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Getting outside for spring!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 11:00 PM | Deleted user

Given the winter we’ve had, my kids and I have totally forgotten how to play outdoors.  But I am choosing to be optimistic and plan for spring anyway! 

With spring, we have opportunities for two different kinds of outdoor play: sunny and rainy.  Of course, you can just head out the door and see what you can find—your kids will get fresh air, exercise, and likely see something interesting.  But sometimes, I like to spice up our afternoon stroll around the block. 

This first link takes you to a spring scavenger hunt complete with photographs.  There are many more of these on the web, so you can try a different one every time.  This second one takes it a step further and includes clues for all five of the senses.  And once things start blooming, try a rainbow scavenger hunt!  Lastly, if you are going on a longer nature walk, try out one of these Spring Bingo cards from Mass Audubon. 

That brings us to rainy day outdoor activities.  As much as these are harder to gear up for and clean up from, they still offer great opportunities for burning off energy and exploring.  This article from Psychology Today explains some of the learning benefits of puddle play.  We do a lot of puddle walks, so I’ve included tips from my own experience and reading here.

  1. Dress appropriately.  Water proof boots are a must so that you and your kids don’t want to head home after 3 minutes.
  2. Give yourself over to the mess.  Any pants, shirts, socks, coats, etc., that you all are wearing will likely wind up wet and need to go immediately into the washing machine.
  3. Find the right place.  Hopefully you can find a spot nearby that has lots of puddles, gentle slopes, mud, and maybe a stream.  And if you can’t, you’re more than welcome to come over to our street—plenty of potholes here!
  4. Ask questions as your kids explore. 
  • Does that puddle look deep or shallow? Is the water cold or warm?  Is the water clear or muddy?
  • What do you see when you look in the puddle?
  • What happens if we tiptoe through the puddle?
  • What happens if we stomp in the puddle?
  • How does the puddle sound?
  • Does that mud look squishy or hard?
  • Whose foot print is that?

     5. To take it to the next level, find out what happens when you introduce  props.

  • What sound does this pebble make when it splashes in the puddle? 
  • Does the pebble change the puddle at all?
  • Do you think this stick will float or sink?
  • If we put the stick in here, where do you think it will end up?

The most important thing is to celebrate spring and reacquaint ourselves and our kids with the outdoors!

Comments

  • Sunday, March 29, 2015 9:28 PM | Deleted user
    Love this article!! THanks for posting!
    My kids are eager to get out..even with snow still on the ground. They have been out quite often despite the cold and snow--snowpants and warm clothes have been used this year!!
    It will be wet, but let them have fun and let them get dirty too!!
    Link  •  Reply

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