Finally, the cold, long, and snowy winter of Chicago is over, even though we always expect some snow until mid-April. Now it’s time to plan for fun and memorable spring activities for our family. That means lots of nature activities outdoors, enjoying the blooms and flowers, particularly tulips. Also, it’s time to get started with our vegetable garden.
Since the kids are younger, I have my standard list of spring bucket list activities. Then I check out Chicago Parent magazine to see if there’s anything special going on and add to our list. We used to make a huge poster with the kids and put it up on the wall. Now I use my fluorescent gel pens on black paper for fun.
The city is slowly and cautiously opening up after a year of pandemic closures. I don’t think all the festivals are going to take place this Spring and some museums are still closed while some opened up with limited capacity. Make sure you check out their websites and reserve tickets if you’re visiting museums and even the botanic gardens or the arboretums.
Here is a list of family spring bucket list ideas to inspire you to continue making memories with your family this Spring. I also created a printable pdf where you can download and write down the activities you pick for your family. Scroll down to the end of the list to download the free spring bucket list printable.
In the backyard
- Plant vegetables and flowers: This is a major Spring family activity for our family since I’ve been growing vegetables in our backyard since 2008. Kids aren’t always super enthusiastic but they participate in planning, seeding, and planting when I ask them. Don’t have a backyard? You can always grow herbs and flowers in pots at home.
- Build a bird feeder or a squirrel cafe: If you don’t feel handy, you can always buy a plain one and paint them. Once you are done, the fun continues with catching the birds and squirrels in action.
- Have a picnic in the backyard or a park: Last Summer, during the pandemic, we started a new family tradition to take out dinner and eat out in the parks, remotely and safely. The Spring version of that will be to make or grab lunch and eat it in the backyard or a park.
- Make big bubbles: Bubbles are always fun no matter what the age is.
- Build a fairy garden or a fairy terrarium: Fairy gardens are magical. If you want to keep your fairies at home try putting together a fairy terrarium in a big glass bowl.
- Build a fort or a reading nook: I love our Fort Magic fort building kit and all the possibilities. Why not build a fort out in the backyard to play pretend with or read in?
- Build a gym or an obstacle course in the backyard: Do you have children with lots of energy? A simple obstacle course made out of household items or gym equipment for kids will help them keep active and busy.
- Outdoor puppet theater: The trick with the puppet theater is to let the kids run the show. Let the kids perform while you sit back and relax in the backyard.
- Play badminton, frisbee: Frisbee works great at large parks or the beach. We play badminton when we’re in the backyard.
- Play card and board games in the backyard: Can you tell that I use all the ideas to keep the kids outdoors and off screens as soon as the weather gets slightly warmer?
- Race paper airplanes: My son loves RC airplanes but it requires preparation, charging the batteries, and a drive to the field. We alternate trying out different designs and racing paper airplanes in the backyard when we feel lazy.
- Raise backyard chickens: This one is fun but it requires dedication. Therefore, please think about it thoroughly before jumping on the backyard chicken wagon. In my opinion, chickens are great pets that require a good setup but low maintenance. You can read it here on how to start your backyard chicken adventure.
- Sidewalk art with chalk: It’s fun for the kids and the neighbors. Bring the color back to the streets.
- Have a yard sale: Once you are done with your “Spring Cleaning” at home. It’s time to get the kids to help you get rid of the clutter and make some pocket money. Just make sure you check in with local authorities to get a permit.
- Paint a mural: This is what I did last Spring and Summer and we enjoy the view in our backyard even when it’s rainy and gloomy outside. If not a mural, you can always bring out the easels and paper rolls and paint in the backyard.
- Bell pepper flower eggs for breakfast: Flowers are blooming everywhere including our breakfast plates with these bell pepper flower eggs.
- Spring cleaning: We all need a good spring cleaning to declutter the house, donate the clothes that do not fit, and toys that are not played with anymore. I either donate via online “free box groups” or sell on Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp. If you’d like, you can always have a garage sale.
- Make a bookmark or suncatcher with pressed flowers: if you bring back flowers from your stroll in the parks, use a laminator to make bookmarks or sun catchers. You can also use clear plastic salad or food containers and colored markers to make suncatchers and bring the rainbow inside the house.
- Make a fruit smoothie: Fruit smoothies are my to-go snacks when kids start scouring cabinets during afternoon cravings. I buy bags of frozen fruits and just mix them up with coconut water and some dates in the blender.
- Build a Leprechaun Trap: St Patrick’s Day is big here in Chicago. Leprechaun Traps are a common kids’ craft in the first 2 weeks of March.
- Make a wind chime: Upcycle your old keys, metal pendants, beads, or seashells to make a new wind chime to hang in your backyard or balcony.
- Make seed bombs: Make seed bombs using extra flower seeds and wet soil, and gift them to your friends and neighbors.
- Make a butterfly wing cape: This butterfly wing cape was a favorite costume along with a flower crown we got at the Renaissance Faire. it’s very simple to make and requires minimal sewing.
- Paint rocks and decorate the garden: You can paint rocks with animals, fruits, or flowers and use them as a decoration in your backyard or house. Another idea is to write inspirational quotes and leave these kindness rocks in the parks for others to enjoy.
- Have a screen-free day: Can you manage to go through the day and still have fun as a family without smartphones, tablets, or TVs? The screen-free rule applies to parents as well.
Around the neighborhood
- Volunteer at a Spring clean-up event on Earth Day: Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection and there are usually Spring clean-up events at the parks or neighborhoods where you can volunteer. You can look for a cleanup event in your community over here.
- Take a walk in the rain: One of our favorite activities, when the kids were younger, was to put on our raincoats and rain boots and go on a walk on a rainy day. What’s more fun than splashing in the puddles and walking through the mud in the parks.
- Look for a rainbow after the rain: We all still do go out and look for a rainbow after the rain.
- Search for slugs, snails, and worms after the rain: Nothing mesmerizes young kids more than a slow snail or worm that comes out after the rain. Plan for long stretches for observing the little critters.
- Pick wildflowers: My favorite wildflowers are poppies even though we don’t see a lot of them around Chicago. We see a lot of daisies, forget-me-nots, and cosmos. You can use wildflowers to make flower crowns and suncatchers.
- Look for four-leaf clovers: People say finding 4 leaf clovers bring good luck. Look for four-leaf clovers during your walks around the neighborhood or parks.
- Visit a new playground: Outdoor time is essential but sometimes you need a change of scenery. You can search for “best playgrounds” online in your neighborhood or city to pick a different playground nearby.
- Go biking: Biking is my favorite outdoor activity and we love our bike trails nearby. Kiddical Mass and Bike The Drive are also fun events to take kids to go biking. Don’t forget these biking essentials to make it safer and more fun to bike around with your kids.
- Go geocaching: Geocaching is basically a modern-day, global treasure hunt. You’ll need a smartphone or you can look for caches online at home, note the coordinates and hints, and use a GPS to find them. You can read more about geocaching here.
- Spend all day outdoors: Wear your most comfortable sneakers, pack your picnic blanket, frisbee, balls, and scavenger hunt print outs and spend all day out and about. Bonus points for watching the sunset.
At the parks
- Fly a kite: This is one of our favorites in addition to flying RC planes. There is a big kite festival for kids in Chicago on the first Saturday of May every year.
- Visit a botanic garden, nature center, or arboretum during blooms: Spare a sunny weekend, preferably in May to visit a botanic garden or an arboretum nearby. Colorful tulips bloom in downtown Chicago in May. We also walk around the neighborhood and the nearby parks every evening to smell the fragrant blooms.
- Visit a farm: Farms for picking fruits or petting farm animals is a fun activity for kiddos.
- Attend a maple sugar making event: Early Spring is sap collecting time in the forest preserves and nature centers. They usually hold events showing the process of making maple syrup on the third or last weekend of March.
- Go hiking: Chicago is pretty flat and I miss the challenging hikes we did in Sedona and Iceland but there are pretty decent forest preserves and parks in the suburbs with decent hiking trails. I especially love to hike through newly donned fluorescent green trees in the Spring even though hiking during foliage is mesmerizing too.
- Go bird watching: Grab your binoculars and your local bird watching guide and visit your parks to learn more about the native birds in your area.
- Nature scavenger hunt: Plan for a nature scavenger hunt to keep the kids occupied during a walk or a hunt.
- Visit a local fair or festival: Festival season starts in the Spring here in Chicago. Our favorite festivals are Chicago International Children’s Day, Chicago Kids and Kite Festival, Chicago Northside Maker Faire, Skokie Festival of Cultures, and Midsommar Fest. Check online for fairs and festivals near you.
- Drive-in concert or theater: Drive-in theaters are making a comeback with the pandemic and drive-in concerts are replacing stadium or field concerts.
- Watch the sunrise: Right after when the clocks spring forward with daylight savings time, the sunrise is pretty late where we live. It’s easier to catch a sunrise in March and April than to see one in the middle of summer. So you can watch the sunrise with your kiddos.
How to use the Spring Bucket List Printable
- Download the printable
- Print it out on cardstock.
- If you’d like to just use the Ideas List, laminate it and start to check out the items.
- If you’d like to create your own Spring Bucket List, print out the blank template on cardstock and write your desired activities on it with your most colorful stationery.
I hope you’ll find the Spring Bucket Ideas List helpful. As always, I appreciate your comments and feedback.