Spring offers fun opportunities to explore nature with little ones and to celebrate the season. Here are a few activities to try in your family:
Spot the Flowers
I made up a car game that I played with my children in the early spring. Its rules were simple: Whoever saw a flower (or a clump of flowers) got a point, but when a sibling spotted a trash can, that child caused the flower spotter to "throw away" all her points. Even now, my grown children always notice when flowers start blooming.
—Harriet E. Michael
Pre-Mother's Day & Pre-Father's Day
My husband and I started a celebration when my oldest child was 5. On the day before Mother's Day, our girl (and on the day before Father's Day, our boys) received breakfast in bed and a nice card with our thoughts, encouragement and prayers for their future. Sometimes we also gave them an inexpensive gift. It helped them look forward to their adult years, when they would be parents. The celebration had an unexpected side effect: training our children to understand how my husband and I would like to be treated on our special days.
Whispering the Good News
As our pastor told the Good Friday story, my 3-year-old son, Josiah, sat on the floor, pretending the chair in front of him was a car. I sat him on my lap and began doodling on the back of the bulletin. I drew Jesus (a stick figure) hanging on the Cross.
I whispered the story as I drew: "They put a nail in His hand." I tapped my pencil point into the center of Jesus' stick figure hand three times. "Then they put a nail in the other hand." Tap. Tap. Tap.
I drew a simple tomb and whispered that Jesus was buried and then came back to life on the third day. I drew an angel and a smiling Mary Magdalene.
"Can you draw Jesus again, Mommy?" Josiah asked.
I drew it a few more times, the same simple, yet beautiful story told with the same simple sketches.
Two weeks later, Jesus' death came up in conversation. Josiah interrupted to loudly exclaim, "They put nails in his hands!"
Teaching God's Word to our little ones is as easy as a few stick figures and simple whispers.
Summer Sneak Peek
I help my kids ward off spring fever using "summer sneak peeks" — short activities that our family normally does in summer. The activities might be a trip to the zoo, an evening wading in the creek or a camp-out in the backyard.
I tell my children that I'm planning a summer sneak peek and mark the day on the calendar. Their anticipation is key. When they start to itch for summer, I remind them that a glimpse of it is on the way.