The change of seasons is one of my favorite things about living in the Northeast. I can honestly say that I enjoy all the seasons and look forward to the different pace, activities, and challenges of each. As winter gives way (usually begrudgingly) to spring, I start to think about rain boots, puddle jumping, flowers, and chirping birds. The sweet smells and longer daylight hours of spring are certainly something to relish even if you’re sad to see all the cold weather gear go to storage for now.
Planning new activities is another pleasant aspect to the change of seasons. I enjoy arranging unique things to try and old favorites that we adore every year.
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On The Trail
Unless you visit new places frequently, you’ve got to find ways to spice up the same stretch of trail where your family walks regularly. The seasonal shift does some of the work for you. As spring approaches you can encourage your kids to observe the differences in their surroundings. Ask them what they notice about the trail, surrounding area, and wildlife. It’s interesting to hear their perspectives.
There are tons of simple extension activities that require no advanced prep or equipment.
Color or letter walk– find all the colors of the rainbow (ROYGBIV) as you walk or find things that begin with each letter of the alphabet. It prompts kids to look around and reinforces prior learning. These are perfect activities for pre-K through second grade children.
Senses walk– experience the new season with all your senses. Make a point to inhale deeply through your nose to smell all the plants that are budding and flowering. Notice changes throughout spring as different flowers bloom. When you stop to rest, close your eyes and listen intently for all the creatures returning from the south or waking up from hibernation. When using your sense of touch, take caution. Do your best not to damage any flora and don’t attempt to pet any animals. It’s probably best not to taste anything!
Identifying trees is a perfect activity for older kids and teens. The only advanced preparation you might consider is getting a guidebook from the library or doing some online research. Keep a journal of your observations. Kids can paste in pictures of the trees they see or draw their own.
Off The Trail
We also spend plenty of enjoyable outdoor time in settings other than the trail. Here are two fun ideas to get started.
I put this activity in the “off the trail” section because you should not bother the plants along the trail. There are oodles of gorgeous and fragrant flowers. If everyone picked a few to take home, the scene would quickly become less idyllic. However, you can collect flowers, pinecones, and greens from your own yard and make lovely dioramas, pressings, and rubbings.
Make An Obstacle Course
As much as we try to stay active through winter, we feel a huge relief on the first truly warm, sunny day. We’re anxious to do something creative that gets us moving. Encourage kids to make an obstacle course to practice some of the skills they’ve not used much over the winter. Hula hoops or tires for agility exercises and boards for balancing are perfect for working the body and brain together. Include large objects to climb over and limbo sticks to go under. Your imagination is the limit.
I hope these few ideas help you jump start your next season of outdoor excitement. Share your adventures with us on Instagram @trailfamilylife.
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