Sunday, July 14, 2024
The Parents' Voice

Spring is all around us

I feel we were a bit spoiled this year – and now spring has sprung early. It’s time to enjoy some springtime fun. The outdoors become a new land when the snow melts after being covered up all winter. Read on for some fun ideas on what to do with your little ones this spring season.
Nature Hunt: With little ones, grab a bucket and go looking for pine cones, rocks, branches, leaves . . . all of these finds can be put into a bin in the house for them to explore. Add magnifying glasses for a closer look.
With pre-writing kids (aged 2 and up) write a list using words and pictures so that they can put the letters to words. Give them a list on a clip board, a pencil and a bag. Have them collect and cross off all kinds of fun things they can spot in the spring such as worms, bugs, pinecones, leaves, feathers, birds, branches and rocks. They will love being in charge of their list and their search.
Muddy puddles: What kid doesn’t love running through puddles at high speed? Let them go wild, walk around the neighbourhood finding the smallest puddles, biggest puddles, deepest puddle, muddiest puddle and enjoy. P.S. moms and dads, it can be absolutely therapeutic for you to join in for the jumping and running, go wild.
Mud pies: Crack out the play kitchen dishes (or real life baking sheets and pans, and spoons) and let them at it. They can play for hours making meals for anyone. Add some sticks, grass and rocks to amp up the possibilities.
Shadows: I’ve found some really neat shadow activities. Outside, they can draw your shadow, a toys’ shadow, a cars shadow using chalk on the pavement. Indoors, they can sit at a table in front of a window and trace small animals or other toys onto paper. It’s really quite neat to see the perfect reflection shining through a window. It’s also fun to try and step on each others’ shadows while going for a walk.

Bringing springtime in the house.
Springtime Sensory bins: Ok, I’m not going to lie I’m a huge fan of sensory bins. When I was teaching my favourite thing to plan for was the sensory bin. In my own house I use a plastic litter box and change out the contents frequently. It always amazes me how my children will further my thinking on their own. What I thought they would do is never what they end up doing which is so interesting to watch. Some spring ideas include:

  • A planting we will go: Add some dirt, plastic flowers, flowerpots and small shovels (you can use spoons). If you would prefer not to use dirt you can substitute with dry black beans. You can add in some worms to make it more real. This sensory bin is a perfect addition to any sand box or outdoor play area when summer arrives.
  • Water play: On a rainy day you can put a little bit of water with some food colouring in the bin, add some mini strainers, funnels, spoons, cups and measuring cups for a super fun sensory experience. Keep towels close by for a quick clean up.
  • Flowers and Fairies: This one is sooo fun. Fill your bin with coloured rice, some silk flower petals, confetti and small fairy figurines. The kids can make new homes for the fairies, bury the fairies, save the fairies . . . really whatever they can come up with.
  • Easter: Easter grass, plastic eggs and little fuzzy chicks are a huge hit. Make sure to pull the grass apart beforehand and remember a little bit of the grass goes a long way. If you can find mini baskets you can add those to the bin also.

* Anything dry I use in my sensory bin gets reused. When you change it to something else simply put the beans, rice, corn, pasta in a large Ziploc and store it in a cupboard for the next use. It’s amazing how long these products will be used for a sensory bin.

  • Making bird feeders: It’s exciting to listen for the birds coming home, and spotting them in trees at this time of year. Why not make a simple bird feeder together and watch the food disappear. There are tons of great ideas online.
  • Growing beans: Get a head start on your garden, indoors. Grow a bean in a cup. There are five simple steps to this science project and it looks soooo fun. Try this simple experiment with your kiddos.
    https://www.scienceworld.ca/resource/bean-garden/
  • Clean up your neighboorhood: When the snow melts away there is always a ton of garbage left behind. If everyone gathers up some garbage bags, gloves and hunted their neighbourhood our communities would look so much better. Bonus – teaching our kids to love and respect out earth.

I hope these ideas are of some use to you and your family. I am so happy to get some extra hours in the evening out in the fresh air.

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