Follow along as Jennifer Pinarski shares her experiences about giving up her big city job and lifestyle to live in rural Ontario with her husband, while staying home to raise their two young children.
During March Break, my son dug out his bike from storage and started riding it around—in the house.
Spring fever has been creeping into our house since Daylight Savings Time started and it’s safe to say that this past week has been the absolute worst in terms of my kids’ behavior. On her Facebook page, psychotherapist and parent educator Andrea Nair called them the “spring ya-yas”, but I’m more inclined to call them the “where are my real children because these ones are driving me bananas!”—maybe with a swear word thrown in there, too. It seems every parent I talk to is saying the same thing: falling asleep is difficult, attention spans are non-existent and tempers are short—and that’s just the grown-ups.
Read more: Confessions of a free-range parent >
I know I’m not alone in trying to direct my kids’ energy in a more positive direction, and I really do believe spring is to blame. (Don’t believe me? Even Discovery magazine says that spring fever is real.)
Read more: 50 fun, free spring activities >
For some reason, yesterday was a particularly bad day, with both kids pushing each others buttons and me losing my cool. Instead of sending the kids to their rooms, I sent all of us outside. And you know what? We were better for it. In the hour we were outdoors, we played hard, and by the time we had to come in and get ready for bed, not a sign of the earlier sour mood was left.
I like to keep my outdoor games and activities simple because it means we can start playing right away—no looking for gear or explaining rules. Here are a few of our favourite ways to settle spring fever:
- Play “Follow the Leader”
- Make your own obstacle courses
- Run up—and down—hills
- Jump in puddles
- Play hopscotch
- Build a fort
- Build a snowman (weather permitting)
- Have a scavenger hunt, looking only for items found in nature
- Look for spring flowers (this keeps them busy for a long time, at least in our part of Ontario)
- Climb trees
- Jump rope
- Go for a bike ride
- Blow bubbles
- Have races using physical literacy fundamentals, like hopping on one foot or leg crossovers
- Play “Leapfrog”
- Play “Hide-and-Seek”
- Fly a kite
- Have sword fights with sticks
- Build dams and rivers out of mud and puddles
I don’t promise that playing outdoors will completely tame spring fever—my kids still fought over who had the longer stick and couldn’t agree on how their game of hopscotch should be set up. But when it was time to go inside and get ready for bed, they did so without complaint and then fell asleep quickly—which is a win in my books anyday.
Do your kids have spring fever? How do you cope? Tweet me @jenpinarski.
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