March 20 is the official beginning of spring this year, and for many of us it can't come soon enough! Spring is a beautiful time of year, full of blooming flowers and seemingly endless hours of sunshine. One of the best parts about the season, though, is that it allows everyone to spend time outdoors. After a long winter inside, what could be better? If your kids are feeling some major cabin fever after many months spent inside, here are some great ideas for enjoying the outdoors with them this spring:
Make Your Own Bouquets
Have your kids pick out a plastic vase they love at the dollar store or out of your own collection. Walk through your neighborhood or a nearby park gathering wildflowers to put in the vase so that they can display their bouquets in their bedrooms or on the dinner table. Bring a flower book along so you can figure out what each flower is and learn about them. Avoid the blooms growing in your neighbor's gardens, though.
Go for a Bike Ride
A family bike ride can be a lot of fun, and a great way to expend some energy and get active on a warm weekend day. Try biking to a restaurant for lunch and sitting on a patio. Teach your kids about good bike etiquette, like some common hand signals they should know and how to use their locks when you get to your destination.
Try a Bug Scavenger Hunt
Make up a scavenger hunt or a bingo card filled with pictures of bugs and send your kids out to find them. Tell them they should take pictures of the bugs for proof, and have them race to see who can finish first. For littler kids, go with them, or set a boundary line – like the perimeter of your garden – so you can keep an eye on them at all times. Then make worms in dirt for dessert – just put gummy worms in a cup of chocolate pudding topped with crushed Oreos.
Check Out Your City's Botanic Gardens
Many cities have their own arboretums or botanical gardens, so go and check out your local one. Not only will you have a lot of fun looking at all the pretty flowers and cool plants, but the whole family is bound to learn a little something!
Plant Your Own Flowers
After a visit to the botanic gardens, you and your kids may even feel inspired to plant your own flowers. Cordon off a section of your garden just for them, and take them to the garden store to pick out some seeds or seedlings. Have them keep an eye on the progress of their plants throughout spring and summer and help you water and weed their area of the garden.
Play a Pick-Up Game
Get the whole family involved in a pick-up game of soccer, football or softball to blow off some steam. Even on cooler early spring days, playing sports will keep everyone running around and warm. If you can, make it a once-a-week tradition.
Make a Bird Feeder
Bird watching is a lot of fun and can help your kids learn a little about the birds that are native to your area. Get more birds coming to your yard by making a bird feeder you can hang on your porch or a tree. Bring pinecones, string, peanut butter and birdseed out to your backyard or patio table, so you don't make too much of a mess inside. Tie a piece of string or yarn around one end of each pine cone, then have your kids cover them in peanut butter. Roll the pine cones on a plate full of bird seed until they're covered completely. Then just hang them up and start looking for any winged visitors!