By: Cristina Moreno, Bilingual Outreach Specialist, Penfield Children’s Center
The early days of spring are a welcome reminder that nicer weather is around the corner. Although springtime is full of colorful flowers and the smell of fresh rain, where we live the cold tends to linger and overstay its welcome, which means winter weather can sometimes stretch well into March and April. Unfortunately, this means that springtime is often over before it had a chance to begin, and tends to fall low on the list of favorite seasons. The winter holidays, laid-back days of summer, and the pumpkin spiced smell of fall, easily upstage the understated beauty of springtime. But spring is more than just a time to clean out the house and count the days until summer vacation. This year, try to take advantage of the unique opportunities this season offers and celebrate spring!
- Plant a garden. Gardening is a great activity to get you outdoors and kids love to see their work pay off as plants grow! They can help with weeding, choosing plants, watering, and older children can even be responsible for planting and caring for their own section of the garden. You can also create a sensory garden that incorporates plants and materials that engage and stimulate all of the five senses! Read how to make one here.
- Check what is in season. While some farmer’s markets do not open until later in the spring, there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from this season. Strawberries are a kid favorite whose peak season begins in April. You can make strawberry smoothies, strawberry yogurt parfaits, and lots of other tasty treats that are sure to be a hit. Ask your child to help you choose some fruits and vegetables they would like to try this season.
- Make a fun treat. I remember going to a birthday party when I was young and making dirt pudding cups that were absolutely delicious! Just top some chocolate pudding with crushed Oreos and a few gummy worms; it cannot get much easier than that. You can make it extra fun by using a clean mini plastic flower pot instead of your usual cup and top it with a clean faux flower on a stem or popsicle stick; just be sure the kids take it off before eating.
- Visit a farm or zoo. The hot sun can make us all tired, animals included. Going to the zoo or animal farm in the spring instead of the summer can mean that you get to see more activity and exhibits are less likely to be closed due to the heat.
- Have a picnic. Packing a few snacks to eat at the park can feel way more fun than having lunch at home. You can also enjoy having dinner outside in the warm sunshine without worrying about too many flies or mosquitoes.
- Learn to ride a bike. One of the great accomplishments of childhood! Spring is a great time to encourage your child to cut back on screen time and enjoy the outdoors in a new “big kid” way.
- Make Easter baskets. Receiving an Easter basket is fun, but making Easter baskets can be equally enjoyable. Show your child that giving can be just as good as getting and help him put together a thoughtful gift for his siblings or other family members. The basket can be as simple as a few flowers and a homemade card or a batch of cookies he helped make. You do not have to limit yourself to Easter baskets, a homemade “Get Well Soon” or “Thinking of You” basket can be a sweet gesture for grandparents or friends.
- Cheer on your favorite baseball team. One of my favorite things about springtime is the start of the baseball season. Wear some of your team’s gear or colors, pack a light jacket, buy a couple of hot dogs, and you are ready for a fun-filled day at the ball park!
What is your favorite springtime activity to do with your kids?