Well, maybe not quite yet, depending on where you live. Still, I have been watching the weather reports, and it looks like spring has come early to many parts of the country. If it’s still cold where you are, chances are that it will warm up quite a bit in the coming weeks, and I’m sure that you and your kids are eager to spend some time outdoors, soaking in some rays and enjoying the crocuses, tulips and other flowers of early spring in your area.
Since it’s probably been several months since you’ve been able to spend an extended period of time outside, here are some ideas to cure your spring fever, and to get the kids used to playing outdoors once again:
Sidewalk chalk ‘Tis the season for hopscotch, foursquare and other games that you can draw on the sidewalk, driveway or street with brightly colored sidewalk chalks. Show your children these games from your childhood, and encourage them to make up their own games, as well. I remember making hopscotch grids using the letters of my kids’ names when they were smaller to help them remember the right order of the letters. Other things that my kids have enjoyed doing with sidewalk chalk include drawing little towns to use with matchbox cars, or drawing tracks to ride their bikes on. Covering the driveway in bright butterflies, smiley faces, flowers, and other kiddie pictures has always been a hit, too.
Bubbles These appeal a great deal to the preschool crowd, but older kids are known to get silly around these soapy spheres, as well! We never bother with the little bottles of bubble solution, as they tend to get used up on one sitting. Instead, we mix our own with water and dish washing liquid. Adding a tiny bit of oil or glycerin makes the bubbles last a bit longer. You may need to experiment with ratios; it really depends on which brand of liquid soap you use, and also, I suspect, on the hardness of your water. Use slotted spoons, fingers made into “O” shapes, wire clothes hangers, and whatever other objects you can think of.
Letterboxing Have you tried letterboxing? It’s a cross between a treasure hunt and hiking, with a bit of art thrown in. The basic premise is that someone hides a box containing a log book and also a rubber stamp (and sometimes other items as well), in a remote or interesting place, and leaves clues as to where these treasures are hidden. When you find the box, you are to use your own stamp to mark the logbook, and also to use the found stamp to mark your logbook. Then you put everything back where you found it in preparation for the next letterboxer who may come along. If you go to the letterboxing.org website, you can read the clues for letterboxes in your area. This is a great weekend family pastime, and gets you out in the fresh springtime air besides.
What are some of your favorite springtime activities? Have you taught your kids games from your youth, like kick-the-can, mother-may-I, or red-light-green-light? How about planting a garden? Tell us about some of the activities that you hope to enjoy very soon, once spring springs in your area!