I live in the Northeast. The winters here last approximately eleven months of the year. So by the time the first crocus spring out of the soil, everyone has such cabin fever that it's a race to get outside and breathe in the slightly-above freezing air and shed the 18 layers of coats we've all been donning since October. Sure, people in the south probably also like spring, but it's sweeter for us for having suffered the harsh winter. We take spring very seriously in these parts and the best things to do with your baby in the spring take full advantage of all it has to offer.
There's a lot you can do with your little one in the spring. From hitting flea markets to playing in the mud, babies love to explore everything because everything is new to them. Sure, it can be a challenge to keep them from sticking everything in their mouths, but it's also one of life's simplest joys to watch them take it all in for the first time. It doesn't have to be complicated or Pinterest-worthy for your baby to love it. Often, the most basic activities are what they enjoy the most. And it's not just the park, which, let's face it, gets old for parents very quickly. But with a little bit of creativity, you and your baby can properly enjoy spring with these activities.
Living in New York City, there isn't a whole lot in the way of hiking opportunities, but I did manage to find quite a few nature trails. With my sturdy stroller and car seat (both up to standards of the American Academy of Pediatrics), we set off regularly on these jaunts through what passes as nature in these parts. My kids would positively bubble over with excitement before inevitably falling asleep.
Mud, sand, grass, and even the rubber surfaces at the playground enchant young ones as they work their brains over the feel of the ground and what's beneath them. Of course, it can be messy, and you do have to watch them, but they absolutely love it. My son has autism, and his occupational therapist routinely brought him out to play in the sandy beaches near our home. It helped him reckon the differences between what he saw and what he felt.
There is so much to see, experience, and even eat at your local farmers' market. There are colors to point to, foods to show your baby, and It's also a really good place to begin healthy eating practices by modeling them for your child. If they see you eating a fresh apple, they'll absolutely want some at some point. Plus everything is at the peak of freshness. Honestly, it's a visual feast for your little one.
4Hit The Zoo
If your baby is old enough to sit up in a stroller, they're old enough to marvel at the wonders of the zoo. I found that my kids adored the exhibits that had babies in it as well. When my daughter was very little, we were fortunate enough to see the baby pandas at the Smithsonian National Zoo, and she lit up like a Christmas tree at the sight. It was truly a gift.
No, I'm not talking about taking your baby to Coachella — that's too loud and probably too visual even for a baby. What I'm talking about are the small, local shows that pop up every spring in parks across the United States. They happen at county fairs and Easter celebrations, pretty much any outdoor venue. They are fun for you of course and bonus, you get to watch your baby dance and enjoy live music.
If your baby is really little, a museum during the busy hours may be just the thing. They'll love the motion of the stroller and the huge splashes of color in the artwork. Pro tip: ignore the sculpture gallery, it scared the mess out of my kids.
7Finger & Hand Painting
One of the best things about spring is that you can take all those messy activities that you loathe to do in your kitchen and head outdoors. Finger painting is fun as heck for babies, but it's also a huge mess. However, if you're outside, you can just hose everything off. Just make sure to use non-toxic water-based paints.
If you're outside, do you really care if your kid spills their applesauce all over the ground? No, no you do not. Plus, it's a nice way to spend an afternoon. Get a bunch of your mom friends together and do a baby potluck. I'll bring the beer.
9Visit A Farm
A lot of family farms and CSAs do tours in the spring, which is planting and calving season. It's a good way to learn not only where your food comes from, but also how it's grown. It benefits everyone since most charge a small fee for the privilege and they have a market on-site to take away their goodies.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.