Five outdoorsy things to do this spring

Spring has sprung! It’s time to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.

A girl flies a kite with the wind at Loose Park. photo by Anna Louise Sih

by Natalie Telep and Anna Louise Sih

story by Natalie Telep

The weather is getting nicer, and the cold months of winter are over. The flowers and trees are budding, and cool spring breezes drift through the air. As spring begins, the beauty of new life draws us outside. What better way to enjoy the beginning of spring than to try some outdoorsy activities?

Hike a long-distance trail
Now that the weather is nicer, it is easier to get in some exercise. A low-intensity exercise to try this spring is hiking. Several parks in the Kansas City Area feature hiking trails with beginner and advanced levels of difficulty. Swope Park has a 13 and a half mile trail that has some great views. From limestone bluffs to leafy canopies, this trail has it all. Shawnee Mission Park also has several hiking trails, mostly between two and four miles long. Hiking doesn’t require much gear. All you need are a pair of sturdy boots or shoes, a backpack with snacks and a water bottle, and a hiking stick (optional). Other trail ideas include equestrian trails and bike trails.

Fly a Kite
Spring breezes are not uncommon during the months of March, April and May. A great way to take advantage of spring winds is kite flying. Kite flying is a lost art that is sadly becoming obsolete. They can be purchased for under 20 dollars at Target, the New Dime Store, and Brookside Toy and Science. Taking the kids you babysit out to fly kites at the park is a fun way to get outside. It also offers some great Insta opportunities, especially if you fly a kite in a picturesque area like Loose Park.

Plant something
Spring is a great time to plant a tree in your backyard. The weather will be nice all the way into summer, so your tree will have time to begin growing. The best trees to plant are Dogwood, Tulip, and Eastern Redbud. Maple trees, either silver or sugar, are great shade-providing trees, but they will grow to be huge. You can buy saplings at your local garden store or even the plant section of a hardware store.

Pick and press flowers
Pressing flowers is an artistic way of preserving beautiful flowers for a long time. First, choose a flower that you want to press. Flat flowers like daisies are easiest, but thicker flowers can be cut down the middle. Cut the stem of the flower, making sure to trim any leaves that grow too close to the bottom of the stem. Put the flower in a vase of water with a teaspoon of sugar immediately. This will prevent the growth of bacteria and possible decay of the flower. Find a thick book and open it to a middle page. Then, put one sheet of tissue paper or facial tissue on either page. Lay your flower down between the pages and shut the book. Stack other heavy books on top of the book. Be sure to change the paper daily to continue the drying process. After two or three weeks, the flower will be dry. Use tweezers to gently extract the flower from between the pages.

Visit a local farmer’s market
Supporting local farmers is not only economical, it’s healthy. Eating organic food is great for you, and farmer’s markets have high quality and delicious fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy. In Brookside, there is a weekly farmer’s market in the parking lot of Border Star Elementary. Farmers set up white tents and sell their produce, starting around 8 a.m. on Sundays. The market is open until around 3 p.m., when farmers begin to pack up their produce. Some of the items sold at the farmer’s market include celery, broccoli, homemade soaps, baked goods, organic facial cleansers, apples and jewelry. Another farmer’s market in Kansas City is in the River Market. It is much larger than the Brookside market, and there is a wider variety of food. Not only are there tents and booths, but the whole market is surrounded by several different shops and restaurants. It is also open on Sunday around 8 a.m. Prices are very reasonable, especially on produce like fruits and vegetables.