Sunshine! March Madness! Baseball! Fiddlehead Ferns! Asparagus! Evening walks! Yes, we’re entering the heady, glorious season of springtime. After the slog of winter comes fresh air, sandals, kites in the sky, little kids tucked in bed while it’s still light out. Happens every year, yet somehow this transformation never ceases to amaze us. Daylight Savings arrives and it’s like we’ve been bonked on the head with a hammer for three months and then, just like that, the hammering suddenly stops. Ahh. Mid-March rolls around with new light and earthy air, but we have no patience to finish the warm-up. Meaning we want to have fun. NOW.

And yet we’re B’s on a Budget, aren’t we? No willy-nilly  trotting off to Italy, no open-air meals at the finest restaurants, no spontaneous shopping sprees for Miu-Miu sundresses and floppy hats. We want to celebrate this luminous season, but can’t spend too much.

In this spirit, we’ve composed a list of free/cheap spring activities that’ll make your blood pump, your soul wake up, your heart feel a little freer:

March Madness. OK, watching basketball is an indoor activity. But nothing captures the nutty, passionate, youthful antics of spring better than college basketball. Study the brackets. Throw a potluck party. Admire those lean, sweating, gorgeous players (men and women). Then go outside and shoot some hoops yourself. Yes, you: PLAY.

Buy a hula hoop. Five bucks. Amazing exercise. Do it in the front yard with the kiddos. Entertain the neighbors.

Forced blossoms. A branch of barely budding forsythia will spring into bloom on your kitchen table, reminding you what’s to come.

Creepy Crawlies. Buy (or make!) the little ones in your life a bug box, and hand them a good old-fashioned magnifying glass. They’ll spend hours collecting worms and caterpillars and who-knows-what. Time to turn their attention away from Nature Programming and into NATURE.

Finally, and best of all, school plays. Spring is the high season of middle/high school drama departments. Support local talent by attending shows in your area. OK, some of it might be funny (we recall having some, uh, bladder control problems during a recent off-key rendition of OKLAHOMA), but the charm-to-price ration has never been higher. Applaud for the awkward high school boy who sings like an angel…. gasp at the strangely sublime beauty of a hundred souls belting “Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I’ll Love Ya, Tomorrow”. Remember when that was you? Give them a standing ovation.

Get up. Get out. It’s time.