Spring is an exciting and beautiful time of year that allows everyone to break out of winter hibernation mode. During this time of year, all things become new, and we are surrounded by growth. The blossoming flowers and tree leaves wake up our senses and remind us that we have entered a new phase. We earn back daylight hours that allow us to start basking in the sunshine. The longer daylight hours increase our vitamin D exposure, which plays a significant role in boosting our moods. As change is making headway all around us, we are reminded of some ways we can switch up our routine and take advantage of all spring has to offer.
Although our calendar’s alert us that spring is here, the weather does not always cooperate with our spring endeavors. Nevertheless, the spring party must go on. Indoor spring activities are a great way to have fun getting into the spring spirit without allowing unpredictable weather “rain on your parade.” Additionally, indoor activities may be more ideal for parents and kids that suffer from seasonal allergies. Indoor activities are a great way to encourage children to let the creative parts of their brains flow. Moreover, it provides a contained environment for kids to explore scientific concepts related to nature. Spring break is the best time for parents to catch up with children and spend quality time creating fun projects together.
Outdoor activities that involve exploration of nature can be significantly beneficial to children’s learning and development. A study from Pediatric Medicine suggests that outdoor play provides opportunities for problem-solving, creating thinking and decision making. The outdoor environment provides a sensory-rich experience for children. Through activities outdoors, children can experience scientific theory come alive before their eyes. Unfortunately, in major metropolitan cities such as Washington, D.C, nannies and caregivers may feel limited by the vast concrete jungle surroundings as they hunt for green-rich environments for children to work off high energy. However, it is crucial that children have exposure to nature rich environments. This type of environment can be particularly fruitful for children with ADHD. Moreover, nature has a therapeutic influence on children with behavioral problems. The American Institute of Research for the California Department of Education found that at-risk youth gained positive self-esteem, better relationships with peers, increased attentiveness and willingness to learn from an outdoor camp-like education program. Springtime is the best time to assist kids with combining fun and learning to enrich their development and well-being. Nannies and caregivers in Washington are privileged to have accessibility to a number of beautiful parks that can allow children to explore diverse outdoor activities. Rock Creek Park is one of the largest parks in the district with a 0.9-mile trail. Throughout the park you may come across beautiful streams and mini-waterfalls, coupled with soothing sounds of nature.
Indoor Spring Activity Ideas
- Use recycled supplies in the house to create paper crowns. Teach children about the importance of recycling and waste.
- Turn flowers different colors using colorful dye. Teach children about the anatomy of flowers and nutrient absorption.
- Build a tent/teepee
- Use nature to create art. Teach children about an artist that tried to capture nature in their artwork (i.e. Claudia Monet).
- Create fun stories with pictures that tell a story about an unusual plant in nature. Teach children about the life cycle of a plant and its unique.
Outdoor Spring Activity Ideas
- Feed ducks at a local pond.
- Create a bird feeder for your home
- Fly kites at a local park. Teach children about the four forces of flight.
- Have a Nature Scavenger Hunt. Incorporate colors and numbers to teach children to find corresponding objects.
- Create a visual list of items in nature (i.e. acorns, pine, maple seed, flowers, and leaves). Encourage children to explore nature and find each item and glue it to the corresponding visual.
- Start planting a vegetable garden. Teach children about responsibility, cause and effect and weather.
Apple-Raisin Baked Oatmeal Recipe
♣ 3 cups of old fashioned oats
♣ ½ cup packed brown sugar
♣ 1-½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon
♣ ½ teaspoons of salt
♣ ½ teaspoons of ground nutmeg
♣ 2 eggs
♣ 2 cups fat-free milk
♣ 1 medium apple, chopped
♣ 1/3 cup raisins
♣ 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine first six ingredients. Whisk eggs and milk; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in apple, raisins and walnuts.
- Transfer to 8-in square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until edges are lightly browned, and a thermometer reads 160 degrees. Serve with additional milk if desired.