April 4, 2016

Dreaming of Outdoor Playtime


It's snowing today.  It's April 4th, Opening Day for the Red Sox, and it's snowing in New England. This is not okay. I want to be outside with my kids, gardening, doing yard work, swinging on our swing set, and having picnics. While my kids and I will most likely be playing in the snow this afternoon, The Genius of Play, a national movement with a mission to give families the information and inspiration needed to make play an important part of every child’s life, is sharing their top 5 play ideas to get out and play regardless of the weather!

It’s important to remember that play is so much more than fun and games- it provides children with the essential tools needed to interact positively with others, manage emotions, make sense of the world around them, and grow up to be happy and successful adults!

Go On a Picnic
When Spring brings gorgeous sunny days, enjoy them with your family by planning an afternoon picnic! Have you kids join in on the fun by helping to create and pack up the meal with you (think easy treats like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apples!). If spring showers come your way, hold a picnic inside! Just spread a blanket on the floor and enjoy a family meal in your own living room.

Doodle with the Leaves 
Collect and use the various leaf species in your neighborhood to create one-of-a-kind leaf "doodles.” Look up the leaf varieties you find, in a book or on line, and figure out whether your leaves' parents are oaks, maples, ash, etc. Lightly glue your leaves down on a blank piece of craft paper and using pencils, markers, or even chalk, see what you can transform your tree leaves into.

Go Puddle Jumping!
Rain, rain go away? We don’t think so! Soak up the the spring showers, put on your rain boots and go jump in those muddy puddles! You can even create a puddle jumping game at your local park or in your own backyard! See how many puddles you can jump in to, to get to the slide, to the bench, to the path, etc.

Start a Spring Garden
Spring is the perfect time for gardening- the soil warms up and the days grow longer. Take advantage of these perfect conditions by planting some beatiful flowers in your backyard, and watch your garden grow! If you do not have access to a backyard, you can create your own planter in a small container and decorate (use a soup can, pencil holder, etc.). Pick flowers and plants that are in season such sunflowers, wildflowers, strawberries and sugar snap peas.

Camp Out! 
Pitch a tent in your backyard, set-up you sleeping bags, and get ready to spend the night under the stars! Once you have settled in for the night, read ghost stories, make s’mores (the microwave version is OK!), bring a flashlight and create shapes on the tent walls, or event play charades against your fellow campers. And don’t forget to bring a midnight treat to keep the fun going!

I seriously can't wiat for it to be nicer out, read: not snowing, so we can get out and have fun some fun, but I think tonight we'll end up having a dinner picnic fort or a "camping night" in our living room!

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