With warming weather, longer daylight hours and life in bloom again comes a sense of renewed energy and rejuvenation in the spring. Encourage kids to get outside and enjoy the fresh air with simple games and activities that structure play in healthy, developmental ways.
Make a game out of healthy exercise for kids with fitness challenges in a park or the back yard. Hold plastic hoop contests, relay races or jumping contests for kids and award winners privileges or homemade certificates. Or, play a game of tag, horseshoes, hopscotch, jump rope or hide and go seek. Amusing physical activities such as these require minimal effort for parents and provide children with healthy exercise.
When the weather is nice, take the kids for a nature walk through the neighborhood, a local park, hiking trail or field. Before setting out, give everyone a checklist of things to look out for, such as a bird’s nest, a specific flower or a caterpillar. As the children find and call out the different items on the list, initial them to remember who spotted things first. At the end of the walk, tally up who spotted the most signs of spring to determine the winner.
All a game of Springtime Bingo takes is some paper and stickers, markers or makeshift game pieces and a pack of index cards. Draw a simple Bingo grid onto a piece of colored construction paper. Make one for each player. Give everyone an identical sheet of 24 spring-themed stickers to place inside the boxes. Remember to leave the free space in the center open, or place a different sticker in that box. Use another sheet of stickers to put on individual index cards to create a draw pile. If you don’t have stickers, you can always play “Spring Words Bingo” and fill the boxes in with spring-related terms instead. Draw from the pile and encourage kids to mark their boards with markers or a makeshift piece like paper squares. Award special privileges to the winners.
The beloved children’s Easter egg hunt isn’t the only fun scavenger hunt to play in the spring. Think of a simple theme for your scavenger hunt, and hide related items around the yard. Hide plastic coins and jewels for kids to find and collect for a pirate-themed scavenger hunt or costume jewelry for a princess-themed hunt. Older children might enjoy hunting for real coins to keep. For a last-minute, nearly effortless scavenger hunt, assign point values to recyclables, garden stones or other ordinary items before hiding them. Remember to hide clues around the yard to help children determine the location of hard-to-find points or prizes.