Each season brings new wonders. If you live in an area with four distinct seasons, you have a special opportunity to help your child discover the joys of each one. Spring is here, so get outside and find ways to interact with your child while helping him learn and explore.
A spring nature walk is easy. Dress for the ever-changing spring weather and head outside. If you have a small child, use a stroller and narrate a walk around the neighborhood. Point out spring flowers (tulips, crocus, daffodils and hyacinth), budding trees, new grass and the warmer weather. If it's a windy day, watch the way the trees and clouds move. With older children, consider taking a hike. We have an easy trail around some ponds near our house. We visit it several times a year and note the changes.
Spring-related crafts will be fun for the whole family. Make a kite and then go see how it flies on a windy spring day. There are several ways to dye or color Easter eggs; Reader's Digest offers 17. You can also create a bird's nest from twigs, make flowers with chenille stems and felt or tissue paper, or search on Pinterest for other spring crafty ideas. Crafting is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon if you can't be outside much.
Don't let April showers keep you in all month. I like to go out in the rain when it is a fine mist or sprinkle. My kids enjoy getting soaked in a downpour. Get some fresh air and exercise by heading out for a puddle jump the next time it rains. Put on boots and grab a jacket and optional umbrella. Find puddles and jump! Be prepared to change clothes and dry off your happy and wet children.
For science-related rain activities, plant a rain gauge and see how much precipitation falls in a set time period. Watch evaporation happen when the sun peaks out after a rainstorm, or search for an elusive rainbow, then discuss the physics of rainbows.
There is nothing sweeter than baby animals in springtime. Find a local farm with bunnies, lambs or chicks and take your children for a visit. Try to learn about the animals you visit and teach your children as you observe. If you can't see the animals in person, find a video online or check out some books from the library that teach about baby animals. Read the books together and discuss what you have read. Be careful not to adopt a chick or bunny unless you are ready to take care of the animal throughout its life.
Spring is a time of new growth and re-birth. Teach your children about plants that grow every year, like perennials and bulbs, and those that need to be planted yearly (annuals.) Growing grass or carrots is very easy and can be done in a container as simple as a paper cup. Children enjoy watching their seeds sprout and grow, and watering can be their special job. If the ground in your area is soft enough, you can plant early season plants like spinach, lettuce and peas outside now. Digging in the dirt and growing something is satisfying as well as educational.
Use spring things as a catalyst for an art project. Watercolor rainbows, use fingerprints to recreate blossoms on a budding tree, paint umbrellas or spring flowers, or try sketching bunnies and chicks with older children. Join in on the art project and then proudly display everyone's creations.
Spring is beautiful and unique. Watch the earth wake up from winter by discovering spring with your children. You might find yourself as excited as they are to enjoy the many wonders spring has to offer.