the woods or have your own mini bioblitz! The person who correctly identifies the most plants wins bragging rights and a fun eco-friendly prize of your choosing. It's a great way to get everyone outside — and a little healthy competition never hurt anyone!
28. Break out the Binoculars
Grab some binoculars and a local birding guide and head outside for some good old fashioned bird watching. See which ones you can identify based on their songs, physical features, and activities. You might be surprised to see what your feathered neighbors are up to!
29. Have a Backyard Movie Night
Rent or borrow a projector to bring the latest movies to a backyard near you! Invite a few friends for some socially distanced fun, and make it extra special for any kiddos with all the popcorn, candy, and snacks that would come with a traditional movie theatre experience.
30. Macro Photography
Sharpen your macro photography skills and take note of the tiny details that make up the world around you. When seen up close, everything from a tuft of moss to an ephemeral violet bloom can spark your imagination and inspire a sense of wonder. As they say, it's all in the details!
31. Have an Eco Picnic
Pack up a healthy meal prepared with local ingredients, a bottle of organic wine, and some reusable flatware and head to your favorite nature spot for a lovely springtime picnic. Spring is a great time to picnic, especially if you can do it before your local insects come out in full force. Listen closely and soak in all the energizing spring vibes!
32. Build a Fairy House
This one is great for kids, but there's nothing preventing you from doing it, too! Spring is the perfect season for some whimsical fun, so channel your inner woodland creature and collect twigs, stones, moss, pinecones, and any other fallen materials you find to create a sweet little fairy house that is sure to make you (and everyone else) smile every time you see it!
33. Toss a Ball
Sometimes the simplest things are the best, and playing a simple game of catch is no exception to that. Whether you have a canine or human companion (or both!), it's a great way to get everyone outside and enjoying the springtime weather. And if you don't come in with an ear-to-ear grin by the time you're done, you're probably doing it wrong!
34. Get Your Compost On
Depending on where you are, if the ground is thawed it's the perfect time to set up a compost pile! Want a step by step on how to start composting? Check out our free composting guide!
35. Bomb Your Local Community
With native seeds, that is! Seed bombs are simple to make and oh so fun to disperse. Just be sure that the seeds are truly native and appropriate to where you're "planting" them.
36. Pitch a Tent
Even if just in your backyard, a night spent under the stars can do wonders for your mood and outlook. So find a quiet spot, grab whatever you need to be comfortable, and enjoy!
37. Befriend your local pollinators
Support your local environment by planting native, pollinator-friendly flowers and herbs — either in containers on your balcony or directly in the ground in your backyard. The birds and the bees will thank you!
38. CHECK THE AIR FILTER IN YOUR CAR
A dirty air filter can decrease your fuel economy by up to 10%. Read your car’s user manual to figure out what type of filter you need, and how to change it out. And don’t be intimidated! This is a quick fix that anyone can do!
39. GET RID OF THAT SPARE TIRE
Most landfills won’t accept tires, but retailers that recycle them will be happy to take them off of your hands. Some tire shops will also recycle them, but for a fee. You could also get creative and upcycle them into tire swings, dog beds, and more.
So there you have it! We hope this list inspires you to get out there and enjoy everything nature has to offer! Just want to plant a tree? Plant one tree today!
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