Birds are chirping. Squirrels are scampering. Bugs, insects and spiders are appearing. Flowers are popping up and leaves are budding. And the rain is falling! Spring is a magical time of year to introduce children to the wonders of nature. Wonders exist in rain drops and puddles, in new buds and fresh blades of grass. So, get out and enjoy this special time of year. It won’t last long!
Remember to stay hydrated! Kids love playing and may forget to drink water during their adventures. Help kids stay healthy by bringing water bottles on excursions and by having regular water breaks. Take a peek at this website for helpful tips about detecting dehydration, what to do when it happens and how to avoid it in the first place: http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/body/dehydration.html#
Remember to stay safe! Springtime thunderstorms may appear with little warning, so be prepared and know what to do before a storm surprises you. To help kids understand thunderstorms, know how to be safe and how to find their calm, check out this helpful website: http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/out/thunderstorms.html#
Rain & Puddles -Author Jennifer Ward has tons of activities for children in her book “I Love Dirt” (Trumpeter 2008). She suggests you get under an umbrella with your child during the rainy season and explore where the rain goes, how it feels dropping on the skin and what smells and sounds your child notices.
Worms!-Ward suggests another fun activity for after the rain shower: have children search for worms. Engage with children by first observing how a worm moves and then attempt to move like a worm yourself. Wiggle like a worm!
Let Kids Set The Pace-Author Judy Molland writes with wisdom regarding children and nature in her book “Get Out!” (Free Spirit, 2009). Molland suggests keeping the outdoor walks short and fun for your young children by playing ‘I Spy,’ bringing a healthy snack and stopping in the grass to enjoy it together. If the older children are experiencing difficulty extricating themselves from video games, computers or texting, Molland advises a soft touch. Molland writes, “Let them know that time in nature is like health food for the brain, and you’d like to make a schedule everyone agrees to so time indoors is balanced with time outside” (p.10). Teenagers, as well as younger children, love knowing that they are respected and that they have choices. Start small and provide positive and fun experiences with nature. Eventually, you may find kids choosing nature over indoor activities.