nature

Combine Kids, Nature, Easter For Spring Fun and Learning

For some spring fun and learning combine kids, nature, Easter and enjoy this treat. We’ve done this activity before and were just waiting for a day to do it again!

spring Easter nature hunt activity for kids

Do your kids like to hunt for Easter eggs? Crystal, at
Crystal and Co calls this Reverse Easter Eggs. Kids start with eggs and instead hunt for things to put in them. It’s a sort of I Spy for spring scavenger hunt. Open 12 plastic eggs and place the larger half of each in an egg carton. Using just 6 doesn’t work, because then there are 2 items in each egg when you put them back together.  Then, dress for the weather and head outside for treasures to put in each.  This is what happened last time.

There were some wonderful spring surprises, like tiny little flowers hiding in the grass. Nature always has treasures such as bark, rock, twigs, dried seeds and pods, and other things down low at kid-level. Both Big Sister and Little Sister enjoyed looking for bits of nature. We tucked one item in each egg. Big Sister carefully closed them and we brought them back into the house. Opening the eggs to see what was hiding inside added to the fun.spring, Easter, and nature hunt activity for kids

With some sun on them, the rain puddles all around were sparkling like tiny jewels. We couldn’t put them in an egg but were happy to leave them outside. We left the daffodils outside too, almost like little suns.

Easter egg hunt nature kids

In a recent article for the New York Post, Naomi Schaefer Riley wrote, “nature provides a laboratory for kids, enabling them to make observations about their environment and allowing their brains to recharge.” Time in nature provides other benefits too, for physical and emotional development, like lowering stress and anxiety and increasing creativity, problem-solving, self-regulation, and social skills.

Instead of treasures at the end of the rainbow, these were kids, nature, Easter and spring treasures in the rainbow colors of Easter eggs. And maybe in the heart of a child too?

Visiting the Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze Adventure

In between rainy days, we’ve squeezed in visiting the pumpkin patch and corn maze. What a special place for kids and grownups with lots to enjoy.visiting the pumpkin patch

The pumpkin patch engages our senses. Visually, it’s bright with color. The autumn leaves dance with orange, gold, and sometimes red. The pumpkins glow against the backdrop of the dirt or straw. The green of the corn stalks is fading and turning to soft yellows. Crows are big and black against the sky. Both sunny or grey days have much to see.

visiting the pumpkin patch

For the sense of touch, the pumpkins are heavy and mostly smooth. The stems are rough and bumpy. Our skin feels the cool touch of fall weather. The sound of voices and laughter fills the air. We can hear the crunch of leaves and straw underfoot and the grunts of kids carrying pumpkins as big as themselves. There’s an earthy smell tickling our noses. Our tongues anticipate the taste of hot chocolate and maybe some pumpkin treats and popcorn.

So much information comes to us thru our senses. For children especially, much of their interaction with the world is on a sensory level. No wonder it’s fun.

Not just bodies, brains participate at a heightened level too. Think of the special vocabulary as we talk about the patch: ripe, round, heavy, ridges, rows, small, giant, enormous, tiny, vines, bumpy, smooth, flat, stem, seeds, and more. If the pumpkin patch has a corn maze like the one in our area there are more words like stalks, corn silk, cobs, ears, and kernels.visiting the pumpkin patch

Picking out the right pumpkin takes thinking skills, such as comparing, problem-solving, and imagining. Choosing is an active process. How many and how big are math questions. Science is happening from the ground up and the connection to nature is all around.

visiting pumpkin patch

There’s no doubt visiting the pumpkin patch and corn maze is an adventure. For some families, it becomes an annual and much anticipated tradition. Could this be your family’s play-of-the-day?

Nature Playdate Outside

One of the nicest presents anytime of the year is a friend. For a play-of-the-day, combine it with some outside time for a nature playdate outside. Now, there are two friends.

nature playdate outsideAt this time of year, the activities for a child and friend are will be influenced by the weather. In some areas, kids may be able to take a ball to an open area and have fun kicking and chasing it. In other places, zipped into snowsuits, kids may be able to use sleds and toboggans, build snowmen, and make snow angels. If it’s just wet, rubber boots and muddy buddies mean kids can splash in the puddles.

Playgrounds may be another possibility, depending on where you live. Swings are fun anytime of the year, as long as the seats aren’t wet. An old towel will often be enough to wipe water off a slide so kids can enjoy it and stay warm. If the playground is a better choice for another day, even a short walk around the block gives some time outside and in natural daylight.

outside playdateIn any play school, daycare or preschool setting there will be many social expectations on kids. They need to know how to interact with others their own age. Being a member of a group can be demanding for anyone. Having a play date gives kids an opportunity to develop and practice social skills. Kids engage in give and take, negotiating, and communicating.

The nature factor adds a special dimension. It awakens and stimulates the senses. Birds and animals may not be as visible, but there’s still lots to see, hear, an d feel. Warm, cool, or cold with sun, clouds, or rain the weather is nature’s part of the conversation. What will we say to nature?
After some nature time, friends can come back in and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or maybe a cool juice. Cookies go with either. Is there time for a nature playdate outside?