As the warmer weather approaches, it's great to get outside and play. Often, that simple change of pace calms colicky babies, soothes tantruming toddlers, and even kids in a great mood can be even more exciting when they set foot in the great outdoors.
You don't have to go far for an outdoor adventure. There are plenty of terrific activities you can do right in your own backyard. Here are six great springtime backyard activities.
1. Plant a garden.
If you're envisioning hours of hoeing and weeding, you've got it all wrong. Container gardening is a great way to go with kids, and you can also consider Square Foot Gardening -- check out the book by Mel Bartholomew for more information. For under $10, you can get yourself a planter, a bag of potting soil, and a packet of seeds. Spend some time choosing the right spot by watching where the sun falls in your yard, then plant, water, and wait for the seeds to grow.
2. Set up a sensory table.
Take an old folding table or even just a simply sturdy surface, and set some large plastic containers on top. Fill one with beans, one with water, one with sand, and so on, and let the kids get in and explore. You can set a vinyl shower curtain underneath the project for easy cleanup, and hose down the kids before they come back in the house.
3. Enjoy water play.
Even before the pool opens, you can let your kids run around in the sprinklers or just have fun with the hose. Wear water shoes in yard to protect feet from sharp objects and to prevent slipping. And check the water temperature before you spray -- sun-warmed hoses can get hot!
4. Have a picnic.
An ordinary lunch can be an exciting adventure when it's served on a blanket in the yard. Pack the food in a basket for the full experience, and take your time enjoying the meal. Bonus: no kitchen clean-up after eating!
5. Play croquet.
You can find kid-friendly croquet sets as well as other fun outdoor sports game equipment. All the things kids can't do in the house -- swinging baseball bats or golf clubs, throwing balls, and so on -- are fair game outside. Get a little energy out and enjoy yourselves at the same time.
6. Appreciate art.
Fingerpainting in the house –- no thank you. But fingerpainting outside? Bring it on! For super easy cleanup, have the kids paint in bathing suits, and move on to sprinkler play when you're finished. Artwork can be hung on a clothesline to dry -- just be sure to place it a safe distance from the sprinklers.
Outdoor play is a great way to celebrate the arrival of spring. Revel in the warmth and beauty of your backyard!
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