It’s SPRING!!!! The sun has returned, the air is warming up and all of a sudden the puddles, parks, and picnics are calling. Are you ready?? If you are like our family – there is lots of begging for outside fun as soon as the days get a little longer. Here are a few tips to make those spring days out and about a little easier.
Put the Coats & Mittens in Storage
The weather in spring is as unpredictable as a toddler with a Go-gurt. That changeable weather can wreak havoc on even the most responsible child’s ability to keep up with their winter wear – coats that are needed in the morning are shed and forgotten in cubbies, backseats and park benches everywhere by the afternoon. As soon as the days start warming up, put away the winter wear. Nobody is going to get frostbite in April, and in October when you’re trying to find coats and gloves, you will thank me.
There is no sanity saver like a good pair of boots. April showers are wonderous fun….until your kid shows up with an inch of mud on their best sneakers. Boots are great. They foster independence because there are no pesky laces to tie (even my one-year-old can put on a pair of boots by herself). They are warmer than sandals and can be worn with or without socks. They allow for great freedom outside as kids can tromp around in any condition and they save you, as the parent, from reminding kids constantly to stay out of the mud. Children and boots: they are both made to get muddy! (Plus – you can clean them off in the hose and set them in the sun to dry – both children and boots!)
Be Prepared for Scrapes and Cuts
Getting back outside inevitably means boo-boos as children stretch their spring legs. It is a good time for moms to brush up on their first aid skills and to carry a simple first aid kit in the car. A band-aid or an instant ice-pack tucked away can save a playground playdate.
Snack Time is Any Time
It is also a good time of year to keep some non-perishable snacks and water bottles in the car. Our go-to snacks are pretzels and raisins. They don’t melt in the heat and can tide over even my growing tweener. Another easy stash is peanut butter and crackers with some disposable silverware. Having a little cooler of goodies can save money at the drive-thrus (or leave money for ice cream instead of hamburgers) and keep the play going a little longer!
Towels and Potty Stops
In the spring, don’t leave home without throwing a couple of towels in the car. They are perfect for drying off creek-walking feet, saving a “water bottle incident” or subbing as a picnic blanket for impromptu stops. They can also be a sun shield if draped over a bench or stroller or save a car seat from dirty bottoms.
Speaking of bottoms….occasionally, kids are hitting the parks before public restrooms have been opened for the season. Parents can be strategic about making sure kids stop and use the restroom before they play, but carrying a little travel potty, a change of clothes and/or some plastic bags for emergencies can help save the day.
Spring Gear is a Go
And last but not least….spring is a great time to update your bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and butterfly nets. Keep a bag in the car packed with outside fun. I like to travel with magnifying glasses, binoculars and nature identification books. (I know, there’s probably an app for that, but I’m old school.) I also like to keep a few sandwich bags to hold those child-gathered treasures. (After a few hundred rocks rolling around the mini-van, you learn to adapt.) We also love to tote around our skates and scooters in the spring in case we have a few minutes to stretch our legs on a trail or at a skate park. Having a few supplies in the car can turn any outdoor space into outdoor fun.