Spring is in the air and it’s time to enjoy the great outdoors with your family
In honor of the arrival of spring, take some time to explore how you and your family can enjoy the outdoors. North Central Florida offers many wonderful walking trails, rivers to explore and parks to enjoy, but enjoying the outdoors with your family can be as easy as walking into your yard. Children of all ages love being outside and with a little talent and time you can enjoy it with them.
Create a fairy garden
With a quick trip to one of our great local craft stores, you can purchase some items to create your own fairy garden. Look at Pinterest as a place for inspiration with your child to get some fun, easy ideas and decide how serious you want to get with this project. It can be as easy as a shoebox, an old tea cup and saucer, a few jars or some small wood scraps, or as intricate as building a multi-leveled platform for the fairies to pick different rooms to stay in. Some wire can make an arbor entrance and, of course, you’ll need a sign. This can be a tiny spot under a tree or a corner of your yard. You are only limited by you and your child’s imagination.
Off to the craft store again, this time for some acrylic paint and a couple of paint brushes.
Look for some stones, large or small. If you can’t find any in your yard, a trip to Home Depot or Lowe’s will keep you busy for hours. You could pick inspirational words, names of places you’ve visited together, or favorite places or things to do. Once you have painted your stones and allowed for them to dry, your family can decide where in your yard they will live. You can place the stones all in one place or spread them throughout your yard as a scavenger hunt – the choice is yours.
For a fun excursion, take a family trip to Wild Birds Unlimited and pick out a birdfeeder and birdseed for your yard. Or off you go to the garden store for a bird bath. There are a tremendous number of species of birds in our area and creating a bird sanctuary is easy and fun. The folks at Wild Birds offer an endless supply of knowledge and are genuinely happy to help. Then, of course, there’s also your local library with lots of great books about birds and bird watching. Feeling more industrious? How about building your own birdfeeder together? Design it, build it, paint it – lots of fun, real-life math skills, as well as family time in this easy project.
Planting a butterfly garden
Not much of a green thumb? This is a great way to start gardening. Butterfly plants are incredibly hardy and difficult to kill (trust me I know!). As long as you water them, they are colorful, hardy and do the work for you. Your local garden store or farmers market can help you pick the right plants. You will have a variety to choose from and they are inexpensive as well. Butterfly plants grow well in containers as well as in the ground, which makes them a great choice for families with small or no yards. Butterfly gardens will last all spring and summer and into early fall so your family can have lots of fun watching the butterflies for several months.
Creating an herb or vegetable garden
Feeling a bit more adventurous? Talk with your family about their favorite foods and then do some investigating on the herbs used in those dishes. A quick trip to Publix, the farmers market or the garden store can supply you with most common herbs. Herbs, like many butterfly plants, grow well in containers or in the ground, so again, easy for small yards or apartments. Herbs are generally easy to grow and after you harvest them, have some time together in the kitchen. Harvest some basil and make pesto or a Margaretta pizza together. Easy, inexpensive and lots of fun, even for very young children.
If you have enough yard space, consider making a vegetable garden with your family. This project takes more time for upkeep so before you take this project on make sure you are all willing to spend a little time each week weeding it, watering it and keeping bugs out. Talk together to decide what vegetables your family likes. No one will be interested in working on Brussels sprouts if they don’t like eating Brussels sprouts. Though a little more of a time commitment, it’s a fun way to spend time with your children – and eat healthier!
Whatever idea grabs you, start small and enjoy that, even if your plants die or the squirrels eat all your birdseed, you’ve had a lovely opportunity to spend some time outdoors as a family together. In the end that’s the biggest takeaway of it all!