Five outdoor activities for this very cold spring

Disclosure: We received products from Giant Gazillion Bubbles to play with and review, but all opinions (and suspicious brown dogs) are our own.

We spend a LOT of time in the backyard, mostly playing with friends from the neighbourhood. It seems like forever ago that we were stuck in that tiny condo where kids were actively discouraged from playing on the grass (true story).
But this time of year? This mucky yet VERY COLD type of early spring? (Well, it’s supposed to be spring, but eastern Canada hasn’t gotten the message yet because BRRR.)
It’s either too cold or not cold enough for all of their favourite activities. You can’t build snowmen or have snowball fights. You can’t sled. You can’t run through the sprinkler. You can’t set up the wading pool. 
So what CAN you do to tempt your little iPad-lovers into the fresh air?
1. Playsets.
We bought this one secondhand last spring and trucked it up the road in two pieces to reassemble it in our yard, and it was the best money we ever spent. 
It’s a magnet for kids all over the street, it’s a central gathering point, and it gives the kids a default “starter activity” when they’re shooed outside against their will. They might pout and go swing for a while, but pretty soon they’re all over the place having fun.
Out fixer-upper backyard playset
Two years ago, we built a wooden seesaw and it also sees a lot of action — even in the winter!
2. Snacks.
I’m not above handing them half a bag of semi-crushed Goldfish crackers and telling them to go “have a picnic.” Food can be a good motivator when it’s too cold to *want* to play outside, but hey, that’s what warm coats are for.

3. Indoor toys.
Yeah, it’s not always ideal because you need to harass your kids to bring everything back inside. But sometimes this is the push they need to get them outside.
Weirdly, our daughter is obsessed with bringing Barbies outside. She’ll moan and complain about being cold if there’s the slightest breeze, but I’ve watched her play Barbies out there in sub-zero temperatures just because it’s something new and different.
We saw this last week with the Little Live Pets Surprise Chicks, which aren’t really outdoor toys. Having them outside was, like, the coolest thing ever.
4. Chalk.
Yeah, their hands are going to get cold. But as long as the snow’s melted in the driveway, it’s open season for hopscotch and scribbling with chalk. 

The kids have been really into scootering (scooting?) on the driveway lately, so I’ll draw a windy twisty-turny line that they have to follow.

The bonus to chalking outside when it’s freezing is that they’re more bundled up so it’s not as uncomfortable to crawl around on the driveway, right?
A post shared by Heather Laura Clarke (@hfxheather) on Aug 28, 2016 at 2:43pm PDT


5. Bubbles.
No need for wait for summer to get out the bubble solution, and your kids probably got some new stuff for Easter. (Aren’t bubbles such an Easter thing?! Along with pale pink capris from Gap, or was that just my childhood?)
Our friend at Funrise Toys sent us some fun new bubble toys to try: the Gazillion Giant Bubble Mill, the Gazillion Giant Power Wand, and a huge 2L bottle of bubble solution — specially formulated to make bigger, more elasticised bubbles.
We tried out the Giant Power Wand first, which has a little fan that runs on two AA batteries. You dip the wand into a (provided) tray, filled with bubble solution, and press the button to make HUGE tubes of bubbles. C had a little trouble getting it to work properly, but D loved it!

Next we tried the Gazillion Giant Bubble Mill, which does all the work for you!

Once it was loaded with three AA batteries, I poured some bubble solution into its resevoir, pushed the button, and it began turning like a tiny ferris wheel — spouting bubbles one after another.

It was awesome, and the kids took it all around the yard trying to get the least-windy spot so it could make really big bubbles without them popping.

Annabelle had never seen bubbles before, so she was immediately suspicious.

“What is dis?”

“What iz happening?”

“I don’t know about dis.”

“Humans are weird.”

It’s been raining her ALL WEEK and it’s also freezing cold. (I retired my actual winter coat on principle, but I’m still wearing a puffy jacket so I can stand waiting at the bus stop.)

It’s a good thing the playhouse has a roof* because I’ll be sending the kids outside later for some much-needed fresh air and a snack.

*Just remembered the roof is now gone because WIND and SO MUCH WIND.**
**They’re still going out.

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