Spend Less. Adventure More.
It’s the magical time of the year when we say goodbye to the large snow banks, and hello to the glorious rays of sunshine and muddy puddles. Each and every year, parents welcome spring with open arms as we have grown tired of our kids endless whining due to cabin fever. Sure we enjoy our share of outdoor winter activities, but when the temperatures drop significantly (into freeze your butt off territory) we quickly resort to hibernating. The last couple weeks in Saskatoon have been downright refreshing, we have hit plus temperatures nearly every day and the hope of spring is bubbling within everyone. This year families were faced with more than the typical winter cabin fever; the pandemic really added an extra layer of gloomy fog over everything during the winter months. I think now more than ever, families need the renewed hope that spring brings. In anticipation of the warmer days ahead, I have begun to plan our spring bucket list of activities. I thought I would share some of the spring activities we are hoping to do with our kids and maybe it can inspire some fun adventures in your house during the coming months.
Puddle Jumping: Whether you love or hate Peppa Pig and her obnoxious muddy puddle jumping, there is something so fun about the concept of puddle jumping. Kids are constantly told to stay out of the mud, but as parents I think sometimes adventures come from letting go…even just a little. When we let go of the notion that kids need to stay out of the dirt, we make way for some pretty epic family adventures. If mess is a big concern, invest in some splash pants or a good rain suit such as the Muddy Buddy and let the kids simply…be kids. Don’t forget that puddle jumping isn’t just for the kids. Maybe it’s just me, but there is something epic about driving your car through those big puddles in the spring (assuming there are no pedestrians nearby). Jumping in puddles is the kid version of driving your car through the puddles. Don’t be afraid to let go and get a little dirty with the kids to make a memory.
Playground Hopping: When we were in our 20’s you may have done something called “Bar hopping.” You would go from one establishment to another establishment enjoying a beverage at each place. Now that you’re a Mom hopping events may look a bit different, but we can guarantee the little ones in your life will LOVE a day of playground hopping. Start your day with a few parks in mind that you would like to check out, but I encourage you to be flexible in your plans. Take into account bathroom breaks and snack breaks when you plan your playground hopping day. I love playground hopping because the kids are having a blast, and I can sit and enjoy a guilt free iced coffee, work on my latest blog or even chat with a Mom Friend. If your kids are old enough to climb around on the park on their own, don’t feel you have to hover constantly and entertain them on the playground. There is no shame in letting your kids play and climb with other kids. It’s ok to enjoy a few minutes on a park bench by yourself to refresh and recharge. Somehow we survived playing at the park without our parents constantly hovering over our every move. I know letting kids play independently can be difficult, but I promise you will thank me later.
Carwash: Whether you carefully packed up all of the kids outdoor toys in the fall or you are more like me and you tend to procrastinate until they are buried in two feet of snow. It’s a good idea to clean everything up in the spring with a good wash. This can be such a fun activity for the kids and an added bonus…things get washed off. Create an outdoor bike and toy carwash in your yard and I’ll bet the kids will quickly wash everything in sight. Warning…this will 110% result in wet and dirty clothes for everyone involved, I suggest not wearing your favorite outfits to the carwash.
Explore: Getting your family active outdoors this spring doesn’t have to be complicated. Head to your local pond for a walk and while you’re there hunt for rocks to paint. Feed the ducks at a local pond; and don’t forget to watch for baby ducks. I have found simply walking and playing a classic game of I Spy can make for a fun afternoon adventure. If your kids are at an age where they don’t love nature walks you can make your adventure a two part event (one part hiking and one part ice cream).
Think Outside The Box: Sometimes the best ideas are just a variation of things we already do. If your kids like to play board games regularly, don’t be afraid to take board game outdoors. If you planned on grabbing fast food for lunch, skip eating in the car and have an impromptu picnic in the park. My kids absolutely love to play with things like play dough and I just happen to be one of the Mamas who can’t stand play dough. Do I make homemade play dough regularly? Yes I do. Do I cringe every time I’m cleaning up play dough pieces around my house? Absolutely I do. If you are like me and the mess of play dough or kinetic sand drives you bonkers, plan a day to take these activities outdoors. Throw down an old sheet or tablecloth that you don’t care about and let the kids go to town. The best adventures really can come from simply taking the things we already enjoy and spicing it up a bit.
Fashion Show: As a Mom of four kids, the changing of seasons also signals the dreaded need for new clothing. My kid’s growth spurts are unbelievable and I feel lately that I’m lucky if we get six months in a particular size bracket. One great way to inventory your kid’s spring and summer wardrobe is to have a fashion show. Grab the bin of sundresses, tank tops, shorts and bathing suits and set up a fun runway outdoors. The kids can dress in their room and come model their outfits for you. This activity is practical for Mom’s in planning for new items and the kids will love modeling outfits on the runway.
Dance: Our family loves to dance. There is never a shortage of Sunday evening kitchen dance parties or bedroom musical numbers. Dance parties don’t have to be limited to the four walls of your house. Grab your Bluetooth speaker and take the dance party outdoors. A sudden rain storm hits, surprise the kids by heading outdoors to dance in the rain. I have always found something magical about twirling around in the rain with my umbrella.
Get Involved: Plan a day to clean up a local park as a family. Taking the opportunity to teach our kids about taking care of our planet, and being responsible is an excellent way to get outdoors and do something helpful for your community. Don’t forget to grab some gloves, wear your old clothes and bring along some trash bags. Depending on the age of your kids, this activity may not necessarily be welcomed. Let’s be honest most ten year old kids would much rather be doing absolutely anything other than picking up garbage. I suggest that if you know going into this activity you’re going to face serious whining from the kids, turn the activity into a contest with a prize at the end (i.e. ice cream- this seems to be a common reward or celebration in our house).
Get Crafty: You don’t have to be a DIY queen to have fun crafting and getting creative with your kids. Sometimes the simplest crafts and activities go over the best with the kids. On one of your nature walks see if you can find a large branch that has fallen off of a tree over the winter months. Bring the branch home and bring the craft paints outdoors. Let the kids go crazy painting the branch colorful. Another easy and affordable spring craft is painting flower pots with your kids. You can purchase everything you need at the Dollarama and you can even use these creative creations in June as teacher gifts. Once you have your brightly painted flower pots, you can plant something simple for the kids to help take care of daily. Pop a cute tag on the flower pot at the end of the school year that says something like “Thank you for helping me grow this year. I helped grow this for you.” Kids crafting projects don’t have to be art gallery worthy, focus on the memory and the process rather than the fancy end result. I think as parents we often over think everything, we think we need to plan 50 step craft projects for our kids. In the end, paint and a big piece of paper can often entertain just as well (if not better) than the elaborate over the top crafts.
Look It’s A Plane: My kids are always looking to the sky to point out planes, jets or helicopters. We all know there is an app for EVERYTHING these days and sure enough there is a free plane radar app you can download. The app is called Flight Radar 24 and through the free version of the app you can watch planes on the radar map as they move over your house location. My husband introduced me to this app last weekend and I quickly downloaded it to give it a whirl. I can’t wait to do some serious countdowns with the kids as we watch for incoming airplanes on the gorgeous days outdoors.
I hope that my list gives you some inspiration for some new and exciting activities to try as a family. This list is so short compared to the endless adventures you can plan without even blowing the budget. If parenting has taught me anything, it’s that you don’t have to spend a lot to making amazing memories. Make it your goal this spring season to spend less and adventure more.