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Break away with the kids for spring outdoor activities

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Kid spying wildlife through binoculars

Make spring break fun for you and the kids with a scavenger hunt for such things as deer or
birds.

By Sue Cummings, Office of Conservation Education, U.S. Forest Service


Spring is here, and spring break is just around the corner or already underway. For parents everywhere trying to figure out how to keep their children amused, the answer can be simple: Get them outside!

Spring is a great time to watch birds collect materials to build nests or to check out the buds as trees and shrubs begin to bloom and leaf out. It’s also a time to see those early blooms that often lay soft carpets of color across the landscape.


Observation skills are important for school and life, so devise an outdoor scavenger hunt. Make a list of things they might find at a park or in a forest near you.  Be specific about the type of tree or the shape of leaf they should find. Or be more general and encourage them to find coniferous trees (those with cones) or deciduous trees (those with flat leaves).  With potential wildlife sightings, the hunt could include squirrels, birds, deer, ants or moths. Or have them get up close and personal with a bug.

 

For a younger child use this time to explore shapes and colors in nature.


kid taking pictures

Let children get close to nature. A little dirt can be washed away.

And help children learn to respect the outdoors by “collecting” their finds on a digital camera or drawing them in a journal. Let the found items stay outdoors for others to find and enjoy.


Just getting children outside in nature gives them a chance to run, jump and play without being confined by a room or locked onto electronics.  Let them get dirty while they are exploring. Children and clothes can be washed.

 

Nature is a great place to use all your senses.  Show children how they can feel the wind on their skin; see the wind move the leaves or branches of a tree; hear the wind through the trees; smell the flowers because the wind is bringing the scent to them.  Since wind really doesn’t have a certain taste; ask your kids to use their imaginations and tell you what they believe the wind tastes like.

 

An added bonus: While they are enjoying the outdoors, so can you.

discovering worms

Learning about the ecosystem and how everything is connected is a
fun way to connect children to the outdoors. Donít know all the
answers? Make research part of your adventure.


Find more things to do outside at Discover the Forest or at Forest Service’s Conservation Education.

 

Related Content:

US Forest Service
Last modified March 20, 2013
http://www.fs.fed.us

[graphic] USDA logo, which links to the department's national site. [graphic] Forest Service logo, which links to the agency's national site. [graphic] A link to the US Forest Service home page.