In our home, we love spring. We have fun in spring, and we celebrate this season as new life pops up around us outdoors.
If you have young children…
• Go on a spring scavenger hunt. Look for signs of spring—spotting a robin, finding a bug outside, discovering birds making nests, experiencing the first thunderstorm, listening for birds singing in the morning, finding a worm, jumping in mud puddles, noticing more people walking and biking outside, discovering a blooming flower (crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, and daffodils are spring flowers). We also marvel at how the grass slowly greens up, and we notice the trees and shrubs are getting buds and then how those buds become small leaves and then larger leaves. Our favorite spring sign to spot: blooming lilac bushes, flowering crab apple trees, and Eastern Redbud trees.
• Keep track of how the days are getting longer. The sun rises earlier and earlier, and it sets later and later. Spring gives you a sense of life expanding.
• Celebrate the season! by reading picture books and easy chapter books about the subject. Some of my favorites include:
o Spring Surprises by Anna Jane Hays (NY: Random House, 2010)
o Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson (NY: Greenwillow, 2009)
o Spring Things by Bob Raczka (Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Co., 2007)
o Mud by Mary Lyn Ray (San Diego: Sandpiper, 2001)
o Mouse’s First Spring by Lauren Thompson (NY: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2005)
If you have older children or teens…
Older children and teenagers are quick to embrace spring on their own terms. Bikes, skateboards, and soccer balls appear. Older teenagers who may have had some restricted driving during the winter months are happy to get back to driving. Teenagers can more easily move around (without parents transporting them), so suddenly more teens appear in our home. They walk over, bike over, and skateboard over.
o Take spring as another way to celebrate new beginnings. We often revisit our New Year’s resolutions. We ask: How are our resolutions going? What needs to change? What would make it easier to start again—or to take a new direction based on what we’ve learned and experienced since January 1? This is not a time of admitting defeat. It’s about being honest about the obstacles we’ve encountered and discovering new ways to get around them to start again (or renew our commitment to a resolution we’ve kept).
oSimplify! I have a teen who’s a strong advocate for the environment, and he thinks it’s great fun to sort through closets, drawers, and attics to donate items to charity and to rid ourselves of broken things that we’ve stuffed into closets instead of the garbage. We’re now both reading the book The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul by Dave Bruno (NY: HarperCollins, 2011). We’ve discovered that it’s much easier to live simply when you’re a young, single person, but we’re discussing how to simplify our lives as a family. It’s a perfect spring project.
oBe spontaneous! What I also love about spring is that it’s easier to be spontaneous. When winter’s around, you want to stay home and hibernate. It’s a huge project to bundle up (and bundle up your kids). It can be hard to get around outside (particularly if you got as much snow this winter as we did). But with spring, there’s a sense of opening up, getting out, and letting go.
How are you and your kids having fun this spring?