dandelion crown on a blond girl

Inside: Spring is here and with it comes the pressure to do all the spring things with your kids. But maybe you’re too tired to do all the things this year. Consider this article permission to slow down, choose just a few things from this laid back spring bucket list and call it “good enough”.

This week, I looked at the week ahead on my phone’s calendar and saw a local fair I’d penciled in a couple of months ago. 

There are supposed to be pony rides and other fun kid things. Sounds like the perfect spring activity for families, right?

It’s exactly something the parent I was seven years ago would have taken her kids to in a heartbeat.

Fast forward to the parent I am today: five kids and a pandemic later, plus a year and half away from forty, just the thought of attending an event like that makes me want to curl up in bed and take a nap. 

Will we drag our tired parent butts to this event for the sake of our younger two kids? …Maaaaaybe? 

But quite honestly, I’m looking at simpler ways to celebrate spring this year. Preferably quieter, not crowded in the slightest activities a little bit closer to home. Like in our own house and backyard.

little yellow planter with tiny plant growing, sitting on table with art and lamp in the background.

30 Simple Spring Activity Ideas for Kids (& Their Tired Parents)

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I know I can’t be the only parent who feels exhausted lately. 

More and more of us are homeschooling our kids. Or working extra hours/jobs to cover the inflation-induced spikes in our budgets. Or caught up in the endless cycle of negative news. 

Maybe we can be ok with doing less this year.

Kids used to be happy as clams digging in the mud in the backyard, right? They can be happy again with these simple spring bucket list ideas. 

For all the tired parents out there, here are over thirty ideas that (mostly) don’t involve leaving the house or navigating big crowds with little ones.

Related: 35 Activities for Kids When You’re Stuck at Home

1. Have a picnic in your own yard (or your deck or your doorstep).

Grab a quilt, some snacks and drinks and call it a picnic.

Food outside on a blanket is magical for some reason.

(Don’t forget to make THIS DIY Bug Spray before you head out to the grass/woods!)

2. Plant some seeds.

If you have some mini pots lying around, great. If not, you can find them at the dollar store.

Buy some seeds – any seeds – and some dirt.

Help your kiddos plant the seeds. They can water them and watch them grow all spring long.

3. Let your kids “clean” the windows.

Little kids love to help with cleaning! …I mean, they often don’t really do much, buy hey, spring cleaning is a thing, so.

Let them spray the windows with a non-toxic cleaner as much as they want. You can come behind them with cloths or paper towels.

Or not. Because this is a lazy spring bucket list.

4. Kick or throw a ball around outside. 

They put those medium-sized bouncy balls in the freezer aisle around this time for a reason. 

Buy one. Throw it, kick it, bounce it. 

Ideally outside, but hey, if it’s raining, inside will do. 

5. Go for a walk in your neighborhood.

One lap around the block. Or not even – to the end of the street and back.

THESE push bikes are glorious. Scooters or striders bikes are great, too, depending on your neighborhood’s terrain.

6. Download a free bird identification app, and see what birds are in your area.

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but I only discovered Merlin bird app last fall. 

It listens to the bird calls and shows you which birds they are. So cool!

window bird feeder in focus.

7. Put up a bird feeder – any bird feeder.

Unfortunately, where we live, putting up a bird feeder in the yard is like putting a big ol’ sign up that reads: “Hey Bear! Free food!” After losing two feeders, we were done.

So this year, we went with THIS window feeder that we put in our kitchen window (second floor).

We attached a pole to attract the birds, and after a few weeks, they started coming. It’s been a true delight to see them every day.

Related: Unschooling Science – 8 Easy Ways to Nurture Natural Curiosity

8. Make smoothies.

While some of our kids drink smoothies year-round, others prefer to wait for warmer temps.

A current favorite tastes a bit like a strawberry milkshake. Here are the ingredients:

  • Frozen Strawberries
  • Milk Just Up to the Strawberries
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 Tsp. White Sugar

Blend well and enjoy.

9. Decorate rocks with acrylic pens.

A few years ago, we bought our kids THESE acrylic paint pens for Christmas.

That spring, they had a blast gathering rocks and decorating them outside.

10. Buy lemonade or seltzer waters.

I refuse to buy lemonade in the winter. But at the first hint of spring, a bottle goes into the cart.

For whatever reason, in my mind, lemons are for warm weather – not just summer.

11. Make lemon somethings from a box mix. 

Buy a box mix for a lemon cake, lemon bars, lemon poppyseed muffins – just something lemony.

Let the box mix do the hard work for you!

12. Set up a sprinkler, baby pool or some sort of container with water.

Is it truly warm enough to play in water? Maybe not. But as soon as there is an inkling of warmth, my kids are begging us to reattach the hose.

Personally, we prefer sprinklers like THIS one to baby pools.

13. Set your kids up to wash the car.

Speaking of water, give your kids a bucket of warm water, some soap and rags and let them wash the family car.

They might do a better job than you think.

14. Make s’mores.

If you have a fire pit, great. If you don’t, you could use a non-scented candle or a portable fire pit.

Whatever fits your budget!

15. Print out some spring coloring pages (or buy a spring coloring book). 

I prefer printing out a handful of printable coloring pages at a time, instead of buying an entire coloring book that sits in my house for years half-finished.

There are a bajillion on the internet. Print as many as you need, and maybe replenish your marker stash while you’re at it.

picked dandelions laying on a large boulder.

16. Pick dandelions, and use them for all sorts of things. 

Weeds? I think not. Our generation is waking up to the uses of a lot of things, like dandelions we’re supposed to eliminate because the HOA said to [insert: eye roll].

You could experiment with cooking them…or you could just, ya know, let them pick dandelions for the fun of it. 

I used to make dandelion crowns as a kid, too.

17. Make some mud with a watering can (or let them make it), and let your kids play in it.

If you make the mud at home, you can at least control the clothes they wear – not their Sunday best, if you know what I mean.

For some reason I don’t understand, kids find mud delightful. Let them have at it!

18. Watch a spring movie.

Find a springish movie, and make a movie night of it!

You could do an outdoor movie if you have the equipment (projector, white sheet, somewhere to hang it, etc.). Or not.

Curious George Swings Into Spring is a great one. Peter Rabbit is another fun one.

bottle of atlasonix Giant Bubble Mix in focus.

19. Create giant bubbles or small bubbles (or better yet: let a machine blow them for you).

Spring means it’s time for bubbles. But there’s nothing more frustrating than watching your kids dump out bubble mix over and over again.

Two solutions: a bubble machine like THIS one, or giant bubbles are super fun, too.

For giant bubbles, you’ll need…

Follow the recipe on the back of the bubble powder and watch your kids’ delight in amazing giant bubbles!

20. Let your kids take pictures of flowers.

Hand your kids the phone and let them take pictures of flowers. Or you could get something like THIS camera, so they could take pictures of themselves.

Just make sure you have a bullet-proof phone case (we love Otterbox cases).

21. Put fresh flowers on your mantel.

Normally, I don’t buy fresh cut flowers. But spring is the time to make an exception.

Let your kids pick some out at the grocery store, or pick some wildflowers, instead.

22. Visit a Little Free Library, preferably at a local park.

We love Little Free Libraries!

You can find one near you on the official Little Free Library website.

child drawing with Crayola chalk on a deck.

23. Draw with sidewalk chalk.

Spring is definitely the season for sidewalk chalk. The driveway and sidewalks aren’t too hot, and you might even be able to skip the sunscreen.

We love THIS box of Crayola sidewalk chalk.

24. Star gaze.

Make a night of it. Spread out a blanket on your deck or in your yard, or set up chairs.

Bring out a constellation book, or download an app like Sky Guide.

25. Pick up trash on your block…or in your backyard.

Give your kids a grocery bag, and maybe a grabber tool.

Walk around your neighborhood together and let them pick up trash to take care of the planet.

26. Give your kids an old pot and let them make “soup”.

One of my favorite activities as a kid in the spring was to make “soup” with grass, dandelions, weeds, etc.

If you happen to be decluttering your kitchen and have a pot to spare, give it to your kids and let them use it outside.

27. Buy spring shoes. 

Every spring, we buy our kids new Crocs. It’s the one shoe we invest in year after year.

Crocs shopping day is a big event! The brand doesn’t matter, just make a whole day of it to celebrate spring.

(Put away the winter boots while you’re at it.)

28. Splash in puddles. 

If they don’t already have rain boots, now is a good time to get some new or secondhand.

(We’ve loved THESE rainboots for years because there is no fabric inside to get soaking wet.)

Pick a rainy spring day and let them puddle jump to their hearts’ content!

29. Play the cloud game.

Go outside and cloud watch. Call out shapes you think you see in the clouds.

Easy peasy spring fun.

30. Bring a roll of paper and finger paints (or watercolors) outside. 

I can’t handle finger paints indoors, but outside? Anything goes.

So buy a big roll of art paper and some finger paints. Set it up on the deck, front porch, or on an outdoor table and let them go crazy.

little girl blowing bubbles on deck in the spring.

You Don’t Need to Plan Elaborate & Expensive Spring Activities to Be a Good Parent

It feels like the bar for being a “good parent” has gone way up these days.

If you’re not bestowing your kids with Christmas-sized Easter baskets or giving your kids expensive experience gifts, you’re not “doing enough”.

Well, I’m here to tell you that if you do a few things on this list, it’s enough. They’re probably things you’ve already planned on doing!

Times are tough financially for so many right now, and even if you can technically afford to do more expensive activities, you don’t *need* to.

You can choose the low-key, simple spring activities – for any season, really – and still be a good parent.

You are enough. 💚

Read Next: 5 Reasons NOT to Do the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge

Did I miss any simple spring activity ideas for kids? Share them in the comments!


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1 Comment

  1. Love this!!!! We will just grab some cheap out door toys bike to parks and play

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