Spring has finally arrived (well, at least for some of us…), and I cannot get enough of being outside. Everything just smells so clean and fresh and new. It’s addicting! We love it! And especially at this time of year, there are so many FREE activities for the kids and you to enjoy.
Go to the Park
Who doesn’t love going to the park? There are so many awesome ones, and I bet, if you did a google search, you would discover so many more within a 30 minute radius. Depending on my mood, we can choose a park that is like a wooden castle and completely fenced in or a huge open area with fields and trees or a traditional one with a playground. These are all fun and FREE! You might say, “We do the park all the time, and it’s boring.” Well, don’t you worry. I have been there and have developed a plan to make it enjoyable for everyone, even you! Why don’t you bring a ball and play catch. Maybe have a swinging contest to see who can go the highest! Take advantage of the open space, and make the kids run around and play tag and scream. Get all that energy out! You can join in too! Why not go exploring and see how many different flowers you can find and even identify? While you are at it, make a bouquet of wildflowers (just get over having a thousand dandelions- kids love these for some reason). And when it’s time to eat, bring out your packed lunch or dinner and a blanket and enjoy a real picnic. Pack some fresh fruit and you have the perfect Spring day. So, no, the park doesn’t have to be boring with you just sitting on the bench watching them go down the slide for the hundredth time. The park is often a great place to enjoy Spring that’s typically right around the corner.
Take a Hike
Do you have hiking trails near you? Probably. It might just take some research to find ones appropriate for your kids. Obviously, there are difficult ones, but there are a lot of tame ones that could even be found in a local park. Trust me, it is worth the effort to find one near you. Adds a little variety to your life. And it’s probably just as enjoyable for you as it is for the kids. I think one of the best times for a hike is Spring too because there is so much green (which has a calming influence on both you and the kids- Yay!) and it isn’t unbearably hot yet. Not only can you walk the trail and enjoy the fresh air, but you can also collect rocks and pine cones to bring home for rock painting or pine cone crafts. The fun doesn’t need to stop when the trail ends! Maybe spot some interesting birds, bugs, or even snakes (if you dare)! Work on identifying trees and plants. Just plain old explore! Pack some binoculars and a bag to bring home your treasures. And don’t forget, a picnic would just complete the trip!
Explore a Beach
I know that the beach isn’t an option for everyone, but we are lucky enough to live within 30 minutes of the shore. For some, it might be a day trip, and others only a vacation. But I encourage you to find a place similar near you. I know many areas have a lake that has sand for sandcastle building, which could work great for you.
I am going to level with you, the beach is my absolute favorite place to be. Seriously, love it! But it is sometimes hard to enjoy with kids- worrying about riptides, drowning, jellyfish, etc. It can be stressful, but because of these reasons, it is a perfect place to explore in the Spring! The weather is just starting to warm up, but the water isn’t quite warm enough yet for a swim (so no worries about going swimming).
Remember to dress warmly though- maybe a sweatshirt and pants that can be rolled up. It will be colder and windier at the shore than it is at your house. Trust me, when me and my sisters were younger and wanted to tan, we would take a trip to the beach on a warm day to get some sun. But then we would get there in our swim suits and freeze to death and get sand-whipped (I think I made that term up… but basically the wind would pick up the sand and beat us with it). I wasn’t prepared, but we did figure out a way to still tan - dig a shallow hole to lie in and the sand would just fly over us. Obviously at times, we did give up because it was so cold and sit in the car with our arms out the windows because we are weird.
But I digress… At the beach with kids, the options are endless. Bring some buckets and shovels - build a sandcastle or dig a hole. If you are brave, let the kids run in the surf. Try to spot some marine life. Search for seashells. There are a ton of crafts that can be made with shells- both kid-friendly and adult ones. Just don’t forget to pack an extra pair of clothes. It is inevitable that one kid will fall in the surf and get soaked!
Walk around the Pond
I loved, loved this when I was little. It was so mesmerizing to watch the ducks fight over the bread or even the turtles or fish come to the surface for some. And the animals always came so close to us when we had food in our hands, which was great too! Besides feeding the ducks (which I know isn’t allowed everywhere anymore), there is a lot else to do. Have you taught your kids how to skip rocks? Now’s the time. Plus, we moms need to perfect our skills too! What about a nature bingo or scavenger hunt? There are a ton of free printables that work for this (here and here and here). Just take a second to print a few out before you go, grab a few crayons or pencils, and you are ready to go. And it wouldn’t hurt if you did one too! Maybe race the kids and see who can finish first or try to do one all together- you know your kids and what works best for them. Don’t forget to pack some food for you too and have a nice picnic before heading home.
Visit a Library
“April showers bring May flowers.” And if you know anything about Spring, those showers usually happen sporadically from March til May. Not everyday will be “walking on sunshine.” But that is okay. Embrace the rainy days. Throw on some trendy rain boots, grab the kids’ umbrellas, and brave this weather! It’s a perfect library day! Libraries are so kid-friendly now, offering story times and STEMI craft days in addition to just the regular kids’ section. Grab a calendar of events when you stop by to get the most from those rainy days!
I know every library is different- some with huge kid sections and toys and some more limited. But nothing beats the books which all libraries have. Let your kids pick out a book, even if it is above or below their reading level. You want this to be fun and peak their interest, not school. I also peruse the books and find some the kids will love and have them pick some from those choices too! Don’t forget audio books! This is something the whole family can enjoy while driving in the car. Pick out one a little above their reading level for maximum enjoyment for everyone (this means us moms and dads too). I love to find an audio book I read as a child or one I have heard good reviews on. And remember to grab a book for you too (keep learning, mamas…)!
I am sure you all could give me so many more great ideas and please do! These are just a few of our favorites. Make these “Kid’s Activities” work for you too! We all could use a little more fun and Vitamin D in our lives!
Until Next Time,
*Sidenote- If you have a baby, you also have to consider him! You have 3 options- stroller, baby carrier, or pack and play. Think through what you would like to do at each place, and pack accordingly. For the park, a baby carrier or stroller is my preference. You could also lay the baby out for some exercise on the blanket for the picnic. For a hike, a baby carrier is best for obvious reasons. At the beach, I prefer a pack and play with a fitted sheet over the top to protect from the sun and the sand. If you have one of those beach tents, those work too! Walking around the pond, opt for a baby carrier or stroller depending on the terrain. At the library, a baby carrier is best- don’t want to run over little kids or books in those ultra narrow aisles!