To celebrate the day (finally!) how about a kids’ nature march into spring? Well, maybe more accurately a walk or run. No matter how kids move, the first day of spring is a call to go outdoors. Is there a playground in your area or a park? Besides sliding and swinging, a big, open space invites kids to run and chase. Nature herself seems to pick up the beat of little feet running and jumping with spring fever.
Once kids are dressed for the weather, it’s time to go outside. You may choose to go for a walk and see if there are any signs of spring. In some areas, as long as snow isn’t still hiding everything, there may be new grass showing on the ground. For those really lucky, a few early flowers may be reaching up to the sun. Often, spring rain or melting snow will leave puddles just right for splashing and jumping. And perhaps some dirt so boots and rain pants can get muddy. Looking up in the sky, trees may be wearing hints of green or bright, tiny leaves. Pink and white blossoms decorate some branches with the promise of spring. Birds could be returning and starting to build nests. Sometimes, noses can pick up a smell of spring too.
Nature shares her different colors, moods, and seasons with us when we take time to connect. The most recent statistics reveal that currently young children spend only 7 minutes a day outdoors in nature. It’s like the latest generation is divorced from what used to be the most common activity of kids, playing outside. How much of your day were you in the house? For many of us, we spent little time inside and most of our lives out. Not only have kids lost the connection to nature, they have also lost much of their play time. For a simple play-of-the-day today, can you and your child enjoy some fresh air and celebrate the day with a kids’ nature march into spring?
The saying is if March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb or in like a lamb and out like a lion, but whatever it is, the weather connects kids to nature.
In a generation where the average amount of time that kids spend outside is only 7 minutes, we can double that by just walking around the block to check the weather. March, as winter tries to deliver it’s last blast before spring takes over, is usually a month with quite a mix of weather conditions. Here, despite some wonderful sunny days that had us breathing sighs of relief that winter was done, we woke up to a few more patches of white and lightly falling snow.
Depending on the day, dress kids for the weather and go outside for some nature time. Check out the air temperature with a hand or cheek. Is it warm out today or cold? Is the air windy or still? We can’t see the wind, but skin can feel it.
The sky gives plenty of clues. Is it clear or cloudy? Clouds are the sky’s voice. The white, fluffy clouds use soft, gentle words. What do low, grey, thick clouds say? Maybe these clouds roar and that could be the lion. We can ask kids to look at the clouds and tell us what they think the sky is saying. Instead of words, maybe some clouds sing and some just grumble and rumble.
Weather doesn’t seem to affect what children do as it does for adults but, certainly, weather connects kids to nature. Maybe it’s because kids accept what nature is doing and adapt their activities to it? They find ways to play whatever it’s doing outside. Whether the weather is a lion or a lamb, can your child play outside in nature today?
February is friendship month and kids can be friends with nature. When we think about it, a connection to nature supports us for an entire life-time.
This weekend, in our area, we got to experience both positive and negative aspects to nature. Snow started early Friday and hasn’t really quit now for 4 days. The kids went sledding down a big hill at the school, made snow angels in the front yard, rolled down a small slope in the backyard, and made several snowmen. They also ran around the paths of a Fox and Geese wheel and with their dad’s help built a snow fort. For a snowball target, they used a hula hoop set upright and tried to throw them thru the circle. Sometimes they missed and caught each other. Thankfully, the snow clothes dried on the registers overnight so they will be ready for more snow play today.
The negative aspects were having to shovel the driveways and sidewalks several times and some slips and falls. Fingers and toes got pretty cold but a hot bath and some hot chocolate helped with that.
Your area may not have the snow for nature play, (you can be glad if you don’t) but you will have something else. Just being outside is a start. Check out the sky above and ground below. Clouds are never the same as the day before. What’s the temperature? Is there any breeze? A quick glance near our feet may reveal something alive and growing, either plants or small creatures. There could be a patch of sun on the sidewalk or a puddle on the path.
This advice is from the side GreenHeart Education: Helping children to make friends with Nature is something we must do when they are young, in order to give them a lasting sense of comfort in and connection to the natural world, and a deep understanding of their place within it. (Make Friends with Nature)There are some great ideas for ways kids can be friends with nature, including making playdates for nature just as we make them with other friends. How can your child play with nature today?
Need something to do today? Kids and grownups can make like the creatures themselves and go outside for groundhog day. No matter the weather or prediction. We know kids need more outdoor and nature time. Need some ideas? Here are some we can do any day: Check out the sky. Any sun? Clouds can be … Continue reading Do Like Groundhogs – Go Outside For Groundhog Day
As a new year’s resolution, spending more time in nature benefits us all, kids and adults. Could you use some ideas on ways kids go wild for nature? 1. Go for a Run, Walk, or Hike. This is the simplest to do anytime. It could be a park or even just the neighborhood. Urban areas … Continue reading New Year’s Resolution Word W= Wild: 16 Ways Kids Go Wild For Nature
Usually, dragons have some kind of treasure to guard; a nature dragon would have outdoor treasure so let’s go on a nature dragon treasure hunt. Crowns are optional. There are so many different kinds of dragons. Some dragons are scary, some are helpful. Often dragons are mean and sometimes they are friendly. For homes, we … Continue reading Nature Dragon Treasure Hunt for Kids
Where we live, October is sometimes called Rocktober because of the weather but with the right costume, it’s fun to go out for some Halloween nature play. The nursery rhyme Rock-a-bye Baby goes, “When the wind blows the cradle will rock, when the bough breaks the cradle will drop.” That’s what our weather is often … Continue reading Halloween Nature Play – Puddles and Pumpkins Start with P
If Nature Could Talk What Would It Say? Fall is in the air and what better way for kids to start this exciting, colorful month than some fun outdoors with October nature time? Let’s play outside. Fall isn’t the only thing in the air, so is this little one. Good thing his dad is right … Continue reading Fall In The Air: Let’s Go Outside for October Nature Time
Fall has its own special treasures and a fall nature treasure hunt comes with some we don’t see, like a connection to nature and golden feel-good moments. On a scavenger hunt, there is usually a list of things to find. These could be specific items like pine cones and seeds, or things to go with … Continue reading Fall Nature Treasure Hunt – Golden Moments of Time
The first day of each season we like to go for a walk to see signs of change. Would you like to come with us on our first day of fall nature walk? We look up and down, and all around. In the sky and on the ground. In a bush and under a rock. … Continue reading First Day of Fall Nature Walk – Connecting to Nature