Little by little the days are getting long, lighter, maybe even warmer… Green shoots are pushing up through the earth and there are the first flowers of the year, snowdrops and crocuses dazzling us with their beauty. Spring is coming!
If, like me, you find winter especially hard, being stuck indoors much of the time and it being dark and miserable so much, then you might be as excited as I am to see spring coming. After a couple of very hard years for us all, we need a bit of cheering up and we all hope that this year might be the year that life can return to normal in so many ways.
Our children will be feeling the same way too, and we know that a bit of sunshine, fresh air, and natural beauty can lift all of our spirits. So, here’s 10 ideas that might help as you try to get your children out into nature again!
- You can find nature everywhere
You don’t have to live in the country to get close to nature. Look for your local park, or if you or a family member or friend have a garden then you can get up close and personal with nature there! Even a window box can be packed with beauty and life.
- What can you see?
Look together for how many different flowers you can spot, and how many different types of bird. What else can you find, are there insects out and about? Catkins in some of the trees? Look up at the clouds in the sky, what shapes can you see? Maybe take some photos.
- Embrace the mud!
Accept that it’s going to be messy when they get out there. Tog them up wellies and older clothes so that it doesn’t matter if they get mucky… we know they will… but give them the freedom to explore without worrying about them getting filthy! If they’ve got waterproofs use those and encourage them to splash in the puddles!
- Get whatever exercise you all can
Depending on the special needs of your children, use the opportunity of being outside to get some exercise. Maybe your local park has a children’s play area that you could visit, or some safe trees to climb. Perhaps you could take a ball to kick or throw. Or just walk or roll around the paths, enjoying the feeling of space from being outside in nature.
Take a moment while your children are exploring to just stop and breathe. Take in a lungful of fresh air and slowly let it out. Feel some of the stresses and strains of the winter diminishing as you focus on your breathing. When was the last time you did that… good to do isn’t it!
- Look forward
Spring is a time of hope and expectation; what are you looking forward to this year? While you are still out in the fresh air and your mood is lifted, what plans can you start to make, what might you think about changing this year? As you see the flowers opening up, feel the opportunities opening up inside of you too. Commit to making this a great year for you and your family.
- Bring a little spring indoors
Now there are rules about not picking wildflowers, but if you’ve got some snowdrops or crocus flowers in the garden why not pick some and bring them indoors to brighten up your living space? And if you pick the flowers, sometimes it encourages the plant to produce more!
- Create a natural fiddles box
What items could you collect to make a natural spring fiddles/fidget box? Here’s an article I wrote about a natural autumn fiddles/fidget box, perhaps you could adapt some ideas and make a spring one! https://theadditionalneedsblogfather.com/2021/11/21/autumn-fiddles-box/
- Remember what you did and saw
Make memories of what you did and saw, take photos that you can look at again. On a showery day when you’re all stuck back indoors again, get the paints or colouring pens out and get your children painting or drawing what they did when you went out, and remembering what they saw. Are they excited about going out again?
- Have adventures outdoors with friends
If you had fun exploring outdoors together, why not meet up with some friends next time and do it together? Sharing the fun is great to do! And maybe you have friends that live near somewhere new that you haven’t explored yet! There are more adventures waiting for you!
I hope these ideas help you to enjoy the springtime with your family, as well as getting some benefit from it yourselves. Let this spring put a ‘spring’ in your step!
Looking For Light In The Darkness