The gently warming sun, the chorus of newly returned birds, buds of new life adorning fruit trees and poised to explode with vivid greens. Spring is here; the perfect antidote to long grey days and snowy carpets. I love planting those first seeds of a long growing season, witnessing nature’s new arrivals, those first yellow smiles from daffodils, and seeing new spring lambs at our neighbor’s farm gate. Nature in spring is magic. New life. New possibilities. A new season!
In a time when there are so many distractions from nature for our kids, how can we capture in them the magic of spring? Children often look to us to guide their reactions. If you are captivated by something, they will be too. They will see and feel the magic of nature in your eyes. Here are eight simple and low cost ways to connect your kids with nature in spring and enjoy the changing season.
1. Nature Walks
You don’t need access to acres to be able to enjoy the beauty of nature in spring. Take a walk around your neighborhood, observe together how the trees, plants, and flowers are changing in people’s gardens and in your local parks. Marvel together at new buds, make daisy chains, notice how the greenery is awakening. Notice what neighbors are planting?
2. Baby Animals
Visit a nearby farm and enjoy the soft down of a new baby chick or the soft fleece of a baby lamb. Read books about these new arrivals, discuss why animals have babies at certain times of the year. How do animal mamas look after their babies and how does this differ from humans nurturing their newborns?
3. Spring Nature Display
Set aside a little table or shelf where you can display the changes in the natural world. In addition to seasonal treasures, add your fave books, your kiddies art work, or a craft project which capture the essence of the nature in spring. For more ideas, check out this post on making a nature table.
4. Arts and Crafts
Spring yields so much inspiration for arts and crafts: vibrant greens, flowers, and trees. You can paint pictures, weave pipe cleaners into rainbows, or decorate eggs with natural dyes from foods. Check out more great ideas for fun nature in spring crafts.
5. Bird Watching
Many bird species are returning from their winter migrations. Try setting up a bird feeder outside a window. Kids just love watching and being able to identify them. Grab a field guide from your local library and become a birder. You could do a tally chart for the number of birds species you see in a day, draw pictures of the birds, and talk about their habits in spring. Make a bird nesting material holder by collecting the natural materials birds use to make their nests: grass, straw, twigs, and hair. Put them together in a receptacle and hang near a window.
6. Grow Something
The first thing my kiddies do in the morning is look at the seedlings in our kitchen windows. We are all enthralled to see them peek through the soil and then grow before our very eyes. If you’re lucky enough to have some green space, pick out a spot and plant some seeds. For those with little to no outside space, a sunny window can also do the trick. Talk to your kiddies about what plants need to grow. Involve them in watering and repotting. There are so many benefits of gardening with kiddies. It engages all their senses, introduces science, teaches responsibility, and highlights the important of taking care of our environment.
7. Farmers Markets
Nothing screams nature in spring more than the farmers market. When your neighborhood farmers market opens check out the seasonal vegetables available. This is a great opportunity to try new foods, prepare a simple dish together, and discuss the benefits to the environment of only eating seasonal produce.
8. Create a Mud Kitchen
Improved weather makes outdoor play possible, and mud and puddles are aplenty from spring showers. Dirt and water are nature’s treasures (just add leaves, seeds, berries, etc.) equals hours of imaginative outdoor play!
Rain or shine this spring, grab a flask of tea and take a wander, sit and read a book about spring with your kids, listen to the bird songs, put on your boots and go jump in muddy puddles, and marvel at how the flowers and tree’s are bursting into life. On a chilly day snuggle inside and enjoy some spring crafting. Enjoy this glorious season and the delights and gifts nature in spring!