The spring season offers an escape route for families who've been trapped indoors all winter. Celebrate springtime together with activities that help you transition from the world of snowmen to sandcastles.
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Kids spend most of their winter looking at nature through the window. Spring season is the first chance of the year for kids to get outdoors and really experience it firsthand. Let them feel the earth in between their fingers as they plant a garden. Invite the bugs over with an insect watering hole. Reconnect with Mother Nature now that she's turned off the snow and turned up the temperature.
Grab a raincoat and rain boots to play in the rain. Listen to the raindrops on the umbrella. Splash in puddles. Belt out "Singing in the Rain." And when you're finished with those special rainy day activities, adapt some of your kids' favorite sunny day games to a safe, rainy day alternative.
Wipe the dust off the bikes and fill the tires with air. Riding bikes is good for everyone in your family. Before you jump on the bikes, though, be sure to give the kids a bike safety refresher course, and check the fit of each helmet. For the little one not quite ready to ride on two wheels, use the spring season to teach him how to ride. You'll be letting go of the bike and watching him pedal away from you faster than you want.
4. Take a Walk
We take a simple walk for granted until it's too cold outside to stroll around the block. Put your non-walkers in a stroller, and lace up the tennis shoes on everyone else. Walking is not only good for all of you, it's also an adventure. Kids can collect leaves and sticks for art projects, carry a tape recorder to discover new sounds or play walking games.
5. Fly a Kite
Step away from the video games for a favorite past time that dates back to 400 BC. There's a peaceful, exciting feeling that comes with unwinding your twine, running with the kite and finally seeing it fly up into the sky. Make a day of it when you create a kite with your kids. Then scrapbook your family's high-flying adventures to capture the memories. Although Benjamin Franklin used his kite to discover electricity, flying a kite is still one of the most fun unplugged activities kids can enjoy today.
Lunch at the table again? Pack up that food for a picnic instead. The kids won't object. Just grab your blanket for a picnic in the park or in your backyard. With so many picnic food choices, you have plenty of options to fill your picnic basket every day of the week. And if ants show up as uninvited guests, use their appearance to teach your kids about different types of ants.
Squeeze that entrepreneurial spirit out of your kids. Spring is the perfect time to open a lemonade stand. Your kids don't have to sit in the blazing summer sun and neighbors seeking fresh air become loyal customers. Get the lemonade stand ready with lemonade signs you can print from home. Then help the kids make a batch of lemonade that's a delicious blend of sweet and sour.
Your feathered friends are on their way back from their winter trip south. Let the kids don their hard hats to build a bird house. Open a diner nearby when the kids create a bagel bird feeder. Get ready to attract a variety of birds to this hopping new neighborhood.
There's a reason schools give kids a week off for spring break. After being cooped up at home all winter, children are just as ready for a getaway as their parents. Come out of hibernation with a bang. Plan a spring break the whole family can enjoy. There are plenty of kid-friendly spring break destinations for day, weekend or whole week trips.
Get ready to cheer on your favorite athlete. Spring season is when sports rosters open up for registration. Kids as young as two can join a sports team in some cities. For any age, sports encourage exercise, teamwork and socialization. Sign up now and it won't be long before your boring winter days stuck inside are replaced with removing stains from uniforms and taxiing the kids to and from their games.
Thinking of summer fun when the ground's not completely thawed seems premature. But camps are already filling their summer sessions. Register now to secure your child's spot at the summer camp of his choice. Talk with your child about where he might like to go for day or overnight camp. Whether he wants to go to academic camp or adventure camp, letting him be involved in the decision making will turn him into an eager camper as the summer months approach. The benefit for you is the added savings. Planning now can lower your summer camp costs.
The kids may be ready to throw their winter coats in a box, but now's the time to shop for their fall and winter wardrobe. As stores make way for their summer clothing, winter clothes can be discounted more than 50%. Persuade the kids to go on a shopping spree by making the outing a big event. After you grab the deals, take the kids out for lunch using some of the money you saved by shopping early. When you get home, take pictures of them in their new clothes. Not only is it a keepsake to see how much they've grown when it's time to wear the clothes in the winter, the picture is also a cheat sheet so you'll remember what you bought back in the spring.