Old Man Winter definitely did a number on us this year, but after weeks of waiting, spring has sprung! And for parents, that means shaking off your cabin fever and finally getting outside with your children. So, get your sunscreen, put your play clothes on and soak up some Vitamin D as you enjoy some time in the Great Outdoors. Spring has sprung! Here are 5 ideas to get outside with your little one.
Park It: You don’t have to be Mary Poppins with her prim and proper hat, gloves and umbrella to enjoy an outing in the park so load up the diaper bag and head out. Whether you have a toddler who wants to climb and explore every inch of the area — including the parking lot and the trashcans — or if you have a baby who just wants to be pushed in the swing, your local park is a great activity! You and your child will love the people and pet watching, there are plenty of activities to do, and it’s like a big outdoor play date so your little guy may even find a friend – or three! Of course, you’ll stay busy, pushing swings, chasing your little one up and down the slide and of course, helping on the jungle gym, but at the end of the afternoon, it’s a great feeling of exhaustion. This is also a great chance to get together with other moms, so plan ahead and have some friends join you.
One note of caution: It’s all too easy to get caught up in a text, an email or a live conversation and leave plenty of time for a toddler or older child to fly the coop, especially in a sea of other children. Don’t let your iPhone get the best of you. Always keep your eyes (and even maybe a hand) on your little one.
Just Walk Away: There is no better time than spring to get in the habit of daily walks. Whether your child is still an infant or a curious toddler, this is a great activity for you both. Go explore on your local greenway or just wander through your neighborhood. Take this time to talk with your child, regardless of his age, as you discuss what you’re seeing or just chat about any topic you wish. The fresh air is good for you both, you’ll love the exercise, and this is THE time of year to get out and observe all the springtime changes in the world.
Dining Al Fresco: For you and your husband, this may mean a sidewalk bistro but for you and your baby, it’s all about a big blanket and Cheerios in the backyard. Yes! Hit the backyard and enjoy lunch or even a snack outside. It might get a little messy, especially if your baby accidentally crawls over his bananas, but cleanup is a breeze, and it’s a fun change of pace for both of you.
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! When spring arrives, there’s no better Mommy-and-Me outing than a zoo or petting farm. Even if your little one isn’t old enough to stand up, he will appreciate seeing the animals, and testing his tiger growls and monkey screeches. The zoo is a great outdoor getaway and a perfect way to spend an afternoon. And, while you’re at your local zoo, check out their annual memberships as an option to come back as often as you like and stay as little or as long as you want. It is a real benefit, especially with kids. A membership gives you the freedom to come and go as it fits your child’s schedule – and takes away that Disney World pressure of staying til the lights go down and getting your money’s worth!
What a Wonderful World: As adults, spring comes and goes every year, but other than our wake-up call for bathing suit season, it’s pretty typical. But through the eyes of your child, everything is new and exciting! It’s not complicated, it’s not expensive and it doesn’t involve a lot of details, but spending some time with your child outside is so rewarding. Watching him discover leaves, flowers, frogs, and yes, even sometimes an anthill is a magical thing. So whether it’s sidewalk chalk on your driveway, a walk in the stroller, or just toddling around the yard checking out mulch and worms, make outdoor time a part of each day.