You’ve been cooped up for long enough: Now that the snow is finally taking a back seat to warmer weather, it’s time to head outdoors. Your kiddo is impatient to be out there, and you’re ready to spend a warm spring day playing with your kid outside without having to fuss with the snowsuit, mittens, and seven-layer thermal concoction that you’ve rigged up to keep your tot warm. If you’re looking for some inspirational new activities to share, check out these super-springy ways to spend the day with your tot.
1. Bug Hunt: What’s creepy, crawly, and all around you in the springtime? Bugs! Even though you’d prefer those pesky pests to stay away from the house, your kiddo is kind of thrilled that they’re slithering, sliding, and crawling their way through the yard. Bring along a magnifying glass, remind your child to explore the insects with their eyes and not their hands, and snap a few buggy pics to look at later.
2. Petal Prints: There are fallen petals just about everywhere. Those blooming trees just can’t stop shedding them. Bring your crafty kid’s finger paints outside, dip the fallen blooms into it, and create artsy prints on construction paper.
3. Chalk Paint: Sidewalk chalk is a childhood standard. Take it up a notch and make your own paint out of the outdoor art medium. Grind the chalk into fine pieces, mix it with water, and give your tot a brush to paint it onto the sidewalk, patio, or anywhere else they like. Use the hose to wash the chalk away — or wait for it to rain and watch as the colors stream together.
4. Spring Songs: Take the tunes outside. With the warm weather here, it’s time to forget about your indoor dance party play and get your groove on outdoors. Bonus points if you stage a backyard sing-a-long dance activity in a spring shower (as long as there’s no thunder or lightning).
5. Mud Factory: Before your garden is ready to start growing, you have one thing, and a lot of it: Dirt! Give your tot a bucket (or a few) of water and a kid-sized shovel, and let them go to town building their own “mud factory.” They can explore, experiment, and make their own muddy discoveries.
6. Backyard Band: Sometimes your usual playlist just won’t cut it. When that happens, your kiddo can create the music for you. Bring pots, pans, upside-down buckets, or anything else that makes noise outside for a concert alfresco.
7. Natural Watercolors: Use the spring showers to your artsy advantage. Your pint-sized Picasso can collect rainwater in a cup to paint a springtime landscape. Or simply wet the paper itself: When they brush the dry paint across the wet paper, magic will happen!
8. Noticing Nature: Start with one simple question, “What’s different in the spring?” Then take a walk outside to help your child come up with some answers.
9. Shadow Drawing: Spring is the perfect time to start an art activity that will span the seasons. Pick a time of day, head outside, and trace your child’s shadow onto a piece of paper. Note where the paper and the shadow were. Repeat this on different days as the season moves from spring into the summer. Your child can compare where the sun is and was — and guess where it might be next.
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(Photos via Getty)