To spring means to move or jump suddenly or rapidly upward and forward, so it’s only appropriate for New Jammies kids to get out and get some exercise this month. Enter Spring, and Earth Day on April 22, and the chance to establish an active lifestyle while celebrating Mother Earth.
“Regular exercise in nature is proven to improve children’s physical and mental health. Outdoor activity helps kids maintain a healthy weight, boosts their immunity and bone health, and lowers stress,” says letsmove.gov, a government initiative to raise a healthier generation of kids.
“Kids need at least 60 minutes of active and vigorous play each day to stay healthy, and one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to meet this goal is by playing outside. By linking parents to nearby parks, trails and waters – and providing tips and ideas – Let’s Move! Outside can help families develop a more active lifestyle.”
Let’s Move! Outside was created to get kids and families to take advantage of America’s great outdoors. Earth Day and Spring are the perfect moments to try some new games and activities outside with the kids, including biking.
“Biking is a fun, family-friendly activity that can help improve endurance and balance,” says letsmove.org. “Use your bike as a means of ‘active transport’ to get places faster while also getting healthier. Explore your community by bike with your family and get everyone active.”
Walking and hiking around, exploring the outdoors, and collecting found items while learning about science can also be great springtime activities for the kids.
“Traveling by foot is a fun, easy and affordable way to get moving and get outside. From a walk around the block to a mountain hike — there are a lot of new places to explore,” says letsmove.org. “Activities like hiking and walking have been shown to improve cardiovascular health and build stronger bones. Stay healthy by making physical activity a part of your family’s routine.”
On PBS.org, PBS Kids encourages children to turn off electronics and play, offering a variety of games to play outdoors. One includes Clothespin Tag, a game submitted by Craig of Moultonborough, New Hampshire. Here are the fun and easy rules:
• Keep your clothespin to win.
• This game is for 5 or more players and should be played outside or in an open area.
• To play, you need one clothespin for each player.
• Clip a clothespin to the back of your shirt. On the word “Go!,” try to steal the other players’ clothespins without letting anyone get your clothespin.
• When your clothespin is taken or falls off, you’re out.
• The last player with a clothespin wins.
Another creative game to encourage imagination outdoors is Snake in the Grass, sent in by Alexis of Texas:
A slithery game of tag, this game is for 4 or more players and should be played in an open area.
• To play, mark off an area to be your playing field.
• One player is the snake. That person has to crawl around and move like a snake.
• The snake tries to tag the other players, who run around trying to stay away from the snake.
• If the snake tags you, then you become a snake, too. (That means you have to move like a snake and try to tag the other players!)
• Snakes and runners are not allowed to go outside the playing area.
• The last runner left is the winner.
This game challenges the mind and stimulates imagination as well, and can be played indoors if the spring weather turns to rain or cold:
Casting Call, sent in by Lyndsay of Blythe, California
If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. To play, you’ll need at least 3 people.
• Pick one person to be the director.
• The game is played like Simon Says. The director tells the other players what to do.
• Instead of saying, “Simon Says,” the director will say, “Action!”
• The other players will only stop when the director says, “Cut!”
• If the director says, “Act like a chicken, NOW!” and a player acts like a chicken, he’s out because the director didn’t say, “Action!”
• The last person left in the game gets to be the director in the next round.
Lastly, from allfreekidscrafts.com, these activities are perfect for Earth Day, Earth Month and all year long:
Your kids can learn how to grow grass in a jar with this craft idea for kids. A great spring craft idea for all ages, you and your little ones can use these Mini Mason Jar Grass Heads to celebrate the coming of spring or to celebrate Earth Day. This easy kids’ craft also doubles as a cool science project idea. This recycled craft is budget-friendly because it gives you the chance to reuse empty baby food jars, and it does not require too many crafting supplies. Your kids can use whatever materials they wish to create their funky and fun jar faces. Each jar turns out with its own, unique personality!
Materials: Nature Crafts, Recycled Crafts, Mixed Media/Miscellaneous
Age Group: Preschool & Kindergarten, Elementary School
Homemade Chalk Paint Adventure Trail
“Sidewalk chalk paint is a great way to enjoy these cooler summer days (when you dont melt every time you step outside) and is a fun twist on your typical outdoor chalk. Take it a step farther by letting your little one take you on an Adventure Trail that they create. By letting your toddler or preschooler lead the way, you both are sure to go on a grand adventure. And when you are ready to head back? Just follow your trail home!”
What you’ll need:
• 1/4 cup of corn starch
• 1/4 cup of water
• Fold coloring
• Container with a tight-fitting lid
• (Optional) Bucket
Age Group: Toddlers, Preschool & Kindergarten
• Pour the 1/3-1/2 cup of water into a container.
• Add 1/4 cup of corn starch to the water.
• Add a few drops of food coloring, making it as light or dark as you would like.
(Psst – we tried this with washable tempera paint too, but found that the tempera-colored sidewalk paint didn’t wash away easily, so we suggest that you stick with food coloring. If you are concerned about staining, use just a little bit of food coloring – your paint will be more pastel, but will easily wash away.)
• Shake it up and paint!