The seasonal change from Winter to Spring is the most dramatic of the year. The air is still fresh and often the temperature is still far from the oppressive heat of the Summer, but the landscape around is beautiful in its transformation. It’s an important time of year for those of us with kids who are not yet at school.
We’ve spent months in the darkness of winter, and the kids may be restless from being cooped up over Christmas. But what are the best ways of enjoying the great outdoors with little ones?
If you’re lucky enough to be within distance of a forest, you’ll have no end of amazing things to see and do. The woodland is alive with activity during the spring, filled with the song of returning birds, animals coming out of hibernation and wild plants aplenty. Taking a relaxing walk through the woods will give your kids the opportunity to get up close and personal with nature in all its glory.
It’s a great place to go camping, climb trees or collect leaves. You can build bivouacs or draw the magnificent oaks and animals that you find. You can spend some time listening to birds as they sing in the canopy above or take a magnifying glass and watch bugs as they go about their daily business.
By the River
“The river has always held a special place for those looking for a calming influence,” writes Lisa Newsom, author at Researchpapaersuk and Last Minute Writing, “Because of a long history of dependence on bodies of water, most human settlements have access to a river, and there’s an instinctual feeling of peace when near it.” Your preschoolers will not only be calmer near the river but will have plenty to see and do on the banks.
Animals flock to river constantly. On the banks, you are likely to see all kinds of river-dwelling animals, such as voles or rats, dragonflies or kingfishers. In the river itself, you can find a wide array of colorful and interesting fish, and some extraordinary plantlike both in and on the banks of the water. If you’re lucky enough to have a clean, shallow stretch of water, you can swim and paddle or even take a boat.
In the Field
If you don’t have access to a forest or a river, there’s a good chance that you have got access to fields. At first glance, a plain old field might not have much to offer. But a closer look and you’ll find all kinds of interesting ways for your kids to enjoy nature.
As spring rolls in you’ll see all kinds of wildflowers bloom. Though as adults these flowers, such as daisies, dandelions, and tall grass, may seem commonplace, we should not underestimate the wonder such things can hold for toddlers. There are also all kinds of wildlife to be seen around, from tiny bugs who hold intricate social gatherings to bigger animals, such as hares, rabbits or even deer if you’re lucky enough to spot them.
Of course, one of the most popular activities for preschoolers is the playground. There’s a good reason local councils see the playground as a vital resource for parents. It is the place where kids can first start to learn social skills that will have greater and greater importance as they get older.
“In the playground, kids can converse and build language skills through interaction,” says Jeff Thomas, a regular contributor to Draftbeyond and Writinity, “They show understanding and compassion in a safe environment and learn collaboratively with other toddlers.” Playground development is getting more and more innovative, with accessible equipment for all and opportunities for artistry and creative play.
Fundamentally, it allows your toddlers to exercise safely and enjoy physical activity without overt competitiveness.