Spring is a beautiful time of the year that’s all about celebrating new beginnings. Feeling warm sunshine for the first time in months or splashing through shower puddles are moments that parents and kids look forward to as winter passes. Now that spring is starting to awaken, it’s a great time for curious young minds to be outside and explore Nature’s gifts.
Enjoy teaching your children about the wonders of springtime with these low-cost and creative nature activities for kids:
Start an outdoor or indoor garden
Most kids like playing in the dirt. They’re also enchanted by unusual things. Creating an outdoor garden can be a fun way to enjoy both while teaching them about plants. At your local nursery or home and garden center, look for seeds or starter plants with interesting names such as Moonflower or Snapdragon. Add varieties that can be fun to touch, such as Bunny Tails – an ornamental grass whose blooms resemble powder puffs. Your little ones may also enjoy “Tickle Me” plants, which curl up when touched, or scented herbs such as mint that smell and taste like peppermint, chocolate, orange and other flavors.
Consider planting unusual varieties of vegetables, such as red carrots, blue potatoes and purple beans. Growing their own flowers and vegetables can capture children’s interest and teach patience, as they wait for the seeds to sprout and mature. It can also interest them in trying new foods, especially those they grew themselves.
If you live in an apartment or don’t have enough yard space for a garden, then flowerpots or window boxes are great solutions. You can find them at garden centers and home improvement stores. Many vegetables, herbs and flowers grow well in small containers on balconies and windowsills. Bringing the outdoors indoors can be just as exciting as a yard garden for you and your kids.
Look for books on bugs, birds and other creatures
Playtime can also be discovery time. Look for books at your local library that showcase nature’s interesting critters such as ladybugs, caterpillars, butterflies, birds, earthworms and grasshoppers. As your children discover new creatures, use the books to help your children identify the creatures they’ve seen and the role they have in nature.
Visit the Zoo, to teach your children about animals
Since birds and bees are busy during spring, it’s one of the best times to visit your local zoo to see the adorable baby animals. Zoos and petting farms are fun ways for children to learn about new life and how – just like children – baby animals grow up to be big Mommy and Daddy animals. To make outings like this more budget-friendly, ask about reduced admission for very young children or whether the zoo or petting farm offers cheaper tickets during the week.
If a trip to a zoo or farm isn’t an option for your family, check out free nature DVDs and books at your local library. Or, why not hang a bird feeder near a window in your home or in a tree that you can view easily from your home? Use books to identify the different kinds of birds that your children see. Kids can make a bird feeder by tying a string around a pinecone, coating it with peanut butter and birdseeds, and hanging it outside, to see who flies in for dinner. If your child has an allergy to nuts, you can buy an inexpensive feeder and keep it filled with seeds.
Springtime is full of life, so it’s a perfect time to create new memories with your family that you can celebrate all year long. These nature activities for your kids can be great bonding experiences between you and your child, as well as between your child and the wonderful world around them.