3 Ways to Celebrate Spring With Your Toddler

What's the last time you got crafty?

After many months of being cooped up inside with a little one, the sun is finally shining, the days are getting ever-so-slightly longer, the birds are chirping, and the snow is melting. Both parents and toddlers are itching to get outside at the first sign of spring. And there's no reason to wait. Here are three easy ways to get your toddler into the spirit of spring:

Get Your Garden Started

Happy little girl in flower blossoming garden
Kristen Curette/Stocksy United

Dirt and seeds are one of the easiest (and most fun) ways to welcome the sunshine and warmer temperatures. Toddlers naturally gravitate toward flowers and other plants, so get them involved with planting seedlings and have them tend to an edible garden of their very own. It's also a great sensory and educational activity. You'll need: 

  • a bag of potting soil
  • a shallow, plastic tub
  • seeds (basil and other herbs are easy to grow and work well) 
  • a watering can
  • plant cards, so you remember which herb is which

You'll want to keep your garden inside, near a sunny spot by a window until the last freeze of the year (what month that is will vary with your location). Every day, check on the seeds. It won't be long before they will begin to spout and your toddler will be amazed. Make it a learning experience: Talk about how things grow, name colors, and care for the plants together.

Build a Bird Feeder

After a long winter, the birds are chirping again. Get your toddler interested in these feathered friends with a simple activity – building a bird feeder.

All you need is a loaf of stale bread, some peanut butter (or sun butter if peanut allergies are a concern), and a bag of birdseed. If your toddler is old enough, let him or her spread the peanut butter or sun butter with a plastic knife (under your watchful eye, of course). Then, dip the peanut butter-covered side in bird seed. Punch a small hole in the bread, add a ribbon, and hang the bread on a low tree branch where your toddler can get a good view of the birds that come by for a snack. You can make this experience even more educational by naming the types of birds you see (or looking up the birds together if you don't know). 

Take a Hike

If your toddler is steady on his or her feet, there’s no reason why you can’t take them out on an age-appropriate hiking trail. In fact, spring may be the best time to go hiking with your little one because temperatures are still mild, which lessens the risk involved with dehydration or overheating.

Not sure how to find trails that are short enough and flat enough for you and your toddler? Ask other parents if they have recommendations  in the area or venture out on your own to test a trail before bringing your child. Trails should also be marked with mileage as well as level of difficulty – choose something easy and short. You can check the Sierra Club for a list of trails near you.

In general, you’re going to want to find something short, but work up to a mile with your 2-year-old or older toddler. Most toddlers function best in the morning, so go early, be sure to bring plenty of snacks and water, and be prepared to stop and explore. If you're not sure if your toddler can make the whole way, invest in a back carrier made especially for hiking. 

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