Stick It and Stack It
Though Mom Sarah of Imagine Childhood came up with this clever "Stick Stacks" game for summer, we think it'd be just as fun for spring days filled with t-shirt weather and plenty of outdoor play!
To make your own Jenga-esque "Stick Stack" game, simply gather up some backyard sticks and some crafty odds and ends from around the house that won't be missed after they're painted in bright colors and included in your new handy game sack. Sarah's clan made wooden point tokens that were given for structure placement and they assigned different values for objects ranging from easy to hard. The options for what you can include in your own game and the structures that your little ones can make from them are truly endless! Check out the rest of Sarah's great "Stick Stack" ideas for more tips.
Spring in a Bottle
Preschool teacher Jenny of Let the Children Play came up with this fun idea for making a "bottle full of spring" — and we have no doubt that your little ones will find some blossoming treasures!
To make your own jar or bottle of blooming spring goodies, simply head outside for a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt! Even if you are just making daisy chains or searching for four-leaf clovers, you're bound to have plenty of outdoor fun and memories in the making.
Dad Joel of the ever-amazing craft blog Made By Joel features this fun idea for making wooden stilts for toddlers. And, really, nothing beats clomping around the yard on a warm sunny day!
To make your own, you'll need to have rope, wooden blocks, and a drill on hand. Joel chose to make his blocks with 2 x 4 pieces of wood, though he notes that as his little ones get older, he plans on making the blocks a little taller. Be sure to check out his full post for plenty of close-up images of these cool DIY toddler stilts!
Colorful Match Makers
We love seeing the clever ideas out there for using colorful paint chips in crafts — and this DIY outdoor color matching game featured on Inner Childhood Fun is no exception!
Mom Valerie says that this homemade game was an absolute hit with her daughter, as they scouted a nearby park for the various colors and hues included. To get started on your own spring color-matching adventure, simply punch a hole in the corner of your paint chip cards, connect them with a binder ring, and you're all set for a colorful day out!
Beautiful Bird Nests
Susan, the crafty TV news producer turned shepherd behind Juniper Moon Farm, shares this sweet idea for giving her backyard birds a hand with their spring nest-making by setting out colorful yarn.
Saying that it's always a pleasure to see a nearby nest with the bright colors woven in, Susan explains that this activity is an easy one — and we're sure it's plenty exciting to watch the birds choose their colors to adorn their new spring homes! To make your own, simply take an extra suet feeder and fill it up with all of your colorful yarn scraps (Susan cuts hers in 4- to 8-inch lengths). Note: Susan checked in with the experts on this project to make sure that it is safe for birds and it's completely approved; check out her post for more details!
Spring Flowers for All
Mom Amy (of Let's Explore) shares this fun craft activity for making a spring flower accordion collage on Make and Takes — and what a gorgeous idea!
Easy for small hands to create, this project is a great one for younger kids who love to get busy at the art table. To make your own spring collage, you'll want to start with a sturdy piece of light cardboard or poster board for the accordion base, and have glue on hand for adding floral flair. Amy offers up a variety of ideas for materials that can be used on your spring blooms, including pipe cleaners, ribbons, yarn, craft foam, straws, painted popsicle sticks, felt, strips of colorful paper, and much more. Check out the full post for additional ideas and tips on getting started.
Crafty Mama Rachelle of TinkerLab shares this neat afternoon activity for tracing your child's shadow. Perfect for when you're in a pinch and in need of a little outdoor time, this project is simple in premise, yet has plenty of promise for a creative spring day!
Rachelle recommends this activity for low-sun days and says that it provides a great opportunity for children to look at things from a new perspective (a key ingredient in creative thinking, she notes!). And as expected, it's incredibly easy — all that is required is a little bit of sunshine, some colorful sidewalk chalk, and a pint-sized muse who is willing to sit for a shadow portrait. (Butterfly wings are optional, but are always a bonus!)
Sailing the High Seas
We can't get enough of this clever idea for making homemade nut sailboats featured on Crow Roosters Crow! Mom Ariana says that after the squirrels and chipmunks had helped themselves to a nutty backyard feast, there was plenty of shells leftover for crafting — and what better use than to turn them into these sweet little sailors?
To make your own mini tall ships, you'll want to have broken nutshells on hand (hickory nuts and walnuts work well), along with some colorful patterned paper, toothpicks, glue, scissors, and melted wax for keeping your sails posted. Check out Ariana's tutorial for the full scoop — this is one project that's sure to keep your own sailors happy throughout the warm months!
I Am Momma Hear Me Roar Mom Cheri offers up this fun idea for adventuring out on a colorful backyard scavenger hunt. The best part: Cheri admits that this project was incredibly easy to make and that her kids had a blast!
For her older son, Cheri made a color palette with glue dots on each color to keep the day's treasures in place as they explored. For her younger son, she made a nature bracelet out of a strip of paper and tacky line roll so that he could add his own collection of nature finds as they ventured along on their colorful journey. Check out Cheri's full post for a handful of great tips on getting started — and to see the neat finds that her little ones gathered!
Digging for Dinos
Got a couple of young dino lovers at home? Don't miss out on Mom Stacie's excellent idea for making a dinosaur excavation sensory tub, featured on her blog, Motherhood on a Dime. Perfect for a home sandbox or for a sunny day spent on the porch, this activity is easy to put together, and we're sure your young paleontologists will have a blast seeing what they can excavate!
For the "dinosaur" bones, Stacie simply washed some leftover chicken bones and let them dry out for a couple of days. Then, she set the kids loose with paint brushes and tweezers for their big dig. If you have a good amount of sand to work with, consider adding an extra large dog bone (purchased from your local pet shop) — you're sure to get some "oohs and ahs" over that one! Check out the rest of Stacie's post for more tips and a great dinosaur book recommendation.
The World in a Whole New Light
Featured as a part of Skip to My Lou's fun Craft Camp, this homemade kaleidoscope by Little Birdies Secrets' Mandy is sure to be a hit for kids of all ages.
Mandy makes creating this beloved classic toy look downright easy — only a handful of materials are needed, such as wax paper, an empty paper towel tube, shiny jewels and treasures, a rubber band, colorful paper, and plastic wrap. Be sure to check out Mandy's great tutorial to read the full scoop and great tips on getting started!
Mom Jamie of Hands On : As We Grow shares how she and her preschooler made these neat DIY wind chimes with tin cans found in the recycling bin. Talk about upcycling your trash into treasure!
After gathering their cans and lids in different sizes, Jamie taped the edges to prevent cuts, and then let her son get busy adding plenty of paint (and glitter!) to the cans. For hanging and plenty of clanking, they nailed holes into the top and threaded yarn through with washers of various sizes (Jamie notes that rocks or heavy nuts would also work well for sound). Needless to say, this project was a big hit... Or a bang!
Forget ant farms — make a worm farm like these featured on Let the Children Play! After a big rain, teacher Jenny's preschoolers were excited to play with and "rescue" the wriggly earthworms that had surfaced.
Worried that the tots might kill the worms with kindness, Jenny came up with the fantastic idea for creating worm farms using old plastic aquariums. That way, they could continue to watch the worms go about their business while not handling them too roughly — a happy medium for all! To make your own worm farm, Jenny recommends layering sand and soil in your container with the top level as soil. They added food on top (lettuce, egg shells, an orange peel, coffee grinds, and so on) and let their new friends run wild in their fancy new habitat. Not only is this project an excellent way for kids to see how the worms live and move underground, but the worms can later be relocated to your spring garden!
Marvelous Mud Pies
Looking for a way to play "kitchen" outside? Create an outdoor mud pie kitchen like this on shown on Inner Child Fun!
Noting that this fab new outdoor kitchen space only took a couple of minutes to set up, Mom Valerie says that her daughter was busy in the kitchen for hours "baking" mud pies and whipping up a delicious rock soup entreé — all while she got a chance to play in the dirt as well (in her nearby garden)! Valerie adds that she absolutely loves the fact that something as simple as dirt and water can make her daughter so happy — we could not agree more!
Another neat idea for learning about different colors in your backyard, this nature color hunt featured on No Time for Flash Cards is sure to get your child in the mood for some good ol' exploring!
To get started on your own, Mom Allison recommends using a baby food tray for collecting finds; ice cube trays or egg cartons would work just as well. She also recommends adding colors that will be a challenge for your child. Check out her full post for more tips — and for some interesting kids' book picks.
Want to make your homemade sidewalk paint really pop this year? Quirky Momma offers up this neat idea for making homemade sidewalk paint that fizzes...
To make your own sidewalk paint, you'll need to assemble cornstarch, baking soda, warm — almost hot — water, and food coloring. Once your pint-sized Picassos are busy painting their sidewalk masterpieces, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and let them spray away for plenty of magical fizzing fun. The very best part about this activity: Mom Rachel says, "This paint dries very quickly — but washes off with ease!" Gotta love that!
A favorite Montessori classroom lesson for children, this flower-arranging activity featured on Modern Parents Messy Kids is perfect for a little bit of "edutainment" while gathering your garden's spring blooms!
To get started, simply head outside with a basket to gather flowers or foliage and have a tray waiting inside with the following included: scissors, a small vase or two, a small water pitcher or cup, and a doily or two for a little extra decorative flair. Be sure to check out the rest of this post for four additional "introductory activities for the Montessori newbie." Lots of easy and neat ideas for plenty of learning fun at home!
We love these darling spring flower pinwheels featured on Alpha Mom! Perfect for party favors, decoration, or simply as a colorful afternoon craft, these mini spring twirlers are sure to please.
Easily made with colorful cardstock, jumbo paper clips, beads, and dowel rods, these sweet blooming spinners may also require a bit of pliers work on Mom's part, but the rest of the construction is a matter of cutting and assembling. Be sure to check out Mom Ellen's full post for the complete pictorial and walkthrough for additional tips!
Mom Debi of Go Explore Nature shares this great idea for going on a spring bug hunt. Overall, a perfect way to explore your surroundings while learning about the creepy-crawly critters in your area!
Debi offers up some excellent tips for conducting a successful bug hunt, including the fact that you'll want to bring along the right tools — a bug container, butterfly net, magnifying glass, and bug tweezers. She says that it is also helpful to have a field guide handy for when her kids ask whether the bugs are "good" or "bad" (helpers vs. garden pests). Check out the rest of Debi's tips in the full post — this is one outdoor activity that could definitely become a regular for the young bug lovers in your home!