Spring is a reason for celebration on its own—and we love getting the kids outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and fun that comes with this light-hearted season. These activities are great for spring birthday parties, neighbourhood gatherings or just plain outdoor fun.
Best for: Ages 1 to 3
Toddlers love to explore, and what better way to get them acquainted with nature than through a simple scavenger hunt? This activity also includes an easy craft for your little guests to take home.
- 2 empty toilet paper rolls per guest
- Masking tape
How to Play:
- Before your guests arrive, take two rolls and tape them together to create ‘binoculars’. Make sure you have a pair for each guest.
- Create a fun ‘treasure map’ on a large piece of paper you can hang outside (or on smaller pieces) with simple pictures of natural objects in your yard (a rock, flower, tree, etc.). Older siblings can also create this using magazine photos or drawing the objects themselves.
- Let the kids start off by decorating their own binoculars with stickers and the crayons.
- With the help of some older siblings or adults (depending on the age), bring the kids outside to see the map and images of the objects. Have a couple of adults at designated ‘nature’ areas where the items are (by a tree, by the flowers, etc.)
- When the toddlers arrive at each spot, get them to ‘look’ at the objects with the binoculars and answer a few questions. What is this? What colour is it? Is it hard or soft? Reward them with a little sticker.
- Once the toddlers have run around with their binoculars and received a bunch of stickers, bring everyone back to the list and reward your birthday child (or all your guests) with a natural crown.
Catch Those Butterflies!
Best for: Ages 3 to 5
These butterflies are guaranteed to show up to your party—and the kids will get some serious outdoor exercise in the process.
- A butterfly net for each child, or one for the group
- Coffee filters (one or two per guest)
- Food colouring
- Pipe cleaners
- Recipe cards with instructions such as ‘hop’ or ‘take big steps’ or ‘find a BLUE butterfly’
How to Play:
- First, create your butterflies. Put drops of food colouring on each of the coffee filters to create ‘spots’ and then pinch them in the middle and tie them with the pipe cleaners to create your butterflies.
- Place the butterflies around the backyard in strategic spots that are visible and easy for the kids to reach.
- Have the kids line up at the far end of the yard. Have the first child choose a recipe card and help them to read the instructions. The child has to follow that action as they head over to catch their butterfly.
- Each child takes a turn until you’ve collected all the butterflies.
- If you choose, end the activity with a butterfly-themed story!
Monster Bug Race
Best for: Ages 5 to 8
This activity is a great way to foster creativity as well as use some of the recycling hanging around the house.
- A pile of recycled items of varying sizes for each team of 3 to 4 kids (old water bottles, cardboard boxes, newspaper, old magazines, yogurt containers, scraps of old fabric, etc.)
- Crayons or markers (washable paint is optional)
- A roll of masking tape per team
- A glue stick or craft glue bottle per team
How to Play:
- Put the guests into teams of three or four kids each.
- Make sure you have the appropriate number of ‘piles’ set up around the backyard (one pile per team) with the objects above. If you’d like, place the objects in a blue box (or regular box) to keep them contained—and a surprise.
- Explain the rules: each team has 15 minutes to use all the items in the box (and if appropriate, the box itself) to create the ultimate ‘bug’. It should be a completely unique bug that has never been heard of before. Once the rules are explained, start the time and send the teams off to their box to get started.
- Make sure to give a 5 minute warning.
- When the 15 minutes are up, give the guests a 5 minute window to decide on a name, and three special characteristics of their bug. After 5 minutes, each team has to present their bug to the whole group sharing its name, characteristics, etc.
- Host an award ceremony for all the teams, giving a prize for different categories: most creative, most colourful, scariest bug etc.
- Make sure to take a photograph of each team with their bug to send in your Thank You notes.
Good to Know: You can substitute the ‘bugs’ with ‘superhero’ or ‘robot’.