Published November 24, 2020

Opt Outside this Black Friday

Heads up! This article was published 4 years ago.

The holidays are going to be different for many families this year, but with change comes a great opportunity to create new traditions. MetroParks is challenging you to #optoutside this Black Friday instead of physically going to stores.

If you have shopping to do, shopping online or curbside pick up are great ways to stay safe and provide you extra time to spend with those in your household. Stick to your back yard or neighborhood for some outdoor fun close to home.

Make a fairy mud garden: Playing in mud is fun no matter the season. MetroParks education coordinator Doug Horvath shows you how to create a mud garden in your back yard using natural materials. 

Play in a leaf pile: Your yard, garden and local wildlife will thank you for leaving fall’s leaves on the ground. According to the National Wildlife Federation, leaves make a great natural mulch, suppressing weeds and fertilizes soil as they start to decompose. Additionally, leaves are used by critters, such as birds, toads, mammals and invertebrates use leaves as habitat and food.

If you plan on raking your leaves to spread over your garden, collect them into a pile and let your kids play in them first. Who can find the biggest? The most colorful? As a family, return the leaves to your yard or garden. 

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trail running 

Walk, run, jog or bike off your last meal: Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, family and good food. Show your body and tummy some love by moving your body the day after a big meal. If you are healthy enough to go for a jog, run or bike ride around your neighborhood – go for it. Even yoga, tai chi, deep breathing and walking help aid digestion, according to Bundle up and do these low impact exercises outside to get the added healthy benefits of being in nature.

Make backyard s’mores: If you’re pumpkin-ed out, consider skipping leftover pie and make s’mores instead. MetroParks outdoor recreation specialist Greg Grierson shows you how to safely make a fire. After your fire is made, cozy up with your family, marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers for a tasty treat. 


Make your own bird feeder: Attract beautiful birds to your back yard and get crafty using recycled materials. MetroParks education specialist, Mary Beth provides you with directions and guidance of the materials you need to create a DIY bird feeder.

Visit for more fun ways to experience nature.

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