Now that the weather is suddenly so lovely, we are pretty much just happy to get outside without having to continually put mittens back on our toddlers and are simply thankful to be out there without our faces hurting. I'm writing this suggestion list for you to refer back to when the novelty wears off and you need some ideas for "spring-tivities"!
Bike/Car Tune Ups and Washes
Line up all the bikes and tricycles, grab a bowl of soapy water and sponges, and work together to wash all the winter grime off of each family member's vehicle! We enlisted the help of a friendly neighbor to help fill our bike tires and my older son assisted his little brother with adjusting the handlebars on the balance bike to accommodate his new height. Tip: Coca-cola works wonders on any rust you might have on those bikes!
Set Up an Obstacle Course
Just use whatever you have on hand! In our case, it was some wood, a solid block of wood shavings for our chicken coop, a slide, some rope, and some sticks we found out in the woods.
Learn About Butterflies AND Help Save Them!
Take a quick trip to the library and check out a book or two on the life cycle of a butterfly.
We did an easy and fun project after learning about how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly inside a chrysalis. All you'll need is a toilet paper roll, some masking tape, green paint, and either a green pipe cleaner or rolled up piece of green paper. Tape up the bottom of the tp roll, ask the child to place the "caterpillar" (the pipe cleaner) inside the chrysalis. Then tape up the other end. Invite them to paint it green. Voila! You have made a chrysalis or cocoon. If you want to be extra fun, open it up in a two weeks (the amount of time a real caterpillar stays in a cocoon) and put a small butterfly toy in there, tape it back up, and hand it to your child. When they open it up and see the butterfly in there, chances are you will have made their day!
To extend this learning further, and to truly help the monarch butterflies, which are endangered due to the loss of habitat stemming from land development and use of weed killers- you can plant milkweed in your yard! Buy seed packs on the Save Our Monarch Organization website:
Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt
Download this free printable created by The Teach at Home Mom. You can either laminate it and bring a dry erase marker so you can reuse it or simply print it and bring a pen or pencil outside. Find a nature trail if you have one nearby! As you find each item, invite your kiddo to cross it off on the list!
Start Seeds Indoors
If/when you get sick of being outside, you can start some seeds indoors to be replanted when the weather really warms up in a few weeks. We used egg cartons, but you could use Dixie cups, buy starter cups from your local garden center, or make your own starter cups with newspaper. Here is a link to a great tutorial to make your own using newspaper from Mother Earth News:
HAPPY EARLY SPRING, MY FRIENDS!