Doing your part to flatten the curve doesn't mean you can't get out and enjoy the spring. Now more than ever, people of all ages need the proven benefits of time outdoors (including reduced stress and anxiety!). Looking for ideas and inspiration? Check out recommendations from the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education and Kentucky Environmental Education Council for ways to get outside this month (and keep yourself and your children engaged and learning) while keeping yourself and others healthy.

Outdoor family experiences

-Take a hike. Many nature and hiking trails around the state remain open for hikers. Just keep social distancing recommendations in mind on the trails!

-Go biking. Whether on a trail or in your neighborhood, a bike ride is an ideal activity this spring.

-Take your kids on a bug hunt (and/or bird and/or butterfly hunt)!

-Count the stars and name the constellations. Make your own star finder from NASA.

-Have a family campout. Like several of Kentucky's state parks, many campgrounds are still open this March.

-Explore nearby streams.

-Outdoor experiences near home

-Get a jumpstart on spring planting.

-Take a walk or jog. Benefit from movement and fresh air! Turn a walk in the neighborhood or the park into an adventure. Set the stage before heading out, and allow your children to map, journal, and reflect on the discoveries they make along the way.

-Incorporate the outdoors into your children's day. While schools are closed, parents and guardians can keep their little learners engaged with the world around them. Though no formal curriculum is needed for some students, hundreds of curricular outdoor activities are available for free online.

-Start (or continue) a nature journal.

-Practice outdoor yoga or meditation.

-Have that family campout take place in your own backyard.

-Make sidewalk chalk artwork.

-Design a simple kite and take it flying.

-Play yard games.

-Create a backyard nature fort with branches, rocks, and leaves! Ask your children what animals might live in this place. Have them pick their favorite (or two) and make up a story about them.

-Install a rain barrel.

-Take a walk or jog. Take advantage of wherever you are to explore your outdoors.

-Lead lessons about the outdoors while you're indoors. Many activities are designed to be entirely flexible and allow for learning about the outdoors from inside a formal classroom or at home.

-Read a book/draw or paint/play a card or board game on your balcony or patio. Take your schoolwork and other fun activities outside, too.

-Check out wildlife webcams and live streams from zoos and nature centers.

-Make a homemade bird feeder, or buy one to hang on your deck.

-Take virtual (and free) tours of 31 national parks . No, it's not like visiting them in person. But it's very cool. And you can do it from your couch, which at the moment isn't a bad thing.

-Plant spring flowers and herbs for your windowsills.

Whatever you do, don't forget to get outside!

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