Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids: Trees and Spring

Fresh spring air, blooming flowers, busy wildlife, and bright soft grass make a wonderful playground for children - but convincing kids to get a nice healthy dose of the outdoors each day is a whole different story! Despite the enticing indoor entertainment options available to today’s youth, there remain plenty of great outdoor ideas that can only be enjoyed once a year: during the beautiful season in which life awakens!

1. Flowerblossom Flipbook

Flipbooks are collections of pictures that, when flipped through rapidly, produce the illusion of an animated picture. There are two ways to tie this fun little project in with springtime environmental education. One involves technology: youngsters may be supervised with a camera, taking one picture of the same emerging tree bud or flower blossom each day. With a little editing and cropping by mom or dad, the flipbook will look fantastic.

An alternative (since cameras are not toys!) can be to show children how to sketch out the bud or blossom each day to the same effect. Not only will a curious young mind learn about a crucial function of plant life, but the neat little keepsake will delight family members and friends.

2. Spring Scavenger Hunt

Do you know anything about the native plants and wildlife in your backyard? Send energy-packed kids outside with an illustrated list of natural objects to find. This may include objects that can be gathered or even immovable items that can be noted by location. Some good ideas for a scavenger list may be: species-specific seed pods, leafs of different sizes, beneficial insect hideouts, and any other safe objects that are native to the ecosystem of your yard. This is the perfect chance to open a dialogue about how all organic matter, living or dead, plays a specific role in the life cycle of the environment.

3. Plant a Tree

Parents who have never successfully planted a tree before may find this experience will be educational for all involved. Not only is the choice of species extremely important, but so are the location and surrounding objects. The family’s need for shade or wind block may also play a role here. While children may not be able to be involved in the grunt work, there are still many choices and small tasks associated with planting a tree that any kid would be proud to be a part of.

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