I think it’s safe to assume parents are spending A LOT of time home with kids. Luckily, spring is here. I’ve looked back at my old blog posts and realized that there are quite a few about indoor and outdoor spring activities for kids. I’ve linked to them below. Enjoy!
One extra note: the #1 activities my toddler and I do together are housework and yard work. Here are a few articles with more information if you’re intrigued and want to read more (one, two, three). Toddlers LOVE to feel purposeful and they also LOVE to imitate the adults in their life. My toddler would much rather learn how to use the intriguing brush that sits beside the toilet than do painting or a complicated craft. It is important to remember that things might not be done exactly how you would have done them, and they might take a LONG time. We often take turns so I can eventually accomplish the task. This is fine by me. I’d personally rather take a long time working towards the accomplishment of putting away silverware or cleaning the toilet than move all the toy trucks and cars to a new home for the 957th time.
Here are some of my favorite spring time traditions:
Look and listen for signs of spring: Jot down notes on a calendar or a piece of paper that you can save. Keeping a “Signs of Spring” list heightens my sense of awareness when spending time outdoors. I pay more attention to the little things that are happening around me as the world wakes up from hibernation. Sounds, smells, sights, tastes, and feelings can all point to signs of spring. Saved lists from past years allow you to notice changes from year to year.
Learn new bird songs: Every spring I am reinspired to learn more bird songs. First, I review bird songs of species are common around the house. There’s a list of mnemonics here and a huge directory of songs to listen to at “All About Birds.” Then, when I go for walks down our back dirt roads or hikes in the forest, I listen carefully. As I walk I try to translate what I hear: “Cherrio, cheery me, cheery me,” for example. When I arrive home, I try to identify one or two of the songs I remember (that was an American Robin). Slowly but surely I identify more and more songs in the outdoor chorus on my own.
Play in the Mud: Yes, the extra laundry is worth it. All sorts of learning, experimentation, engineering, and play can happen in the mud. Most days we’re still wearing our winter outdoor clothes up here in Vermont. As temperatures rise, rain pants, rain boots, and rain coats will help keep indoor clothes clean and dry. Hosing everyone off before coming inside can help keep that mud outside.
Start Seeds: Even if you don’t have a garden, starting seeds can be a fun spring activity. All you need is a container with a hole poked in the bottom, potting soil, seeds of your choice, and some sort of dish or bowl for your container to sit in. Grow lights or windows with strong southern sun will make for stronger seedlings that will do better if transplanted into your garden. Plants like peas, lettuce, spinach, and herbs can be eaten as sprouts or “micro greens,” making this project rewarding in as little as 30 days! If you do want to garden with kids, this post is full of really great tips.
Taste the first wild greens of the season: As spring progresses, keep an eye out for wild ramps, fiddleheads, young nettles, or other edible wild plants. Foraging is most rewarding and delicious in the spring when plants are young, tender, and mild. They also tend to grow before anything is ready from gardens, satiating our cravings for fresh green treats after a winter of soups, stews, and casseroles. Read more about the plants I look for here and check out this recipe for Cream of Ramp and Nettle Soup.
Force spring branches: All you need to do is clip branches and put them in a vase filled with fresh water. Change water regularly, as you would for cut flowers. Blooming branches, like forsythia, are great for forcing. At indoor temperatures, your branches’ buds will open into new leaves and flowers. My family clips the bright red branches of dogwood in March for a beautiful table arrangement at Easter.
*Please excuse funky formatting of older posts. I recently changed the format of the blog to make it more mobile friendly.