Spring Is in the Air! Time to Stock up on Outdoor Toys--Part I
Winter finally feels like its subsiding. The sun has peeked through the clouds. The heavy coats are on their hooks. The groundhog predicted an early spring and the gloves and hats haven't been used in more than a week. So naturally, mommies everywhere are starting to replenish their assortment of outdoor activities so the kiddos can relish in the warmer (but still cool) air.
My kids are not the rugged, outdoorsy type. They don't generally run outside to play in the dirt or ride on motorized scooters. Granted, they're only ages 3 and 6 and may someday do those things, but nowadays they prefer quieter activities.
I have yet to meet a child who doesn't love bubbles. Even little babies are fascinated by them. Whether the child is blowing the bubbles, chasing them, or popping them, it's an easy, safe, affordable, clean way to pass an afternoon. There are very simple homemade recipes for "making" bubbles (warm water and dish soap) and there are some very cheap bottles of bubbles as well. But I find the kids have the least amount of trouble when the bubbles are a little thicker such as the Gazillion Bubbles formula. I also find that for the younger ones, a bubble wand can be frustrating. For my son, whose three, I purchased a Transformers Bumblebee bubble "launcher." It's basically a little yellow Bumblebee action figure with an arm that works as a bubble wand. One side gets dipped into a cup of bubbles, the other side is shaped like a whistle and my son blows into it. We have another similar one with a Finding Nemo theme that I bought when my daughter was younger.
My daughter is all about pink things. So when I saw that Crayola makes "Washable Colored Bubbles" I picked up a bottle at Wal-Mart. I have to say that I'm not impressed. The bubbles don't blow as easily and there's a thick dye that sort of drips everywhere. If mom/dad will be the one blowing the bubbles, then this might be a nice novelty item. But otherwise, even with the "washable"-ness of this product, it can be messy.
Kites are also a harbinger of spring activities. They often require much more supervision than the other items in this article but can be a ton of fun on a windy day in a big open field. I'm not a fan of the really cheap ones. They break before you even use them and often don't fly well. But I don't advise spending a fortune either. Kites get stuck in trees, fly away, or get broken all the time. They are flimsy things that get pushed in the wind... and now you're trusting them to young children. It's not a good combination. I think, at most, I would pay $20 for a kite. There are some decent ones, especially on sale, that are colorful, well-built, and fun.
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