The birds are chirping, the puffer jackets are coming off, and the crocuses are blooming. That’s right, spring has sprung people, and if you’re anything like the average college student, you are in dire need of some (safe) social interaction. Here are five fun outdoor activities that will cure your friendship and sunshine withdrawal!
- Personal Picnics
BYOP! Bring your own personal picnic to a park, beach, or set up your delicious spread by a lake with some close friends. Floppy sun hats and dramatic sunglasses are mandatory! I love this idea because it does not require a lot of set up since everyone brings their own mini picnic, blanket, or folding chair to sit on. Wear something cozy and fun like the magical and trendy nap dresses, which are allegedly so comfy you can fall asleep in them. I’m definitely going to test that theory. Bonus idea: bake yourself some cookies or cupcakes beforehand—you deserve to treat yourself!
- Take a Trip Back to Your Childhood: Fly a Kite
I tried this with my boyfriend recently and it was so fun! I felt like I stepped into Mary Poppins and was dancing around to “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.” If Gen Z loves one thing, it’s nostalgia. Dive back into the days of your youth and bring some friends along with you! Take adorable pictures for the ‘gram (of course) and get that cardio in! All the running is actually fantastic cardio. Embrace your playful side and buy a kite for the low price of 3-5 dollars. Walmart has a really fierce dragon kite that I’m tempted to buy for my next kite outing. There’s also a gorgeous rainbow kite with streamers at Target. Of course, to any novice kite flyers, make sure to keep a distance from trees and other kites to avoid tangling and collisions.
- Fireside Hang
I actually did this one with some girlfriends around a firepit! Sit around the fire and spill the tea, while sipping tea! I had earl grey in my “This Llama Doesn’t Need Your Drama” mug, which is truly iconic. During my fireside sesh, there was a lot of hot gossip (get it, fire, hot, hehe). Here’s a cute idea for this hang: have each of your friends make a playlist of 5 songs, and have each person share their modern-day mixtape while you all sit back and relax. Bring some marshmallows and take turns making s’mores. From golden and crisp to completely scorched, everyone has their own s’more style.
- Talk and Walk! Keep it Simple
Take a stroll with your friends through a pretty neighborhood or drive and meet up at a park. It is super easy to social distance on a walk, and I think you and your friends will appreciate the change of scenery. Having been stuck inside a lot this winter due to freezing weather and lockdowns, for me, getting outside gave me such a lovely shift in perspective. Later on in your walk, take a silent moment to sit down with your friends. Then, write a list on your phone or on paper of what you are each grateful for, and then share if you are comfortable doing so. Taking a moment of gratitude and reflection is so beneficial with regard to mental health, and it increases the appreciation you have for friends and family.
- Go Paddleboarding or Kayaking During the Sunrise or Sunset
Kayaking and paddleboarding are fantastic ways to exercise, and you can watch a beautiful sunrise/sunset while doing so. Watching the sun come up or go down is such a lovely bonding experience. You don’t need to go out very far, just paddle out a bit on a lake or in the ocean and watch the beautiful lights and colors in the shimmering water. This activity is weather permitting, but as spring sweeps a blanket of warmth over the country, I am sure you will be able to go out and watch the sunrise with your closest friends. If the weather has not been on your side lately, fret not. To quote Dolly Parton, “You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.”
I love spring because everything comes alive and, after a harsh chilly winter, flowers scatter the earth like stars. I hope you have a chance to get outside and celebrate spring with some dear friends, so go out and enjoy the sunshine!