Ahhhhh…. lovely Spring Time. One of my favorite times of the year. After a long dreary winter, there is nothing better than that first day of beautiful sunshine. It boosts everyone’s spirits, and drives us all outdoors…. Eager for some fresh air and sun. You may even start pulling out your hiking boots, lawn mower, outdoor grill, bicycles, or your new running shoes. Whatever you like to do, I think we all agree that this is the great motivator. We also start planning big adventures or weekend getaways… Anything to get out of the house!
You may also, like me, get carried away with spending money. From Easter to the 4th of July, I have a tendency to over do. Buying everyone in the family: new clothes, new shoes, new outdoor games and toys. New pool, bubble machine, sidewalk chalk, sprinklers to run through…. Well, basically, anything that I see in a store. Without another income this year, that is not going to be possible. Which is probably a good thing. But then, what are we going to do? Here are some of my favorite activities to do with the kids…. without breaking the bank account.
- Go for a walk – One of the most basic activities that is doable and fun for everybody. This can be as simple as strolling through your own neighborhood, or driving to a park that has trails you can explore. My kids get a huge kick out of walking through our neighborhood and trying to keep track of how many animals they see… We live in the country, so this can be a fun challenge. On last count: 6 horses, 8 cows, 3 cats, 10 dogs, 9 chickens, 1 rooster, 4 ducks, 1 rabbit, and a pot-bellied pig!! What’s not fun about that?
- Go on a picnic – Pack up some sandwiches, chips, bottles of water, or juice, and you are all set for a great time. And, there are so many places you can go, depending on where you live: Your own backyard, a local park, creek, river, lake, State Park, a friend’s house, or a National Park. Any option is perfect.
- Go for a hike – This is one of my favorite activities to do with the kids… or without! Throw some drinks and snacks into a backpack, put on your hiking boots, and you can go anywhere! I would recommend picking a spot before hand. That way you can check the difficulty of the trail and whether or not it is kid friendly. Start with something relatively easy the first few times that you go and see what your children’s abilities and endurance is like. Then you can adjust as needed.
- Do yard work – Yes, yard work. I am always amazed at how much fun my kids have working in the yard. What seems like such a daunting task to us adults, is actually really fun for them. My 7-year-old and I have had some great times pulling up weeds together and he is a great helper! You could take this even further and plant a garden with your kids. If you have the space and time, they will love watching their plants grow and flourish… Plus your family will benefit from all the fresh vegetables!
- Spring cleaning – The garage, closets, toy boxes, ALL of it. We all feel like we have too much clutter in our homes, or can never find something when we need it. This is a great way to get things reorganized around the house and get rid of several things you no longer need. Kids love helping and there are a lot of memories that are stashed away in boxes! They enjoy hearing stories about when they were babies or their favorite toy when they were 2. We always make a donation pile as well, and we take all their old toys and clothes to Goodwill, which we all feel good about after!
So get out there and do something fun with your kids! AND…. if you live in a place like I do, there is a good chance that one day of sunshine will be followed by a week or two of rain. Don’t let that drag you back down into the hibernation blues. Take an umbrella and go out in the rain! But if you have to stay inside? Well, a picnic on the playroom floor can turn into a lovely tea party or a lunch date doomed by the invasion of Godzilla!!! The point is, get yourself and your kids off the phones, tablets, Playstation, whatever, and spend time as a family. You will be glad you did…. and so will they!