by Michelle “Shelly” Vicari
Spring is finally here, and the warmer weather offers plenty of opportunities for us to get back outside. Here are some fun activities that will help your family enjoy the best of the season!
The signs of spring are happening all around us. Buds and leaves are appearing on trees and plants are popping through the soil. There are snails, worms and frogs everywhere. You may spot the first butterflies of the season. Watch for bunnies and squirrels playing in the trees. Listen for birds returning from their winter vacation homes. Head out for a walk and see which signs of spring you can spot. Take photos! Encourage a family member in a different part of the country to do the same. Compare and discuss the similarities and differences between them. Taking in the nature around you and exploring it with your family is always a great activity, but especially during the spring months.
There is something magical about watching a tiny seed grow into a plant. Springtime is the perfect time to plant a vegetable garden or create a garden that attracts butterflies. No space for a garden? Use a container to plant herbs or make Eggheads.
How to Make an Egghead:
Take some eggshells and try cracking off just the top so you have plenty of fillable space. Wash out the eggshells and sit them back in the egg box. Draw fun faces on them and add some googly eyes! Then, place a damp cotton ball inside each eggshell and sprinkle seeds inside (chia, cress, radish, alfalfa and grasses all sprout quickly). Be sure to cover the cotton ball to get a full “head of hair” when they begin to grow.
In the spring, birds returning from long migrations are busy building nests and laying eggs. Their singing and twittering signal that spring has truly arrived. Set up a bird feeder in your backyard, on your patio or on your balcony, then document which feathered friends visit most frequently. How many birds did you spot this week? How many new species visited? It’s fun to keep track. You can learn more about birds at birds.cornell.edu and peek at live feeder cams around the country.
Spring is a great time to go on a hike. There’s no better way to cure the cabin fever we get from being cooped up all winter than to get out and explore nature. Be sure to plan a hike that is friendly to everyone in the group’s skill level. A great website to find trails in your area is AllTrails.com, which allows you to filter by skill level, distance and accessibility. Always stay on marked trails. Depending on the age of your children, it’s probably best to plan a morning hike when energy levels are higher. Bring some snacks and plenty of water.
The weather is still unpredictable, but don’t let spring showers stop you from enjoying the outdoors. Put on your rain gear and play in puddles! See who can make the biggest or silliest splash. Dance in the rain. Collect rain in different containers and listen to the sounds of raindrops as they hit a metal, plastic or glass container. Yes, everyone will get a little wet and a little dirty, but you’ll make great memories.
There has to be no better spring outdoor activity than going on a picnic. Grab a blanket, pack a lunch or some snacks, head to a park and enjoy the sunshine. Have fun on the playground, then toss down your blanket, lay on your backs and watch the clouds go by. Take turns describing what you see. Can you find any animal shapes? What else do the clouds look like?
No clouds in the sky? Read one of these books about springtime:
I hope you will consider trying a few of these activities with your family to welcome and celebrate spring! With each changing season, it’s always important to find activities that are suitable and joyful for the whole family.
About the Author:
Michelle “Shelly” Vicari, Past OAC Chair, majored in Child Development and Family Studies as well as Political Science at San Diego State University. She was the former Curriculum Director of the largest National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited Child Care Centers in Southern California. She has authored many curriculum guides for teachers working with young children and was lucky enough to once meet Mr. Fred Rogers!
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