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Earth Day is right around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than soaking up a warm breeze and the sunlight.
I have seen immense benefits from allowing my children to explore the outdoors. They play better together, burn off more energy and sleep sounder during their naps and at night. It is amazing what some fresh air will do for a baby and toddler.
But this can also pose a challenge when you have to swap out toys, clothes, and even garage space that have been filled with winter items.
When the warm weather begins to stick around, I dive right on into spring cleaning and all that that entails. Everything "winter" gets put away and sorted.
Here is a tip: if you can save any clothes to pass on to an upcoming sibling, do so now. And for the last child of your family, this is a good time to make a pile to donate or pass along to another family.
What else does transitioning from indoor to outdoor play for spring entail? Here is my time-tested advice:
I have containers for storing what I think of as seasonal toys; I put away the kids' winter toys and get out their spring recreational toys.
For instance: puzzles, building blocks, train tracks, doll houses, pots and pans, and anything that takes time to set up and keep up for days on end goes away for a few months.
Now is also a good time to transition toys that your baby or toddler has grown out of. Add them to your donation pile as well.
Arts & Crafts
Things like play-doh, paints, crayons, markers and craft supplies get stored, separated, and saved for use on a rainy day. But for the most part, we try and make the great outdoors our canvas.
I get out the balls, squirt bottles, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, sand/dirt toys, Tonka trucks, bug-catchers, and kites...basically anything that can be used outside. Then we transition to outdoor play!
If you live in the city, there are plenty of ways to get outdoors and let your kids experience the fresh air; take them to local parks, a nearby zoo or animal sanctuary. The key is to expose them to the elements of nature.
When you are at a park, take time to let your baby stop and smell the roses, or even the bark chips under the play structure! Let them touch the trees and roll in the grass. When it is warm, let them go barefoot in the sod and soil. They will enjoy it.
Explore Your Surroundings
If you are able, take them on a wilderness walk and let them out of the backpack or carrier so they can experience their surroundings. Children so relish splashing in streams and lakes, any body of water really.
Pick the leaves off the trees and let your child touch and feel them, talking about the shape and color. Grab a pine cone and let them feel the difference between that and holding a rock or stick.
Let the world they live in be your baby's teacher and your toddler's friend this spring. The earth is their playground this Earth Day and every day.
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