Some fun outdoor play ideas for the whole family as the warmer weather arrives.

By Ellen Neuborne

It's spring and everyone has serious cabin fever. But it's not quite picnic weather yet. So how can you plan some quick springtime outings for you and the kids? Dress in layers to be prepared for changeable spring weather and get creative. Here are some activities that can get you out of the house and reacquaint you with your neighborhood.

A Spring Fling Scavenger Hunt

Does it seem like forever since you last went for a walk? Forgotten what your neighborhood looks like? A scavenger hunt may be just the thing to get you and the kids out and revisiting whatever your neighborhood has to offer. Try some of these suggestions or create your own list of things to find.

Sounds of spring

Get out in the neighborhood and collect these spring sounds. Can you hear...

  • Frogs or toads
  • A clap of thunder
  • Music from an open car window
  • A woodpecker
  • A bird singing
  • Kids playing in the playground
  • Music from an ice cream truck
  • A lawn mower

Sights of spring

Can you see spring around you? Collect these sightings...

  • A plant emerging from the ground
  • A bud on a tree or bush
  • A flower in bloom
  • People sitting outside
  • Open windows
  • Open coats
  • Spring flowers
  • Spring fruit
  • Bathing suits in a shop window
  • Someone skateboarding

Spring Rubbing and Collage Project

Sometimes, the best way to deal with spring weather is in small doses. This activity provides you with outdoor and indoor components so you can get some air but not freeze in the changeable spring temperatures.

What you need:

  • Sheets of paper. White works well but colors are fine, too.
  • Crayons and colored pencils. Older kids might want to try charcoal but that material may be too messy for the littlest artists.
  • A bag to carry your art supplies in -- pick a big bag that's easy to get things in and out of, like a beach bag or a large shopping bag
  • A large piece of poster paper
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors


Part one: The rubbing hunt Set off on a walking tour of your neighborhood, or another location you haven't walked in for a while, like a local park or a downtown shopping area. Keep an eye out for interesting surfaces. You might see tree bark, a park bench, cobblestones, or signs. Anything with texture will do. Place your paper over the textured surface and rub over with a crayon or colored pencil until the image starts to form. Don't hold back -- get as many rubbings as you can on your walkabout. That will make for a more successful collage.

Part two: The collage When you get home, spread your work out and admire your collection. Then choose the most interesting looking ones and break out the scissors. Cut out shapes from your rubbings and glue them to your poster board. You can arrange them in order, making a rubbing map of your walk. Or you can glue them at random for a more abstract effect.

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