Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Five Free or Inexpensive Things to Do With Your Children in the Spring

The weather's getting warmer, the days are longer and lighter, cute little animals scamper in the fields and beautiful flowers come into bloom - spring is the ideal time to go out and explore the world with your children. There are also many free or inexpensive spring-themed activities you can do together at home. Here is a selection.

Make a Spring Collage

Gather together magazines, advertising brochures, packaging and old Easter and birthday cards. Cut out spring-related pictures, including:
  • flowers
  • lambs, bunnies and other young animals
  • eggs
  • cakes
Ask your child to choose the images he or she likes best and arrange them together on a large piece of card. The pictures can either be placed side-by-side or they can overlap. When your child is happy with the design, glue each picture to the card. 

If you wish, you can add finishing touches to the collage, such as strips of Washi tape, spring-themed stickers or ribbon.

Once the collage is finished, pop it in a frame and proudly display it on the wall.

Go for a Waters-Edge Walk or Bike Ride

Going for a a walk or bike ride along the bank of a river or around the edge of a lake is the ideal way for both children and adults to slow down, relax and enjoy the beauty of nature in the spring. Look for bluebells and other wild flowers growing in the grass, and listen to the birds singing.

Admire the beauty of the sun glinting on the water and see if you can spot fish swimming in the water or frogs, toads, ducks and swans. Your children will enjoy looking at the boats passing by.

If you have time, bring a picnic with you and find a bench or patch of grass to sit on and eat a simple meal while enjoying the beauty and stillness of the spring day.

Bake a Spring-themed Cake

If you normally just bake cookies or cupcakes with your children, have a go at making a more spectacular cake inspired by the season. Some ideas include:

Set aside a whole morning or afternoon to make the cake so that you can enjoy the process of baking with your child without rushing. You could then organize a little tea party with the cake displayed on a cake plate as the centerpiece. Invite family members and friends to admire and enjoy the cake.

Turn the Back Yard Into an Adventure Playground

Tempt your children away from their screens by turning your back yard into an exciting adventure playground. Set up a trampoline, slide and swings. Add other things that will be fun to play with, such as old tires, a basketball net or soccer nets. For younger children, sand pits, play houses and play kitchens can all be set up in the back yard.

If you already have some of this equipment, bring it out of winter storage and set it up outside. To buy inexpensive used equipment or perhaps even to get it for free, look on Freecycle, Craiglist, Gumtree or eBay.

Play Board Games Together

On a spring day when the weather isn't so good, spend a family afternoon playing traditional board games. Fun board games that have stood the test of time include Operation, Buckaroo, Guess Who? and Scrabble. 

If your children need to work off energy, physical games such as Twister or The Kid's Yoga Deck will get them moving. Charades is also a popular game that involves some movement.

For older children, Cluedo is an excellent choice because it stimulates the development of logical thinking skills in a fun way. 

Choose games that are suitable for the ages of all the children in your family so that everyone can join in and have fun. 

Whether you choose to go outside and enjoy the warm weather or stay indoors and take refuge from spring rain showers,  there are many things to do with your children without spending a lot of money. Choose a few different activities and have fun together as a family this spring! 

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