10 Great activities to get you and your little one looking for adventures in the Springtime.
1. Vernal Pool Exploration AKA "Wicked Big Pools!": Vernal pools are temporary pools of water,usually found during the rising waters of fall, and meltwater of spring. They provide essential habitat for animals both big and small, it provides a nursery setting for many animals to start life. Exploring these pools can offer hours of fun with slimy critters, and a glimpse into a microworld. Expect to find fairy shrimp, wood frogs, salamanders, tadpoles, and more. Before setting out please read the top ten rules for visiting a vernal pool Vern's tips for vernal pool visits.
2. Signs of Spring Scavenger Hunt:
Have your kids research what are some signs of spring, then create a scavenger hunt for your next hiking adventure!
or you can download Naturally Playful's Spring Scavenger Hunt PDF
3. Birding: I bet a lot of you keep your eyes to what is in front of you while walking. Well you are missing a WHOLE lot, keep your eyes to the sky! Birding can become a great family activity, you can even start a "Life List" with your child and keep that list going well into their adulthood. A life list is basically a record of all the bird species you have identified. Some sites I recommend to get you and your family started
4. Cycles of Life (Life and Death): Yes spring is a time of renewal, when nature shows us that we can survive the rigors of hardship (in this case winter) and give us hope and life. But it is also important to touch upon death. A rotting log can provide a great example of the cycles of life through studying decomposition. TLC Family has a great "rotting log" lesson plan for the family TLC Family "rotting log
5. Planting with newspaper: For a fun Spring craft activity head to Instructables.com "How to make organic planting pots"
6. Create a Children's Play Garden: Not only do I feel it is important that kids play in all weather, but also they play and get dirty doing it! Check out the FANTASTIC blog The Imagination Tree How to make a play garden
7. Amphibian night hike. Typically you will find a salamander hiding under a rotting log, or a pile of leaves. But on one of the first warm and moist spring nights hundreds upon thousands of salamanders will make their way to the ponds for mating. Check out this great book Big Night for Salamanders by Sarah Marwil Lamstein, also The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer. Your local nature center can assist you in a salamander night hike.
8.Rainy Day Fun: I strongly believe in getting your child outdoors in ALL weather! A little rain isn't going to hurt them, and nor will a little mud! It seems every department store now has rain boots for children, so grab some for some rainy day fun. Encourage your child to jump in puddles, play in the mud, dance and sing, look for worms, watch what animals do in the rain,even PAINT! Painting in the rain
9. Earth Day Celebration: Earth Day Network can help you organize your own event, or even find local events. Another great site to find local events is EPA.gov
10. Visit Your Local Nature Center: Your local Nature Center not only can offer hiking trails, but yearly family based programs, summer camp, vacation camp, volunteer opportunities, and more! Consider becoming a member to save $$ on all the fantastic possibilities! Some of my favorite centers by me are:
- Stamford Museum and Nature Center Great Sunday Family Programs run by the fabulous Lisa!
- New Canaan Nature Center Has a great live bird exhibit!
- White Memorial Conservation Center Offers miles upon miles of beautiful trails, and camping!
- Greenwich Audubon Also offers great weekend programing, Ted the naturalist is amazing. Great Birding here!