After a long, cold winter in Iowa, everyone is ready for warmer days ahead. As the days start to get warmer and sunnier, I start itching to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air! In our family, we love spending time outside. Here are some ways that you can do the same:
Go For a Walk.
This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s the first thing we do when spring makes its appearance! Going for a walk doesn’t take any planning or preparing. It’s therapeutic for all ages, and a simple walk together has led to some of my favorite memories in our family (like the first time my son saw an airplane and chased it until it was out of sight). Below are some of the places we have gone for walks, as well as some that are still on my list to explore! Not to mention – Cedar Rapids has a ton of trails that are also bike accessible!
Sac and Fox Trail
- Crushed Limestone wooded, nature, and prairie trail
Prairie Park Trail
- The paved loop trail around fishery
- Crushed limestone trail through several parks along Indian Creek
Cedar Lake Trail
- The paved trail around Cedar Lake (stop at the Sag Wagon for a cool drink!)
Cedar River Trail
- Paved split trail
Cedar Valley Nature Trail
- 51 miles (!!) of crushed limestone/paved trail that connects to Waterloo
Cherry Hill Park Loop
- Quick – paved loop trail
- The paved trail through the town of Ely
Grant Wood Trail
- Paved and crushed limestone nature trail through the country
- Paved downtown trail along the bank of Cedar River
Pinion Ridge/Central City Trail
- Paved 2.6-mile trail
Old Barn Loop
- Morgan creek park loop trail
- Perhaps the most iconic “CR Trail.” Mount Trashmore is a former landfill famous to the locals
Cherokee Trail Park Loop
- Easy and fast 1-mile loop
Indian Creek Nature Center
- Located on 200 acres – this Nature Center is a great resource for locals, and there are several trails to choose from
Visit a Playground
Get the little ones’ energy out and their imagination flowing too! Cedar Rapids has so many parks to choose from, and several are ADA-accessible.
Noelridge Park and Greenhouse
Morgan Creek Park
- Our favorite! This one is new and is one of the coolest we’ve ever seen!
- Another of our favorites! This park is huge and has a variety of play equipment!
Who wouldn’t love an outdoor scavenger hunt? This is a great way to get out and be adventurous. Kids can explore their surroundings and learn about new things too! Parents could make a card or list of items that need to be found and let the kids begin the fun. Here are some ideas of different themes you can do:
- Have your kids find a nature item starting with every letter that they can; (For example, A=acorn, b=bark, c=catepillar, etc.) Whoever gets the most letters of the alphabet wins!
- Find a nature item for every color of the rainbow! There are some cute ideas on Pinterest for boards to pin the items to.
- How many different types of rocks can they find? (For example: prepare a worksheet that gives them clues like “Find a smooth rock.” or “Find a speckled rock.”)
- Find an item for every letter of your child’s name
Five Senses Hunt
- Find an item that you can see, smell, hear, and taste. Obviously, you might want to supervise the tasting part!
- Have your kid(s) collect fun and interesting leaves. After the hunt, give them crayons and white paper and have them trace their collection!
Did you know that Cedar Rapids Moms has a book club?! Overbooked:: Cedar Rapids’ Moms Edition is a great place to find reading inspo. It meets monthly to discuss. Read this month’s pick under a tree in the backyard. It’s important for your children to see you reading, and it helps them realize that it can be a fun activity – not just homework! Spread a blanket out in the grass and enjoy reading together in the fresh air.
I hope these simple, free ideas will inspire you to get outdoors this spring. Make some new memories together now that the snow has melted and we are all coming out of hibernation.
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