Winter is a beautiful season, especially because the magic of Christmas and the excitement of the New Year are thrown into the mix. But aren’t you looking forward to spring by now? You may already have your own traditional springtime activities, but in case you’re looking for some fresh inspiration, why not try some of these:
1. Go for a walk in the countryside.
Have a careful look around you as you walk through the extra-bright-green greenery. Smell the air. Isn’t it wonderful how everything is waking up and bursting into life? As you stroll, you might like to speak with your children about life cycles, about why trees lose their leaves in the winter, or about why some animals hibernate and certain birds migrate to warmer climates.
2. Find some spring flowers and breathe-in their lovely perfume.
Bashful snowdrops, delicate crocuses, heavily-scented lilies-of-the-valley, brightly-coloured pansies, sunny daffodils… Which other spring flowers do you know, and have you seen any of them popping-up yet? Quite soon you might spot daisies appearing – have you ever tried tasting one? You can actually use daisy petals to garnish your soup!
3. Grow cress.
It’s so green in the countryside now, isn’t it? Why not perform a little magic and bring some of that bright spring greenery into your home? Just scatter a little cress seed into a pot of soil and keep it damp, or make a ‘cress head’ out of an old stocking – the sprouting cress looks like hair, and children love trimming it! Cress takes just long enough to sprout for children to learn that natural processes take time, without getting bored to death while waiting for the first green leaf to appear.
4. Dye some eggs for Easter.
You can do this surprisingly simply and cheaply – all you’ll need in order to give your boiled or blown-out eggs a cheerful Easter makeover is some onion skins or a little bit of turmeric. And don’t forget to speak with each other while you work: what better time to have a conversation about Easter traditions? It doesn’t matter if you’re not Christian – Easter traditions are interesting for all, and are as integral to our culture as the Christmas ones.
5. Visit a farm.
Spring is the best time of year to visit a nearby farm (including a city farm). If you’re lucky, you might catch sight of some of this year’s newborn creatures frolicking about. Find out what fresh milk tastes like, and don’t forget to give that mischievous little goat-kid a scratch behind the ears!
6. Make an egg sandwich with a sprinkle of greenery.
You’ve probably gathered plenty of pretty boiled eggs and cress by now, so why not spread some butter onto a piece of bread, add a few slices of egg, and garnish it with a sprinkle of cress, or, if you prefer, chopped chives… Even children who normally protest when there’s anything green on their plate are bound to lick their lips and gobble it up!
7. Cook-up a feast of nettles.
Did your grandmother ever mention to you that nettles are edible? And have you ever tried nettles? Why not pick a few sprigs with your children and add them to some stuffing, or make soup or a cup of tea with them? Nettles are a superfood, so you'll feel invincible afterwards!
8. Bake a batch of Hot Cross Buns.
Don’t forget to add plenty of currants to the dough, and if you have an orange handy, why not add some zest for extra zing?! While you’re busy preparing these sweet buns, have a chat about why they are traditionally made during the week before Easter.
9. Be on the lookout for a decorated village well.
You may or may not have heard of the old tradition of decorating a village well. This is still practised in late-spring in some regions. Have a look around your village or a nearby village, or keep an eye out for a fancy-looking well next time you’re out walking through the countryside. You never know, someone might have decorated it with things like flowers and moss! If they haven’t, you could always have a go yourself.
10. Play a game of marbles.
Marbles used to be an extremely common pastime, but these days many children never have a chance to play it. See if you can get hold of a set of marbles and try your hand at it! If you don’t know the rules, you’ll quickly find the instructions on the internet.
11. Make a May Day garland.
There are so many pretty, sweet-smelling flowers blossoming in the spring that you'll be spoilt for choice. To make a garland, all you need is a bit of wire or some bendy twigs on which to attach and interweave the flowers you’ve picked. You can make your composition into a table decoration, a wreath for your front door, a headdress, or anything else that takes your fancy! Some people even use the garlands to decorate their bicycle baskets.
12. Read a story.
When the April Showers arrive and it’s wet and windy outside, or perhaps when you return home from your bracing country walk, make yourselves cosy with a hot cup of tea or cocoa, and read a story together – you can select one about springtime or Easter or animals, or whatever happens to fit your mood.