10 Cheap Things To Do With Children In Spring

Spring has officially... sprung. The weather is still a bit changeable, and we're making a lot of use of new waterproofs, but we've had a few days of glorious sunshine, and nature is certainly waking up after what's felt (to me at least) like the longest of Autumn/Winters.
Here are a few of the things I'm most looking forward to doing with the children this Spring - I'd love to hear your suggestions too - please leave a comment at the end of this post, or get in touch with your own ideas.
  1. Feed Lambs - I love lambs. Lambing season is a bit pants when you're vegan but I still love seeing them dotted across fields (and try to distract myself from the reality of their fate). There are lots of rescue sanctuaries that take in farm animals and save them from torture and slaughter. Avoid going along to "lambing days" at working farms or farm parks that confine animals to make a profit. Rescue charities are usually set up as registered charities and rely on public donations to provide for the animals in their care. It's a nice opportunity to speak to children about extending kindness and respect to animals - and if the sanctuary has lambs (as they likely will in Spring, many orphaned lambs are left to die as rearing them isn't cost effective) they'll generally be more than happy for children to get involved at feeding time. I'll list a few sanctuaries at the end of this post, but there are plenty across the country.
  2. Plant a Bee Garden - Bee numbers are still in decline, so everyone needs to do their bit to support wild bee populations. Even if you don't have a garden, you can plant a bee garden in a pot, window box or trough. Alternatively you can buy Wild Flower Grenades and could go and bomb some local wasteland with them to create a little bee haven in the wilderness. The Royal Horticultural Society have some great downloadable sheets that list the best flowers to plant to encourage pollinators.
  3. Colour The Pavement - Sunny Spring days are the perfect opportunity to get creative with chalks outdoors as there's always the promise of a Spring rain shower to wash everything away soon. It's easy to make your own wash-away pavement chalks from one part water, one part corn flour, and some cool food colourings.
  4. Feed The Ducks - Another baby animal opportunity - ponds and rivers should soon play host to fluffy ducklings. Don't give ducks, and especially their babies, bread - it isn't good for their tummies. Instead, take a bag of frozen peas, shredded lettuce and halved grapes.
  5. Walk In The Woods - I love woodland walks, even more so in Spring, when everything is stirring back to life, than in the Autumn when most people descend upon the UK's forests to admiring the changing colours. It's a great time for finding bluebells in the forest - which are an amazing sight. The Woodland Trust website is a good place to start when trying to find a local public woodland.
  6.  Build a Nest Box - The RSPB have an easy to follow set of instructions on building your own nest box for garden birds. Red Toolbox are one of my favourite kid's companies - making kits with real tools, to get children engaged with woodwork from a young age - they sell a lovely kit for children to make their own birdhouse. If you don't have access to a garden, or own cats (in which case it isn't advisable to encourage baby birds and their parents into your garden) then you could make an effort to collect and strategically place some nesting materials for birds to collect. You could offer pet fur, grass clippings, moss, straw and cotton wool.
  7. Find Some Frogspawn  - Don't move or disturb frogspawn - doing so can aid the migration of invasive plants and frog diseases, which can cause long term damage to frog populations. Contrary to popular belief, it isn't necessary to take frogspawn home to teach your children about a frog's life cycle. Spotting frogspawn in nature can be incorporated into a lovely long walk, and children can learn more from books and the internet.
  8. Spring Cleaning - There'll always be at least one day in the Easter School holidays where you a) have no plans and b) the weather is pants. It's a great opportunity to get kids involved in giving your house/flat a good deep clean - even if they're not actually that helpful. It's also a good time of year to deep clean the toy box and kid's wardrobe, and donate any toys and clothes which aren't being used to a local charity shop.
  9. Plant Sunflowers - Sunflowers are my favourite flowers. It's best to sow your sunflowers from around mid-April. Seeds are cheap and it's a good bit of friendly competition to see who can grow the tallest sunflower (in which case go for "American Giant Sunflowers" which can reach 4m in height). If you don't want to grow an absolute monster there are smaller varieties - "Big Smile Sunflowers" only reach heights of about 30cm.
  10. Make a Butterfly Feeder - like birds and bees, butterflies, with their populations in steep decline, need a little bit of help to thrive. When butterflies first emerge they are often lethargic and most varieties rely on nectar for sustenance. You can help butterflies along by making your own butterfly feeder. The RSPCA have some great instructions on how to make a feeder for the butterflies in your garden (all you'll need to provide them with is some sugar water).
(Just Some) UK Farm Sanctuaries
Sheep Ahoy, Kent
F.R.I.E.N.D Sanctuary, Kent
Hugletts Wood Farm Animal Sanctuary, East Sussex
Tower Hill Stables - Essex
C-A-L-F Sanctuary, Yorkshire
Hillside Animal Sanctuary, Norfolk
The Farm Animal Sanctuary, Worcestershire


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