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If you go
What: Short Hikes for Short Legs: BioBlitzing for Preschoolers
When: 9 to 10 a.m. May 21
Where: Eagle Marsh, 6801 Engle Road. Meet at the barn.
Description: Children ages 3 to 5 (with a responsible adult) will learn how to be a junior scientist at Eagle Marsh and how to apply the new skills in their backyard.
If you go
•9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 17 at Parkview Field Lincoln Financial Event Center
•7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through mid-December, South Side Farmers Market, 3300 Warsaw St.
•3 to 8 p.m. Fridays through October, Historic West Main Street Farmers Market, 1936 W. Main St.
•3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, June 10 to Sept. 16, at Parkview Regional Medical Center
•11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays, June 12 to Sept. 25, at One Summit Square
•4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, June 12 to Sept. 11, Georgetown Square
•4 to 7 p.m. Fridays, June 20 to Sept. 5, Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center
•9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, May 17 to Sept. 27, Barr and Wayne streets
A trip to a local farm, market or even the grocery store can get kids interested in fresh foods.

Family fun in bloom for spring

PR Newswire
VTech’s InnoTab 3 Learning App Tablet helps children learn with a variety of software cartridges featuring favorite characters.
Get outdoors as the weather warms and take a hike. Use the Internet or pick up book from the library to teach children about nature, then have them identify things they see outside.

The onset of spring brings with it more than mild weather, it’s the season for spring cleaning, fresh fruits and renewal. And there are many seasonal opportunities for family fun.

Here are some ways your family can make spring fun and even educational.

Take a spring hike

After a long winter most kids have cabin fever, along with their parents! Take advantage of the season to head out for fresh air.

Take a nature hike at a nearby park or even in your own backyard, if your children are too little for longer treks.

Prepare in advance by learning about trees and plants together by reading a library book or surfing age-appropriate sites online. Then have kids identify local greenery along your route. And collect a few rocks or flowers to bring home as keepsakes.

Spring into learning

It’s never too soon to start preparing small children to make the next jump into the classroom and learning.

Consider a kid-friendly tablet, such as VTech’s InnoTab 3 and additional fun, age-appropriate software cartridges that allow a child to progressively learn key subjects such as math, reading and science in steady stages. With all their favorite characters from Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake & the Neverland Pirates and more, they’ll have so much fun they won’t even realize they are learning! Or opt for action toys that can promote motor skill development, like VTech’s new Switch & Go Dinos Turbo and Go! Go! Smart Wheels electronic vehicles.

More ideas for fun, educational toys and games can be found at

Explore fresh foods

From asparagus to strawberries, many fruits and vegetables are at their peak during the spring. It’s a great time to pack the kids into the car for a trip to a pick-your-own fruit farm, local farmer’s market or even the supermarket, to stock up on colorful, healthful ingredients.

Take your bounty home and hit the kitchen together. Cooking with kids is a great way to teach them about everything from math to nutrition, as you follow recipes together and plan your meals.

Out with the old

Make spring cleaning a fun family affair by giving children a bin to fill. Whoever fills the bin with the most stuff or the quickest gets to pick a family treat like eating at their favorite restaurant or a movie.

Teach kids the rewards of giving by donating gently used items to a local charity. One perk of cleaning and donating is it makes room for new things.

And you can breathe new life into old toys by purchasing new accessories for dolls and action figures, or new software for electronic games. For example, a range of educational cartridges are available for VTech’s InnoTab, including such kid-favorites as Monster’s University, which includes nine games, an e-book and other diversions.

“Spring is a great time for parents to take a fresh approach to learning, incorporating themes of nature and renewal into children’s toys and activities,” says Dr. Lise Eliot, early childhood development expert who consults for VTech.