Have the winter doldrums turned your charming munchkins into devilish troublemakers? Has being cooped up indoors made your normally lovely children, bored and whiny? Is everyone in your family in desperate need of fresh air and a little vitamin D?
Warmer weather is the perfect opportunity for parents and children to turn off the T.V. and video games and venture into the great outdoors. While some outside expeditions require a bit of planning, most can take little more than packing a bag or basket and heading out to the big, bright, sunny outside. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite springtime family activities that are sure to bring you closer and provide entertainment for all.
Thawing temperatures are the perfect opportunity for a little outdoor gardening fun. A family garden can provide endless opportunities for physical activity and mental stimulation well into Summer and Fall. Begin with a family trip to your local nursery for seeds and supplies and encourage youngsters to pick out their personal favorites. You’ll encourage your children’s individual personalities to develop and will engage personal involvement with the planting, germination and care of your child’s flowers or vegetables.
Spring means the return of local farmer’s markets in many communities. These venues make a great opportunity to teach children about where the food on their plate actually comes from. Let your child stretch their imaginations and develop communication skills by encouraging your young ones to engage with local farmers and crafts-people. Many farmer’s markets will often have areas dedicated specifically to children. Try letting your child sample new foods and then try letting them prepare a meal at home with that day’s purchases to let them see the experience through from farm to table.
Why eat your meal indoors when you can make it into an outdoors adventure instead? Picnics are a great way to get away from modern distractions to a family meal such as T.V. or phones. Pack a cold meal into a basket or bag, grab a blanket or sheet and off you go. It’s no surprise that physically active children make for healthier adults as they grow, so don’t forget a ball or Frisbee to promote movement and play. Also consider packing a book to read aloud at the end of your adventure to allow your child to wind down from the excitement.
Want to enjoy the warm sunshine but can’t get away from the house? How about a backyard scavenger hunt to entertain and engage? Clues can be as simple as written hints on pieces of scrap paper, or elaborate puzzles or riddles that require advanced problem solving skills. For multiple children, you can encourage competition by awarding prizes or help develop good teamwork skills by distributing only a portion of the clue to each child, requiring them to work together to find the hidden items. Putting the brain and bodies to work will also encourage a good night’s sleep, a bonus for parents and children alike!
A child’s imagination is endless and its growth and development is essential to critical thinking and learning skills they’ll need well into adult years. Opportunities to encourage imagination and play can be right under your fingertips. Flower crowns are the perfect springtime activity to let children be kings and queens for the day, or just to encourage motor skills as small fingers wrap and tie small stems and flower buds. Flower crowns can be as simple as a daisy chain or even more complex affairs with twine and a variety of flowers from your home garden or local farmers market. Either way, both you and your children will have an afternoon of fun and a lifetime of fond memories as you work together to create something beautiful.
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