Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog may have signaled six more weeks of winter, but spring will be here before we know it. To prepare your parks and recreation department, we pulled together 50 fun, engaging, and unique spring program ideas to add to your community activity catalog.
1. Space Camp. Here's an idea that's out of this world. Consider partnering with a local science center or museum leader to hold a weekend space camp for kids to learn about the solar system, rockets, and constellations. They can also compete in a contest to draw the most unique idea of what they think aliens might look like.
2. Spring Nature Walk. Spring is all about new growth. Invite community members on a nature walk through one of your parks led by a guide who will point out signs of spring, from flower buds to furry critter tracks, to new bird nests.
3. Daisy Chains and Flower Crowns. Perfect for all ages, from kids to seniors, celebrate spring by teaching class participants how to string together a beautiful crown of local flowers. Everyone will take home a personal souvenir from the day.
4. Living with Adult Autism. Whether you were diagnosed as a young child or as an adult, living with autism can feel isolating at times. Invite adults and support figures for community discussions on ways to uplift one another along this unique journey. Think of it as getting dinner with like-minded friends and having great conversations.
5. Understanding Korean Culture. This course can be a broad introduction to Korea's beautiful and rich history and culture. Your residents can learn the Korean art of cooking, recipes, traditional clothes making, and a bit of the language.
6. Pottery Basics. Pottery is one of those messy activities that can be incredibly soothing and social. Get ready to rent out a high school art or local pottery studio and roll up your sleeves. Art teachers and local artists love to teach the craft, and who doesn't enjoy a handmade coffee mug?
7. Beginner's Guide to Herb Gardening. With inflation steadily rising, more people are looking to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Thankfully, herbs are easy to grow inside regardless of the weather, so this class is sure to be a hot pick. Bring in local farmers or community college herbologists to educate on many common herbs' growing, cooking, and medicinal properties.
8. Qigong. This practice has origins in Chinese medicine and philosophy. Qigong combines slow, intentional movements, meditation, and deep breathing patterns and is excellent for anxiety, mindfulness, and coordination. Take advantage of green spaces in your community and invite wise and young residents alike.
9. Goat Yoga. One may not think that goats and yoga have much to do with each other. However, goat yoga has been growing wildly in popularity, especially in larger communities. Yoga has many health benefits, like improving flexibility, aiding in weight loss, and alleviating anxiety. Add in some friendly goats, and you will have a memorable experience. Goats are known to be playful and cuddly. It's common for one to hop on a participant's back as they try a cobra pose. Introducing a goat yoga class to your recreation program is sure to be a hit with millennials and those looking for unique enrichment for their younger children. Consider having classes specifically for children and a separate one for adults. Such tailored classes can even offer an opportunity to advertise birthday or bachelorette parties.
10. Pickleball for Starters. Why not tennis, you may ask? To be budget-savvy, about four pickleball courts can fit into one average-sized tennis court. Many people enjoy pickleball due to its slow pace and less complicated rules. It's also a fun way to get outside and get some fresh air after a long winter. Consider creating a hashtag on social media that participants can include in their posts to boost engagement on your social platforms and raise awareness of your parks and recreation activities, pickleball included.
11. Film Photography 101. Film photography is seeing a resurgence after being considered a lost art once smartphones became commonplace. Residents will love a chance to learn about the intricacies of film cameras and developing film. This is a lovely opportunity to have people get out in their community and see the area through new lenses.
12. Walking Club. With so many people spending long hours working, a lot of those remote, it can be hard to get in some physical movement. Walking is one of the most accessible and free ways to move your body. For social and safety reasons, walking in groups is often best. Your community certainly has residents who would enjoy a walking buddy or two.
13. Knitting 101. Knitting is a wonderful activity that humankind has been using for community bonding since about the 5th A plus is that repetitive knitting allows your hands and mind to collaborate and improve your fine motor skills. This can be great for improving hand and grip strength. Consider setting up repeating classes, regardless of skill level, so the wise and young alike can enjoy this inexpensive hobby.
14. Introduction to Latte Art. Many people developed the habit of brewing their own coffee at home during the pandemic. Now that restrictions have lightened, residents have enjoyed keeping that practice and doubling down on recreating their favorite coffee chain recipes. Latte art is lighthearted; you would not believe some of the shapes that foamed milk can make.
15. Floral Arrangement 101. Break out your loveliest vases and sharpest shears. It's time to design some floral arrangements. Much like staying busy with the hands can calm the mind, arranging flowers is incredibly therapeutic and calming. Plus, participants can take home a gorgeous display of fresh flowers. Who wouldn't enjoy that?
16. Intro to Scrapbooking. Sometimes a physical copy of memories and photos can't be beaten. That's why an intro to scrapbooking class may need to be added into your community programming catalog. Residents can learn and bond over photo placements and stationery. It's a low-stakes way to provide community to your locals.
17. Mystery Themed Cycle Class. Picture it; you're on a spin bike as your instructor takes you through an entire mystery case. With each plot twist and car chase, you must speed up or kick it into gear up the hill. Before you know it, the hour-long class is complete, and you get tremendous heart-healthy cardio.
18. Swing Dancing. Offering dance classes like the swing is an excellent opportunity for couples to have a date night and even for singles to meet some new friends. Swing, tango, fox trot, whatever teacher you can find will sure appreciate passing along the steps to a new group of residents. Plus, this is yet another fun way for the community to make exercising not mundane.
19. Jane Austen Book Club. It's a guarantee that every city has a handful of diehard Jane Austen fans. Whether you've read every book or want company as you embark on this new adventure, a Jane Austen Book Club is sure to be a program that fills up fast.
20. Weightlifting for Beginners. Weightlifting can improve the body's metabolism and lower blood pressure. It's not always intuitive to lift weights or apply weight to the knees, not the back. A certified physical trainer can help residents begin their fitness journey the right way, hopefully limiting the risks of injuries occurring later down the line.
21. Typing 101. Most residents have access to or own a personal computer today. Typing classes were not always offered in elementary school, and many adults know how to use the keyboard but do not honestly type without looking. This class will benefit all ages and professions.
22. Poetry Writing for Beginners. Poetry is beautiful but can get a convoluted reputation because most folks associate poetry with Shakespeare. No disrespect to Shakespeare, but Elizabethan English is not the easiest for modern readers. Residents can enjoy learning about haikus, couplets, epics, sonnets, free verse, and limericks. The Iambic Pentameter is always a teaching topic as well. Shakespeare may not have invented this style of poetry, but he sure did love to use it.
23. Soil Health. Soil health is declining at an alarming rate in the states. A community class taught by a local farmer to teach the high points of what makes soil crucial to the food chain and environment at large would be highly beneficial. Residents can learn about the microorganisms in soil and the entire world underneath our feet daily. This class would pair nicely with the aforementioned herb gardening class.
24. Calligraphy 101. Originally thought to have been spread by the Romans, calligraphy is the art of stunningly beautiful cursive handwriting. Many residents are DIY'ing their weddings, baby showers, and large gatherings since the pandemic and are seeking out classes like calligraphy for beginners. Offering a way for people to learn how to create art with a pen is highly thoughtful and beneficial to the arts community.
25. Everyday Sewing. What if instead of throwing away socks or jeans when they had a hole in them, you could mend them instead? This is the concept of Everyday Sewing. Most residents don't know how to patch basic holes or alter clothing to fit their changing bodies. Basic skills like sewing and mending are valuable and worth considering as an addition to your recreational programming catalog.
26. Couch to 5K. Running is a terrific, free way to get active and see more of your local area. If you're new to fitness, however, it can be intimidating. Creating a Couch to 5K program for your community allows newbies and seasoned runners looking for new friends to come together. Healthier, happier, more socialized residents improve the area at large.
27. Living with Diabetes. Whether recently diagnosed with Diabetes and unsure why proper foot care is so crucial, or a resident has lived with the disease their own life — a local group is valuable. Living with Diabetes can be open to people with diabetes and their friends and loved ones to create a community and offer support resources to all.
28. Conversational Spanish. Of the United States population of 336 million, 53 million speak Spanish. Thirty percent of Texas' population speaks Spanish, so it's a highly sought skill. It's no secret that learning a language is much more challenging as an adult, so offering a community class is an amazing way for residents to learn a new language and make new connections.
29. Indian Cuisine. This course can be a broad introduction to the colorful and flavorful world of Indian food. India has a long and interesting history and culture. Your residents can learn the Indian art of cooking, ingredients, different recipes, traditional holidays, and advertise any local grocers.
30. Sourdough Bread Making. Making bread is not as easy as it seems, especially when you need a starter kit. Residents are sure to love getting their hands messy and whipping up some delicious sourdough bread they take home at the end of the night.
31. Chess Club. Chess is a highly mental game, and many residents love to create friends around the activity. Consider forming a community chess club that meets once or twice a month to offer a fun way for locals to explore chess for the first time or improve their skill level.
32. SAT/ACT Prep for Your Child. Higher education is crucial and valuable to most young people, even if they plan on attending a trade school. Some schools offer SAT and ACT prep courses, and some do not. If your community schools lack prep courses, spring and summer are ideal times to allow sophomores and juniors to study for the college entrance tests.
33. Introduction to the LSAT. The LSAT is a necessary entrance exam for law school, but insanely pricey. A community LSAT introduction and prep course would make law school more assessable to lower-income students who cannot afford mainstream LSAT courses.
34. Meditation 101. In today's world, many residents walk around with so much pent-up stress. Humans have used meditation for thousands of years to stabilize the mind and body. Learning to quiet your mind if you've always been stressed out is difficult, so a community class is a low-stakes way to introduce this to your community.
35. Watercolors for Beginners. Call us Bob Ross fan girls, but watercolor painting is incredibly soothing. Suitable for all ages, this class is a great weekend activity and can be taught outside and inside if the weather is unpleasant.
36. Cake Decorating for Beginners. Any resident with a dream cake design Pinterest board will be running to sign up for this class. Gorgeous cakes are visual masterpieces, but tons of technical knowledge and skill goes into icing those flowers and patterns. This class would be an excellent opportunity to collaborate with the local culinary school and any bakeries in town. Cake design is a fascinating art form and hands-on, sure to delight all ages.
37. Composting 101. Recycling and its cousin, composting, are vital to our planet's health and your community's aesthetics. Composting is not the easiest thing to learn, especially if you live in an apartment or urban environment — a guaranteed distinctive program offering for sure.
38. Life After Grief. Grief is one of the most intense, all-consuming, and complicated human emotions. People can feel like they are entirely alone when they are going through the grieving process. A community class where people can come and learn tools to handle their complex feelings and survivor's guilt can be a lifeline to some residents.
39. Introduction to Bird Watching. Some fascinating studies have been done on the correlation between improved well-being and bird watching. One study found that hearing a bird song improved individual mental health. Gather a class to explore your community's green and urban areas to spot various birds. You'll be surprised how interactive and social bird watching can be — bonus points for residents who can name a bird by its song.
40. How to Journal. Journaling is amazing for the mind, body, and overall mental wellness. It's a healthy way to channel harder-to-process emotions and can be very therapeutic. Residents may find their new favorite hobby and create some great social relationships along the way.
41. 12 Weeks to Your First Novel. Many individuals have a story burning in their heads, but they don't know how to put that idea on paper and publish it. A longer course on the journey of authoring a novel would be a very niche and exciting addition to your community programming catalog.
42. Pet Care 101. Many people adopted pets during the pandemic without ever owning one before. Proper pet care goes beyond feeding and bathroom breaks, however. There's regular nail trimming, hair brushing, monthly flea/tick medicine, and vaccinations to factor into a schedule. Consider hosting a class all about the ins and outs of caring for our beloved fur They deserve as much love, affection, and care as the rest of the family.
43. Civics 101. You would be amazed at how many residents don't understand the foundations our democracy was built on. By no fault of their own, it's not taught well (or at all) in the general school system how to vote, run for office, register for everyday things like your car, and apply for a green card or citizenship. If you have a large migrant population, this would be an excellent opportunity to supply a safe environment to learn and ask questions about civic duties and engagement.
44. Origami and You. Origami is the intricate Japanese art of folding paper. This class will be a hit with parents looking to get out of the house with their children and grandparents looking to bond with their grandchildren. It's fun, and everyone gets to take home a paper swan (or what was supposed to be a paper swan).
45. Senior Styling. Caring for the wise and elderly residents in your area is so crucial. Consider setting up a volunteer program with the local hair salon school to visit on weekends and style Nursing and Senior Home residents. The wonders makeup and a fresh 'do can do for a person are remarkably under-talked about at large.
46. Community Bridge Night. Bridge Night has a reputation for only getting lit at Senior Homes, but all ages can enjoy this fun, social activity. Throw in free snacks and a raffle, and you will have a delightful community event.
47. Sleep Hygiene. The CDC reports that one in three Americans don't sleep consistently enough. Whether through stress, environment, or health reasons, many people are unaware of how their daily habits (like scrolling social media) can dramatically affect their sleep quality. Education on how many hours of sleep is needed depending on gender and age is helpful, as is teaching stress management tools and things that can affect sleep quality, like room temperature.
48. Ethnic Haircare for Adoptive and Foster Parents. Very curly hair is stunning and requires more involved hair care and products. Sometimes when children are placed into adoption or foster care, their guardians are unfamiliar with styling this beautiful hair type. Consider bringing in a local stylist specializing in this hair type to coach parents on how to wash, brush, and protect their children's hair.
49. Feng Shui for Your Home. Residents always look for unique activities, and Feng Shui is not widely taught in the States. The belief that arranging furniture in living spaces can create or detract balance in your home and life is an ancient practice that many people would find interesting to learn. Educating your community about diverse cultures and beliefs is one step towards a more open-minded, empathetic society.
50. Depression Anonymous. Depression is a debilitating mental illness, and it's horribly lonely for those suffering. A free community group can provide much-needed socialization, friendships, and conversation over low-risk activities like adult coloring books, board games, or even basketball. It would be thoughtful to have resources for therapy and other treatment options available for residents to grab in a casual environment.
With plenty of programming ideas, you'll need a Recreation Management system to organize classes, register participants, manage instructors, gather forms, and accept registration fees. Visit here to learn more about Recreation Management software from CivicPlus, or click below to take a self-guided tour of our solution today.