Whether you live in a milder climate like I do, or you are hunkering down indoors because winter is still blustering around your neighborhood, I’ve got some fun springtime activities for kids. The first two will work even if you’re home bound due to weather. In fact, these projects will help you look forward to spring even more! The last two ideas are better suited to taking place outdoors, so save those for warmer weather. If you’re in a milder climate, go for all of them now! In fact, I recommend celebrating a “Nature Day” with your children and incorporating all 4 activities into your day.
Here’s what you’ll need for this excavating game:
- 1 large clear plastic container – it’s best if this container is at least 3 feet x 3 feet with a minimum depth of 12-inches
- sand or dried beans to fill at least half the container
- plastic “gold” coins plastic necklaces, rings, bracelets (find these at the dollar store)
Pour the sand or beans into the plastic container. Bury all the treasures in the sand/beans. Give kids a tweezers and a paintbrush to use for their “excavations”.
Springtime is nest building time. It’s really cool when you have a bird’s nest in your yard or on your patio. Kids love watching the progress of eggs hatching into baby birds. Kids will also love providing nest building supplies for the birds.Here’s a great project that does just that and it’s so easy to put together.
Gather the following:
a suet wire bird feeder (find this at your garden center or home improvement store)
various colors of yarn cut into 4-8 inch pieces (the thrift store is a great place to find inexpensive leftovers of yarn. Got a friend who knits or crochets? They’re sure to have leftover yarn as well.)
After cutting the yarn into various lengths between 4 and 8 inches, start stuffing the yarn into the suet feeder. Get it packed full of yarn. Hang this out in your backyard or on your patio. Then watch the birds help themselves to these nest building supplies.
Once you notice some yarn has been taken, go for a stroll around your neighborhood to see if you can spot these colored bits of yarn being used in nests around the area. Your kids will get a big kick out of spying their yarn being used in nest building!
As spring brings about blooms, blossoms and new growth in nature, this Color Match Makers activity will be really enjoyable for your children…and you!
First, you’re going to construct a color match chart for each child. In fact, let the kids help. Go to the nearest hardware or home improvement store and head to the paint department. You’re going to choose paint color choice cards in various colors that show up in nature. You’ll want a good variety of greens for grasses and leaves; browns and tans for bark, tree trunks, rocks, and dirt; bright colors in various shades that represent spring flowers like purples, pinks, yellows, oranges; don’t forget blue, gray and white for the sky and clouds. I recommend choosing these color cards all in the same style and size. Why? We’re going to make a booklet with them. Next, let the kids put their color cards in any order they wish. My cards came with holes. If yours don’t, simply punch a hole in the top left corner of each color card. Stack them in order and then run a zip tie through the corner hole. Secure the zip tie and you’ve got a flip chart booklet of colors!
Next, take a walk in nature. Head to the park, the nearest arboretum, or even your own backyard. Get kids to “match” the correct color card with various items in nature. If you really want to get into this, provide each child with a notebook. Have them write down the color code of the paint color along with what they found in their explorations that matches that color. You can even use your smartphone camera to snap a picture of the color match. This activity will keep children occupied for quite some time and will also make them aware of just how diverse the colors provided in nature really are!
Mud Pie Kitchen
Yes, you read that correctly. It’s time for the kids to make mud pies! I have to say that my kids had the best time when I let them play with mud. At first, they were a little unsure…sort of in awe and disbelief that I was actually allowing this but once they got over their trepidation, they had a blast! Just remember, kids are washable!!
- First, create the kitchen area for the mud pie creations. An old crate or small table will work beautifully.
- Next, provide the kids with old muffin tins and cake pans (get these at the thrift store for super cheap).
- Now, you’ll need some dirt. If you don’t have any in your yard, get a cheap bag of potting soil.
- A small watering can is also helpful for this. You can usually find a cute, little watering can at the dollar store or the nearby garden center.
- Provide a bucket or big plastic bin filled with the dirt and a scoop or large spoon.
- If you’re worried about your child getting too dirty, either dress him/her in old clothes or cover their clothes with a large trash bag. Just cut a hole in the bottom of the bag for the head and holes on the side for the arms. Use tape to create a belt to secure this lovely dirt baking outfit onto your little chef.
Now, let the fun begin! Encourage your kids to get creative. Are they “baking” cupcakes? What nature items can be used to decorate these cupcakes? Rocks, twigs, leaves, and flowers are all lovely additions to these dirt desserts. You’ll be surprised at all the concoctions your kids will come up with! Just remember…don’t really eat the cakes and cookies your kids will serve to you!
No matter which part of the country you’re in and what your weather is like, your kids will enjoy these fun nature-inspired projects!