Being stuck indoors on dreary, winter days can bring on the blahs in even the most upbeat of us. But spending an entire season indoors with rambunctious littles probably has you calling “uncle.” No, seriously, “Uncle Jim, come get your nieces and nephews!” Now that the sunshine has graced us with its presence once again, we can finally start to venture out and let the kids run (crawl, roll, slide, ANYTHING) off that extra energy. But you don’t want to break the bank with spring time activities. Here are some frugal, fun things you can do with your youngsters.
• Hit the playground (obviously). It’s free, it’s fun, it’s in the sun. If you have babies, let them catch some Z’s while you swing them in your lap. Older kids will love playing tag, sliding down slides and hanging from the monkey bars.
• Find a botanical garden. Check the Internet to find area botanical gardens and go look at all the cool plants. Have the kids pick out different shapes and colors, choose their favorite plant, try to identify types of plants and read the placards together to learn about new types of plants.
• Visit the zoo or a petting zoo. Kids love animals, so why not make it a fun learning day? Some zoos will allow outside food and beverage, so you may be able to save on refreshments by packing a picnic. You can bring paper and pencils and have your kids draw their favorite animal during a break, as the zoo can involve a lot of walking and little legs tire easily.
• Blow some bubbles. If you’ve got 30 cents worth of dish soap, some water and a bubble wand, you’re in business. Practice blowing big bubbles, small bubbles, the most bubbles. Count bubbles, pop bubbles, blow bubbles all together and fill the sky with as many as you can. You can spend an afternoon soaking up the sunshine as the bubbles and giggles float up to the stratosphere.
• Go for a nature walk. Find a trail and go for a little hike. Look for wildlife and different types of plants. You can talk about the shapes and colors of different plants.
• Devise a backyard scavenger hunt. Design a simple scavenger hunt for your kids in the backyard (or a local park if you live in an apartment). Arm each child with a crayon and let them loose to find the items on your list. Use pictures or help them read what’s on the list.
• Fly a kite. Take advantage of those warm breezes and run around outside with some good, old-fashioned kite flying. Smaller kids may enjoy a pinwheel as their breeze-time activity.
• Plant a garden. Get your hands dirty (they’ll love it) and spruce up your yard (you’ll love it). Win, win! Plant some colorful flowers, useful herbs or veggies from a nursery, or start seedlings inside and transplant them outdoors. This is a wonderful science lesson for young kids.
• Make a birdfeeder and observe dinnertime. There’s no better way to bird watch than to bring the birds to you when your fellow observers are small and take frequent naps. You can make a simple birdfeeder by coating a toilet paper roll or pinecone in peanut butter and rolling in birdseed and then tying it to a tree. Peek out at who comes to eat, and talk about the birds you see. Draw pictures and try to identify them.
• Make an outdoor mural. Grab some sidewalk chalk and channel your kids’ inner Picasso. Decorate your sidewalk and driveway. Play hopscotch or make hand tracings.
Want to know more about what your child does to celebrate spring at Sparkles? Contact your child’s teacher or a staff member. We’d be happy to tell you!