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Spring is such a fun time of year to be raising young children. But after surviving the long winter, and the weather not always cooperating for hours of fun outside, some of us moms need some extra ideas of ways to pass the long days.
Spring is such a fantastic time of year to do a nature walk. There are so many new and interesting things to find. Flowers peeking out of the dirt, buds just popping on the trees, tadpoles becoming frogs, eggs hatching, etc. Finding a great nature park to do a daily walk is a must all spring. Look for parks that have an abundance of trees and wildlife. A stream is wonderful because as the weather warms, little feet can jump right into the water and feel its cold water tickle their feet, watch the minnows swim under their toes and the frogs hop. Other great ideas are turning over the rocks and moving the trees limbs and seeing what is laying underneath. Make sure to always put them back! Keep your eyes open for broken eggs too!
When the weather isn’t quite warm enough for hours of outdoor fun, you can do an indoor egg hunt. To make it academic, put lower case letters in the eggs and have the kids match them to the uppercase letter poster you hang up! Outside, you can hide empty eggs first and then allow each of your children to play Easter bunny and hide eggs for each other!
Coloring eggs is also a great inside or outside activity! I have found cookie sheets work great as a tray for spillage! As long as you like hard boiled eggs, I find this as a great weekly activity for the month before Easter! As your kids get older, you can add bigger skills like egg blowing for a keepsake you can keep forever.
One of my favorite toddler activities was putting my son outside in a diaper in the warm afternoon sun and letting him do his first art work with whip cream and food dye. He loved it and when it was all over straight in the sink for a quick bath!
Never underestimate the amazing ability of chalk to mesmerize your kids for hours! I can’t tell you how many kids I know, learned their alphabet through mom writing with him in chalk. In fact, my son learned how to write with chalk long before we learned with pen and paper!
On those beautiful 75 degree days, a plastic bin of water and all the toys you can find has provided the best afternoon breaks! Boats, cups, and mini people and let the imagination go. When doing activities like this, it's good to help them get started by letting them see how you play in the water and then pull yourself out of it and let them make up their own games and stories. A hour of water play and they will be begging to be outside again and again!
Lonely? Looking to make friends? Stay at home moms keep similar hours. Head to a playground near by around 10 am on a sunny morning and meet some other moms! The playground will be filled with similar aged kids and similar aged mommies all going through the same struggles as you! Looking to be socially distant and play by yourself? I have found the hours of 1-3 a pretty quiet time at a playground with most littles home napping. It picks up again after 3 when older siblings get out of school, so watch out!
Pre covid, libraries were my favorite place to hang out at least once a week for a story time! Between the rich environment of books and amazing educational toys they stock, you can’t go wrong spending a morning picking out next week’s bedtime stories while your child builds legos roads for the dinosaurs.
Never underestimate the gift of a shovel and seeds. Spring is a time for planting and whether you have a small inside garden or a large plot of land, allowing your kids to participate is a wonderful thing. I have six pots that I plant every May, a patio that I have 2 yards of mulch to lay around it, and a children's garden. Every year, we start with a trip to Loews or Home depot to pick this year's flowers for walkways and pots. Then we pick their special seeds to plant in their garden. One year we grew pumpkins that took over half my yard! The next year we planted zinnias which bloomed all summer and filled their rooms with fresh flowers. Sunflowers have also been a big hit! This year we are going to try to do gourds over an arbor...The beautiful thing about gardening, is it doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful! Flowers bloom even when we don’t buy the perfect dirt, and weeds sprout all summer giving us work to do in the evening hours!
Not sure how many of you have a kid that spent their winter watching Peppa Pig, but if you are sick and tired of hearing the oink oink oink at the beginning of the show, puddle jumping is a great way to break the tv habit! In Pa, we get a lot of rain in the spring. Sometimes it feels like it rains every day! When March blows in, I usually end up at the shoe store buying this year's rain boots, because no matter what the weather is, when I am hitting my max of indoor time and tv, a pair of rain boots and a jacket go a long way to a happy afternoon or morning!
If you don’t live on a farm or you don’t want to go visit one, Tractor supply and Ace hardware are two large chains that have Chick Days. This is a time when they get hundreds of baby chicks that come into their stores and live under heat lamps. Farmers and homesteaders usually buy them to keep for eggs. We like to go visit and look at them. You're not usually allowed to touch them, but the kids get a kick out of seeing all the varieties, sizes and colors! A stop by starbucks on the way home, makes it a great day!
This is pretty par for the course in the spring, but rounding up the kids and taking a tour of a local farm or creamery is usually a hit. There are a couple different options to visit from your local small creamerys to your larger farms that have strawberry picking. May is not complete without muddy boots and baskets of fresh strawberries. They usually have goats and baby calves to see as well. Near us, we have working orchards that do farm tours to show their fruit trees with their beautiful flowers blooming, strawberry farms and also tulip farms. Each place makes for an amazing morning out!
Spring is my favorite time to go to the zoo. The weather is beautiful, the animals are out exploring and the crowds are small. If you live near a zoo, a membership is usually the way to go! Try going at least once a month, your children will always find new things to spot or new interests to explore.
If you haven't noticed, I love spring and the outside time. Studies have shown that our kids are healthier and happier the more they engage in nature. It might be cold, and it might be raining but their are so many wonderful things to see and explore in the spring with your toddlers and preschoolers!