10 Ways to Make Spring Magical for Kids

Spring break vacation pictures of families at the beach or at Disneyland were really getting me down this week. We don’t have any vacations planned for this entire year and I was moping a bit about how my kids are totally deprived (we’ve all been there right!). So instead of thinking about things I can’t change,  I decide to focus on all the things that we can do, especially ways to make spring magical for kids. It’s such a fun time of year, even in our own backyard. Here’s a list of 10 things you can do with your kids at home while spending very little (or zero) money and without too much preparation. All you need is uninterrupted time (put those phones and i-every things away) and maybe a little planning ahead. Enjoy, and I’d love to hear the fun things are you doing with your kids this spring. Tell me all about it!

10 Ways to Make Spring Magical for Kids #EarlyMemories

10 Ways to Make Spring Magical for Kids #EarlyMemories

1. Plant something
Indoor, outdoor, on your porch, in a garden, or in a cup by the kitchen window, it doesn’t matter where, just plant something. A small bag of potting soil and a packet of seeds are magical. Kids have natural green thumbs and I’m pretty sure it’s because they pour their heart, soul, love, and confidence into what they plant. I think every kid should be given the chance to grow something because they love the process so much. If you have a little bit of land try planting a few vegetables in with your flowers. You can grow green beans in almost any circumstance; I’d start with those for newbie gardeners. Potted plants are also perfect if space isn’t something you’ve been blessed with. Have your kids pick out a few flowers they like, already growing at the store, and plant them on your porch. Our other favorite thing to plant – grass or wheat grass! Plant it in a plastic cup that you can decorate with a face then once it gets taller you can give it “hair cuts”. Wheat Berries sprouts in just a few days and turn into tall grass in about 10 days, so don’t have to wait too long to have a little fun with it.

2. Learn the names of flowers and flowering trees in your neighborhood
I worked in a greenhouse the summer after my senior year of high school and what I learned in those few short months has really turned into a life skill. Knowing the names of plants around you seems like a mundane or trivial thing, but there’s something empowering in it. It’s also really fun when your tiny kids can properly distinguish the difference between a crocus and a tulip. My kids are naturally drawn to the new colors that pop through the ground in early spring and they love having a name to go with their new bright discoveries. I’m no expert but knowing a handful of the most commonly seen flowers in your neighborhood will make you a smarty pants when your kids ask “what’s that” on your morning walk.

3. Buy a field guide and watch for the return of birds to your area
Bird watching isn’t just for old ladies; kids are drawn to nature, birds included. We have the most bird watching success when we make a little simple homemade bird feeder (bread, peanut butter, and bird seed needed, full instructions here) and hang it as close to a window of our house as we can. We aren’t quiet enough to sit outside and watch but we can watch from in the house very well. I’m no bird expert and so I love having a field guide on hand (the kids also love looking at all the great art work in the book) The Sibley, National Geographic, and Peterson field guides are the most common and popular and you’ll want to pick up the right one for your geographical area (generally Eastern, Centeral or Western North America is how the books are sold.) Not in the mood to buy a field guide? Learn the top ten most popular birds in your area and how to identify them and chances are good you’ll know most everything that comes into your yard.

10 Ways to Make Spring Magical for Kids #EarlyMemories

4. Introduce them to a seasonal vegetable
Have your kids ever tried asparagus, rainbow Swiss chard, or artichokes? If not, there’s no better time than now. Be intentional about letting them pick the new food, having them plan how you’ll use it, helping with the shopping, and then let them be part of the cooking process. The new-to-you food might not be an instant hit but it gives kids the chance to explore new things and have a little say in what’s going on the dinner table. Plus, it’s a fun thing to do together and they’ll remember the time as much as the new ingredient. Need more ideas of what’s in season right now? I have a great April produce guide here.

10 Ways to Make Spring Magical for Kids #EarlyMemories

5. Two words: Baby. Animals.
It doesn’t matter how you get a baby animal into the hands of your child, you just have to do it. You can hatch your own chicks (mine are due on Saturday!), visit a local farm, go to the zoo, or simply find a friend in town who has a new litter of kittens or bunnies. Here’s another secret place to see baby animals: the hardware store! Most feed/hardware/farm/ranch stores have a variety of baby animals for sale this time of year. Even our hardware store has an adorable assortment of chicks for sale and other larger stores we have been to have bunnies, chicks, ducks, and even baby turkeys (also knows as chicks). Have you ever seen a turkey chick?! {Insert heart-eyed emoticon here} They are so beyond adorable.

6. Build a fair house, boat, fort
Spring seems to have a lot of “winter” still lying around while new things are popping through the ground. My kids love when we collect up old sticks and wood along with new grass, buds, and flowers from the yard to make silly little projects like fairy houses, little boats to stick in the creek and watch sail, or if we are really motivated a new fort/hide out/club. These aren’t big projects that are going to last all summer; these are just little fun projects you hope last more than one afternoon.

7. Spring clean something they love, together
I’m always anxious to de-winterize my garden and front porch and I’ve found my kids have projects they’d like to work on too if I’m willing to help. I asked me kids the other day if they wanted help getting something of theirs cleaned up and they loved the idea. We spent the afternoon cleaning up the sandbox area (throwing away trash that had collected over the winter, finding a new tub to toss all the toys in, cutting a few weeds) and they also want to clean up the play house that the spiders moved into over the winter. They were projects that were important to them but weren’t even on my to-do list. They were more than willing to help and now they’ve spent hours and hours in the sandbox because it’s cleaned up and ready for summer. I bet your kids have cleaning projects in mind if you just take the time to ask and then help them accomplish them.

8. Read an old classic out loud to them
Reading a chapter book or novel out loud to children is one of my favorite things. Little picture books are fun but letting your kids fall in love with well-developed characters and get anxious over plot twists is a gift you can’t give too early in my opinion. Reading and stories are so powerful and someone is never too young to get pulled into the wonder. My kids don’t sit on my lap when I read a long book they keep their hands busy – in the sandbox, playing with blocks, or picking dandelions, but I know they are listening when they beg me not to stop at the end of a chapter. We are working our way through this Puffin Classics Collection
and I also highly recommend Charlotte’s Web and Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon (great for really young kids, it moves quickly and has great characters).

10 Ways to Make Spring Magical for Kids #EarlyMemories

9. Start a nature journal
Let them decorate the outside of a notebook from the dollar store with pictures they cut out from your seed catalog (no seed catalog? Just request a free one on a website like Johnny’s Seed, Gurney’s, or Burpee. They are really fun to look at and we use them for art projects all of the time). Then stick their notebooks in your bag with a pack or crayons or markers. When you are at the park, on a hike, or at the beach, pull out the notebooks and ask the kids to draw what they see. This is such a fun thing to watch as a parent. Will they pick the landscape or a single leaf with a lady bug on it? Observation, nature appreciation, and art skills are never too early to start developing.

10. Let them create a new recipe or doctor-up a classic favorite
I am spending more and more time outside mowing, watering, gardening, pruning, or just playing and dinner prep slowly takes a backseat to these other chores I’ve missed so much over the winter. My kids love it when I ask them to cook dinner. They feel very important and of course they love deciding what to eat. I like to keep Horizon Organic Macaroni and Cheese on hand for “kids cook” night because more often than not, that’s what they want to eat. Macey (7) is old enough to read the instructions and to make the dish herself but what they like most is adding to the pasta. They’ll add vegetables like peas or broccoli to the noodles while they cook and then they love to add meat once it’s all finished. Cooked bacon, sausage, and chopped ham are their favorites. With a little supervision they can make the entire meal on their own. I make sure they are in charge of setting the table as well as preparing a fruit side dish too. Making a complete meal from start to finish is fun for them and it’s also pretty great for me. They are always so encouraged when they are praised for a tasty and well prepared meal that we all enjoy.

And there you have 10 pretty easy but very magical things that you can do with your family this spring.

The fine folks at Horizon sponsored this post and they wanted me to talk about spring and childhood traditions. I loved writing this because it was different from my usual recipe post but still something I feel really passionately about. Horizon is one of our favorite organic brands and they were a natural fit to work with today. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter for coupons, recipe ideas, and more information on their products.

This conversation is sponsored by Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine. Thank you for supporting me and the brands that I thoughtfully choose to work with.

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.

Dinner Ideas for Busy Moms
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