TORONTO – It’s the first unofficial long weekend of the summer (yes, we know it’s still spring). So what can you do?
Here are some cool, nerdy things you can do with the whole family — and they’re all free.
1. Nature Hike
We live in a country replete with greenness. You might just want to visit a local park and take a look at the trees and flowers in bloom, or you might want to be a bit more ambitious and hit up a local trail.
You can even try to do a bit of birdwatching. Take a logbook and record the types of birds you spot. If you don’t recognize any, you can write down the description or draw it and then try to look them up on a birding site such as WhatBird.com.
There are also plenty of national parks and provincial parks that you can check out. But remember: always be safe. Be aware of your surroundings and ensure that there are no warnings due to local wildlife.
2. Clean up your neighbourhood
It’s spring time and all that melting snow has likely uncovered a abundance of debris leftover from fall and winter. From leaves to paper to pop cans, they can make our neighbourhoods look like a garbage dump.
Why not take the opportunity to spend just an hour cleaning up your neighbourhood? Not only will you be making the area around your home clean, but you might inspire others to also take initiative.
Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt.
Using a GPS-enabled device such as a cellphone, participants are invited to search for various things that people have hidden, leaving you the GPS co-ordinates of the hidden treasure.
Geocaching got its start in 2000. The activity started out at first as a way to test out the accuracy of the now public global positioning satellites. The task quickly spread on newsgroups on the Internet and resulted in the site Geocaching.com where people around the world hide things and leave clues.
Once you find the geocache, you enter your name and something about your find in the logbook that is left at the location. You can take an item from the cache so long as you leave something behind of equal or greater value.
And if you think this is just relegating to backwoods or parks, you’re wrong: there are geocaches throughout downtown Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and pretty much any city you can think of.
4. Night under the stars
If you have the weather for it, you might want to just sit under the stars and enjoy the night sky.
Some things you can do is try to identify constellations. Don’t know any? Make up your own.
You can also try to see how many meteors zip through the sky. And in between that, you can even count satellites.
You can easily spot satellites as the slow-moving lights that pass across the sky. But don’t mix them up with planes: the lights on satellites don’t blink.
5. Put away your devices and read a book
This may sound anti-nerd, but it’s really where nerdom all began.
Sticking your nose in a good book and shutting out the world provides a quiet that most of us lack nowadays. If you have the weather for it, you can even take your book outside and settle in a comfortable chair or lie in the grass and enjoy the weather.
Clarification: An earlier version of this story said that a geocache can be taken. However, it’s an item inside the cache (which could be a container, etc.) that can be taken.