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Spring Activities for Pagan Kids (and Kids at Heart)

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S4E14 TRANSCRIPT:----more----

Mark: Welcome back to the Wonder Science-based Paganism. I'm your host, mark,

Yucca: And I'm Yucca.

Mark: and today we are going to talk about children's activities for springtime. In most places by now spring has sprung and there are green shoots and leafing trees leafing out and flowers and the sweet smell in the air. And the weather has become, if not mild than milder. And it's, it's just a time for celebrating spring and.

And we often associate childhood with spring.

Yucca: Right. And I wanna say that before we get going, we're gonna be talking about kids, but a lot of these activities can be for kids of all ages, right? Just because we're going to be thinking about children doesn't mean you can't be your. 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, whatever age you are. Right? So if you've got kiddos in your life, that's awesome.

And if you just wanna feel a little bit young at heart, then that's great too. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah, that's a really important point I think, because I mean, at least as I celebrate the Wheel of the Year when there's a focus on children around the time of the spring e Equinox, and then going into young adulthood around mayday. It's, it's not only to celebrate those members of the community that are at those stages in their life, it's also to celebrate those qualities in ourselves, right?

We, you know, we all still have a kid inside us and that playfulness and Astonishment of discovery and kind of wonder and awe that that comes in a childlike view of the world are great things for all of us.

Yucca: Yeah, so this time of year we've. The new life or the waking up of life happening, the popping back in a lot of our holidays have to do with this reemergence of life and newness of things. Is there anything else that, that really speaks kid to you about this time of year?

Mark: The bright colors.

Yucca: Hmm mm-hmm.

Mark: You know, the colors of flowers, the, the mating plumage of birds the, the fruit trees leafing out and flowering and we associate bright colors with this. Both with childhood you know, those kind of primary colors that are used in a lot of children's toys and so forth. But also with this time of year with brightly colored eggs and jelly beans and things like that as well.

So, that's something else that I associate with this time of year is just really super colorful, bright color palette.

Yucca: Right. Yeah, I see that too. And for us also, the getting back outdoors. And our climate, this really is when we can be spending lots of time outdoors again. I mean, we, we do anyways, but it's far more pleasant to do it when it's not literally freezing, right? When you can go out and, oh, you don't have to have the shoes on and you can not worry about bundling up every, you can just go out, right?

You don't. Make it this whole ordeal to get them all wrapped up and to get you and the, you know, you can just go, there's just, there's a, there's a freedom, there's a just sort of, what's the word I'm looking for? Like

Mark: Well, there's, there's an exuberance that goes with that, right? I mean,

you, you feel that soft air on your skin.

Yucca: yeah.

Mark: You know, that wonderful soft spring air on your skin and after being indoors for months,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: that's a, a very pleasant change of pace.

Yucca: Yeah. Well, why don't we get into some of the things? Yeah.

Mark: okay. That's what I was gonna suggest. Let's do that.

Yucca: All right. Well, we were brainstorming a little bit before and came up with a huge list of stuff to get into and I'm sure that we'll miss some of the things.

Mark: will.

Yucca: but the first thing that really pops into my mind is the spring cleaning. I know you might think of this as more of like a grownup sort of thing.

But I think that at least for us, having the kids fully involved with all of the household activities is really important because they're part of our society too. Right. And if you want them to be able to do their laundry when they're 20, well, They need to start doing their laundry earlier on. They need to be part of that process, not have it be this huge ordeal when suddenly they're on their own and Oh goodness, right?

Like, no, they just, you know, they're part of the household. They're, they're involved in that. And so same thing with any other activity we're doing. And so the spring cleaning it, there's something about spring. I know it's cliche. There's, I think we've recognized it for a long time, that it's, you know, you're opening up the windows, you're letting that fresh air in.

There's that new beginnings happening in the outside world, and so we kind of bring that into the inside world. And I, I think it's really important for the, you know, their agency, their self agency and that, and getting to choose, okay, well, you know, let. Get rid of these things, they don't fit you anymore.

Is there one or two that you wanna save as a keepsake? And if so, where are you gonna fit that? Because there's a limited amount of space right there. Right. And just having them be part of that process and, you know, making it kind of a fun thing, I think is, is really powerful.

Mark: Sure. Yeah. When you've been closed up inside for months, things pile.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: just, just a lot of junk. You know, you, you put something down and forget about it and then two months later it's still there. Well, it's time to move that thing now.

Yucca: With three things on top of it.

Mark: well, yeah.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And one thing, you know, kids really like doing adult stuff.

They like being involved in things that feel real. Right. So, you know, you'll. You know, kids with like toy razors and, you know, stuff like that cuz they, they want to pretend to be adults

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: and so, you know, hey, why don't you help me clean out the garage is, I mean, you know, to an adult that may sound like I don't want to clean out the garage, but to a kid it's like, Hey, I get to clean out the garage.

Yucca: Yeah, I mean, it depends on how you sell it. Right. And it depends on what else they're doing. If you're saying, why don't you stop playing Minecraft right now and come do something else, you might not get the buy-in, right?

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: you, you gotta kind of think about how to do it and have it be an invitation. And I mean, it's such a tricky balance that, you know, every family figures out what works for them with their values and the particular people that are involved.

But for me, I, I try and be very careful about not making it a requirement. Right. Not making it this sort of, well, if they aren't, you know, if they don't wanna come work with me in the greenhouse, like that's okay. I wouldn't force my partner to do that. Right? So why would I, you know, force my kid to do it?

I don't wanna make it this obligation thing. And so there's a, there's some trust in there, right? That kind of has to be built between the people involved. And, but most of the time I find that it ends up is, you know, if I'm mindful about what space they're in, they often are pretty interested in coming and participating and doing.

You know, their share of it. That's not to say that we don't have things that are their responsibility, right? They certainly have their chores and things like that, but when it's inviting them to come do new things and learn new things and participate with, fully, participate in that, like the adult world of running the households making sure that it isn't this gloomy pressure thing I think is really important.

Mark: Yeah. And I think as you say, there are ways you can sell it. You know, if it's, if it's like, you know, in the morning at breakfast, The next three days are special days. They are spring cleaning days. We're going to, we're going to, you know, get our whole place together here. It's really exciting. So I'm gonna be working in the garage who'd like to help me?

Yucca: Yeah. And ooh. You get to pick out the music when we're in the garage, right? You're working with me in the garage, you're the one who gets to pick the song or you know, that kind of thing. And again, it's just always gonna depend on the particular person, because for some people that's exciting. And for others they're like, I get to pick out the music, so what, like, that doesn't mean anything to me.

Right. But, you know, yeah. But setting aside, it's that time. And. This is one thing that this kind of general parenting thing that we found because I know that a lot of other parents really struggle with the, ourselves included. I'm saying this is something that we as a society have is that struggle with the balance between screen and non-screen time.

That we try and set an expectation of, well, during the morning time, like that just isn't screen time. Nobody's doing screen. And the hardest thing is just if parents aren't doing screen, kids aren't doing screen. It's just not, that's not, when you do screen. Screen is something that happens in the afternoons and sometimes into the evening, but not at night.

Right. Like you just set up the expectation. And just kind of have to stick to it and, and be the, the model for it. And I always find that the hardest part. It's easy for me to like tell them what to do. Be like, you can't be on the screen. It's a lot harder for me to put mine away, but it's absolutely ineffective if I tell them not to do it while I'm sitting here doing it because they're not stupid.

Right. They have humans. Humans have a fierce sense of fairness. yeah. So,

Mark: Yeah, and you know, the, the, the concept of injustice is something that we developed very early.

Yucca: Oh,

Mark: Yeah. You know, if you're doing it and I'm not allowed to do it, there's something wrong.

Yeah. So one thing that, it occurs to me, because we were gonna talk in a moment about decorating the

house for, for the season.

Right. And it occurs to me, you can actually tie this to the spring cleaning piece, where it's like we clean it first and then we decorat.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Yeah.

Mark: to get to the fun, crafty decoration part, we gotta clean it first. And so it becomes, you know, a kind of a seamless project where the whole thing, you know, we're decorating, but of course to decorate we've gotta get this stuff out of the way first.

Yucca: Yeah, you, you gotta have a clean wall to do that with. Get rid of those hand prints. We all have those hand prints. You know what hand prints I'm talking about, right? Yeah. There's just so many of them everywhere, so I love that. Yeah. And again, just always making it into that kind of fun thing. The point of it is to, is I think of it as to be joyous, right?

That this is, this is life we get, you know, why is it that we want our houses to be clean well, so that it feels good to be in them, right? So that we're healthy so that we enjoy being in them so we can be productive. But why do we wanna be productive so that we can be happy, right? It all comes back to, you know, what's to.

Just enjoying the life that we have. Right. And, you know, we we're taking care of our loved ones, but again, so that they can be happy because we love them.

Mark: Really well said. Yeah, I, I think it's important to always, you know, root. Root, our actions, our re you know, and our recommendations of actions in exactly that, you know, how is this making your life better or how is this making the world better or both?

Right.

You know, those, those, those are the, you know, to, to my mind, those are the two edicts that we have being alive, you know, live a really full, joyous, amazing life and.

You know, leave something better than it was when you got here. And I mean, that's a very fulfilling kind of life to have. And so, yeah. Exactly. So

Yucca: Yeah, so there's the decorating, the spring decorating. I always think bringing some of what's happening in the outside world, into the inside world. I was just sharing with Mark earlier, our daffodils have just start, so we're recording on the 15th. So where I live, our daffodils just bloomed. And Mark, you were saying they were blue for you.

It was January, right?

Mark: of January. Yeah.

Yucca: Yeah. But a couple cut daffodils, you know, in, in a little. We don't have any fancy vs. So it's mason jar, right? So we have it sitting in a mason jar on the table and bringing in some of the things. We still have a lot of our feathers up and things like And just bringing some of the stuff from outside in.

And of course, my kids love bringing in rocks. We have piles of shiny rocks all over the place. The cat then goes and knocks down cuz they're the perfect size for knocking down. So in the middle of the night,

you're

Mark: You got a whole ecosystem going there.

Yucca: We do, yes. And then you step on them. And it just reminds you that you're alive when you step on rocks, brought in by children, knocked over by cats and all of that. I think the, that gets at just to re to remember also that, that. When it comes to kids, you just kind of gotta go with the flow with them sometimes.

And they're not gonna be perfect at things. They're learning. This is them learning for the first time. And we've had years and years of practice at everything from, you know, how to move our hands to regulating our emotions when we're disappointed and, and they haven't yet. And this is them learning to do that.

And so, It can be tricky to let go of some of the expectations of how it's gonna look and how well to get it done and just say it's okay. It, it's really okay. As long as it functions, as long as, you know, nobody's in danger and gonna get hurt and it's healthy. Right. You're not, it's not dirty to the extent that it's unhealthy or something like that.

It's okay. Right. You know? so, and I think that's good to remember with ourselves. Coming back to the, there being inner children and all of us just to, to give ourselves that Grace A. Little bit sometimes too. So

Mark: Yeah, that's, that's well said. I, I really agree with that.

Yucca: yeah.

Mark: you can bring in flowers from the outside. You can bring in like bows from a lilac bush that's blooming or cherry tree that's blooming. All of those things make for pretty nice sort of tabletop decorations. You can bring in bright, bright spring leaves.

I mean, we tend to think of leaves as being more of an autumn thing. But those bright green spring leaves, you can string 'em on. And hang them up or just use them sort of to carpet the horizontal surfaces in your, your house, whatever,

Yucca: Or a little clear bowl, like if a little glass bowl, put those in them. It, you know. Very beautiful. Yeah. So next, why don't we talk a little bit about crafts. So art, there's art and craft, right? And people are gonna, there, there, there's a vinn diagram there and where they overlap people is gonna depend on each person's preferences, right?

For me, I think about art as something that doesn't necessarily have a purpose other. Just the, the process of making it and the enjoyment of looking at it. Right. Whereas the craft has a, has another purpose behind it. Like a, kind of, the traditional kid craft is weaving the pot holder or something like that.

So you have the process of making it, but then it's also an object that has a, has a, a purpose afterwards. Right.

Mark: Uhhuh Uhhuh.

Yucca: so springtime, there's definitely lots of the sorts of, you know, making the bird feeder or that kind of outdoor sorts of things. What we look for is things that the kids can do that's important to the.

The household where they get to be part of what needs to happen, and that has a real purpose to it. Because again, coming back to they're, they're not, they're smart, right? They know when we're just making something up to give them busy work and they know when it's something that really matters and it's so important for their.

Like they're self-efficacy, right? To, to know that they are contributing and they are able to contribute. So when we can come up with things, tasks for them to do that can be uniquely theirs that are kind of crafty sort of things. I think that's a really nice opportunity. Right. And that's just gonna depend on what's happening in your, what your household is like.

What are you rural, urban, are you. Temperate, tropical. You know, all of those things are gonna vary.

Mark: Right. Although that said, bird feeders are a pretty good choice because there are birds pretty much everywhere

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: of one kind or another, and if you put out food for them, they will eat it.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: They, they, they will show up and they will eat it. We have a very active couple of bird feeders here at our place.

One for hummingbirds and one for PA birds, and yeah, they they sure go through that bird seed. It's amazing.

Yucca: Yeah. Well, and that's one of the, the jobs, which is my kids, they go out and they. They take out the bird seed and they clean the water dishes as well, because we we're in a very dry environment. So having water out is almost more important for our wildlife than. The bird, the seed, right? It's easier to find food than it is to find water.

But we wanna make sure that that's clean so that we're not spreading diseases, right? So they go out and they swap out, depending on the dish. We have a couple that they bring the dish in and we just swap it out every day, right? So it gets washed every day with the dishes and then it goes back out.

And and so that's one that that they know. If they don't do, then the birds. Get their food, the, then the chipmunks don't get their food and the squirrels

don't. Now, I could imagine for a kid who struggles with anxiety, that might not be the, a good fit for them, right? Where if they, that might be anxiety inducing.

But depending on the personality, you know, for mine, that that's something that is an empowering experience for them and just as, as their grownups, we just need to be kind of tuned into how is this? How is this likely to be received with the particular person that we're shepherding and, and helping?

Right.

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: But it's lovely for them to be like, oh, I haven't fed the birds yet. The poor things. They're gonna be so hungry. Right. And it's like all the eight in the mornings like, yeah, it's okay. You could go do it. They'll, they'll appreciate it.

Mark: they're not quite that fragile, but yes, you, you remembered and it's your job and that's great.

Yucca: So, and I think I shared my favorite one. This is not a spring activity, but just for a suggestion of types of activities that we did this year that worked out so lovely. Is our, our house We heat with passive solar and a wood stove. And so we have to light a fire in the cold months of the year.

And so in the fall, the, the kids gathered lots of little sticks and made the little Kindle bundles. And that was their job. And so, When every time we lit a fire, we were lighting it with the bundles that the kids made. Right? So that kind of activity, and that was just so lovely because every day it was something they, they're a little bit too young to actually be starting the fire on their own right.

We're really big on them doing. Doing lots of stuff in the household, but they're still, my, my oldest is only six and a half, so I th you know, wait a few years till she's lighting fires. But she still got to be part of that really important thing. And the littlest, he got to be part of that as well and get to feel like, wow, I contributed, I'm part of the family.

I'm important and. You know, I, I plan to be there as long as I can for them, right? I, I wanna make it to the triple digits if I can, but there will be a time when I'm not there to help them and they have to do it on their own, right? And so I want them to be as, as prepared for that as possible in a way that is as Smooth, right?

As, as could, can be, right? Because people, we'll figure out how to do it. Humans will figure out how to survive. But if it can be as painless a process as possible, I think that's nice.

Mark: I think so too. Yeah.

Yucca: then they can spend that effort on, on something else.

Mark: Mm-hmm. So yeah. So do you want to talk about other kinds of craft activities? I mean, the, the, the classic for this time of year is dying eggs.

Yucca: Absolutely.

Mark: It's a little late in the year this year for doing that. But it's still really cool especially if you use, especially if you use natural dyes. And.

There are techniques you can use to put like leaf prints on the sides of the eggs and stuff, really make them beautiful. And it just then, then you have hard boiled eggs you're going to eat. And just a little more color to your breakfast.

Yucca: Yeah, and you can also if you're using natural dyes, you can boil your eggs, peel them, then dye them. And then you actually, when you eat your eggs, you have colorful eggs. And that usually goes over pretty well with the kids,

Mark: I

Yucca: right? It, it won't go all the way through to get that top, you know, few millimeters or so.

So you get like the little ring and if you slice the eggs in the like discs, that's really nice.

Mark: Okay.

Yucca: oh, and doing deviled eggs and dying it different colors. That's really fun.

Mark: Okay.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: I can't imagine deviled eggs with blue blue yolk mixture.

Yucca: yes. Well, and if you, if you dye the the outside of it a little bit too, and this is, and this might be just a little kid thing, but a lot of kids that I've known really like when you, when you play, when you present the food in a more fun way. Right.

We, we we'll make little like scrambled eggs and I have cookie cutters and so I'll fry them in the pan in the cookie cutters.

So it's the shape of a T-Rex when they eat their eggs. Right? So much more fun. Now you have t-rex eggs, right? So, and you could definitely

Mark: And then,

Yucca: the sort of spring themed things, right?

Mark: then they can, they can tell their friends that they had dinosaur eggs for breakfast.

Yucca: Well, and they did My, my kids are very fond of telling me that chickens are dinosaurs,

Mark: Oh, okay. There you go.

Yucca: yeah.

Mark: They sure act like dinosaurs.

Yucca: Yep. Well, why don't we talk also about the outside stuff, because since spring, you know, this is when we can get back outside. There's all kinds of fun games. There's all the, you know, the classic childhood games.

You're capture the flag. Hide. Yeah, hide and seek. You know, setting up little like scavenger hunts. Oh, speak. As long as we're talking kids. One of the traditions that we have started doing now that, that we're in the losing teeth time period, is we don't do any of the like tooth fairy or Santa Claus or any of that because I'm uncomfortable with.

Lying about it. Right. And I know some peop that's just something that is not comfortable for me. So instead of having a tooth fairy come and give the kids money, we do a scavenger hunt every time they lose a tooth. And then there's something like a little prize at the end. Yeah.

Mark: Nice. Nice. So there's still a ceremonial recognition of this thing that's happened and a fun activity and a little reward. Yeah.

Yucca: For the, my oldest one, they lost their first tooth. They'd been asking for a watch for a while because I wear a watch. And I had been reluctant to give them a watch because the. Pretty rough with their hands and breaking things and all of that. But when they lost their tooth, I got a watch for them and that was their prize.

But each of the steps on the scavenger hunt was going to places where they have done things that they've been growing up and maturing in the family. So they went to the greenhouse where they help water the plants and we went out to the wood pile where they help go get wood and out to the bird feeder.

Where they feed the bird. Right. And going from spot to spot with a little note about like, How you've been contributing and growing up. And then at the end, they got to get their watch. They were mature enough and that they had shown they were mature and old enough to get their watch when they lost their first tooth and all of that.

Mark: Oh, that's love.

Yucca: so so I think that they're with families, it's, there's so much. Possibility. And it's just, it's coming up with ideas like that. It's just you get to play, right. Play with these ideas of what, what is it? And, and bringing in some of the silliness to it or the fun, you know, I tried to write as teeny, teeny tiny as I could with that, right?

Cuz we were, pretend we were playing with the tooth fairy thing. She's very insistent though that that stuff doesn't exist. She's. You know, we don't believe in God's. They're important stories, but we don't believe in them. And the tooth fair is kind of like a God, but not really. Because I don't have any books about her.

And I'm like, okay, well we could give you a book about her. So, but coming back to the, the outside stuff, I think that getting outside, playing outside and something that we don't, it's amazing how much we don't have of this in our modern lives, but just having free unstructured time is just so critical.

important for littles and really important for adults too. Just to be able to be out and just do whatever your curiosity leads you to, or notice that butterfly that's going there, or, you know, enjoy. Taking that stick and seeing how many times you can break it in half, whatever it is that coming up with your adventure games, your make-believe stories about how you can transform into a giant snake or whatever it is.

It's just so, so important for kids. And the spring just feels like perfect for that because we, you cannot do all, you can do that stuff inside, but there's something very different about being outside out of the physical structure. Right. Out of these boxes that we live in, these literal boxes, right?

If you're inside, I'm guessing that there, a few of you might be listening to this on a walk right now, but the vast majority of of people listening, I bet you're inside a box right now. You're inside a metal box, which is your car. You're inside a, a wooden frame box, which is your house, or maybe it's concrete or steel.

But we spend a lot of time in these really defined structures that just feel very, very different than being outside with. Messy lines and flowing forms that are moving because there's a little bit of wind going through them in the clouds and there's just so much more,

I don't even know the words, but you know, it's, it's outside is messy. Right.

Mark: Yeah. There's so much more to experience out there, obviously.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: It's, it's always moving and changing. The sky is always changing. And it's full of those shaggy fractal shapes, right? The repeating patterns that make up the shape of a, of a coniferous tree or a particular kind of shrub or whatever it is, and having those kinds of patterns.

For some reason is very reassuring to people. It's good for our mental health to see those kinds of things and we find them very beautiful which is, it's good for us. The experience of beauty is good for us. So, while you're outside, you might want to have something to drink. So I have a recipe for raspberry lemonade.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: And so let me give you this, it's pretty, should be pretty simple. You can jot it down, you know, you can stop the podcast, jot things down, and then continue. It is tasty and refreshing childlike beverage for spring.

So, what I'm, what I'm about to, to tell you about serves 12.

Yucca: Ooh.

Okay.

Mark: So you need three quarters of a cup, and I'm not gonna give the metric conversions. I've got 'em, but I'm, I'm not gonna give them three quarters of a cup of fresh or thawed, frozen raspberries, nine cups of water, two cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice, which is about 12 lemons, and then two cups of very fine or powdered.

Which is less than was in the original recipe that I adapted this from. Because I like my, my lemonade kind of tart. I don't like it. Super sweet.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: So you puree the raspberries in a blender and strain them through a siv to take the seeds out into a pitcher, and then you add everything else and whisk it together until the sugar dissolves and pour over ice and. It's very simple, but it's delicious. Really, really good. And if you need an adult version of this, it goes well with vodka.

Yucca: Yeah. And with the sugar you could probably put less in, taste it, and then just keep adding to taste.

Mark: Yes, that's a, that's a good idea because people have different amounts of tolerance for sugar, different amounts of, of taste for sugar, so

Yucca: But it seems like it's such a simple, easy recipe that you can just add in as you need. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: Yep. And it's, it's a delicious, tasty beverage to have on one of those warm spring days.

Yucca: Yep.

Mark: When kids have been running around and running around and running around and running around and they're finally starting to flag, might be time to plunk them down and have something with some electrolytes in it and you know, get some water into

'em.

Yucca: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And then before we know it, it'll be the hot time of year, right?

Mark: yep. Yep, indeed. It's not far off for sure.

Yucca: Hmm. Well, is there anything else, mark, that we should touch on in our

Mark: You know, not that I can think of

Yucca: activities?

Mark: other than just to encourage everybody to go out and play, you know, go out and, you know, kick a ball around or, you know, do whatever it is that you like to do outside. That's fun. It's this is a great time of year in the Northern Hemisphere to be out under the sky and just really enjoying the great outdoors.

So, really encourage you to do that in whatever manner works best for you.

Yucca: Yeah. Well, thank you for joining us, everyone.

Mark: Lovely to, to have you with us. As always, thanks so much for supporting the podcast. And just a quick reminder, the conference that we're doing in June ticket sales are still registration is still open and will be until a few days before the conference. The. We'll, we'll put the link to how you get the information and register and all that kind of stuff in the show notes.

Yucca: And I will be doing a kids activity. So there will be an activity for kiddos if they want to come and join us for this, for that. So,

yeah.

Mark: Okay.

Thanks everybody.

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S4E14 TRANSCRIPT:----more----

Mark: Welcome back to the Wonder Science-based Paganism. I'm your host, mark,

Yucca: And I'm Yucca.

Mark: and today we are going to talk about children's activities for springtime. In most places by now spring has sprung and there are green shoots and leafing trees leafing out and flowers and the sweet smell in the air. And the weather has become, if not mild than milder. And it's, it's just a time for celebrating spring and.

And we often associate childhood with spring.

Yucca: Right. And I wanna say that before we get going, we're gonna be talking about kids, but a lot of these activities can be for kids of all ages, right? Just because we're going to be thinking about children doesn't mean you can't be your. 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, whatever age you are. Right? So if you've got kiddos in your life, that's awesome.

And if you just wanna feel a little bit young at heart, then that's great too. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah, that's a really important point I think, because I mean, at least as I celebrate the Wheel of the Year when there's a focus on children around the time of the spring e Equinox, and then going into young adulthood around mayday. It's, it's not only to celebrate those members of the community that are at those stages in their life, it's also to celebrate those qualities in ourselves, right?

We, you know, we all still have a kid inside us and that playfulness and Astonishment of discovery and kind of wonder and awe that that comes in a childlike view of the world are great things for all of us.

Yucca: Yeah, so this time of year we've. The new life or the waking up of life happening, the popping back in a lot of our holidays have to do with this reemergence of life and newness of things. Is there anything else that, that really speaks kid to you about this time of year?

Mark: The bright colors.

Yucca: Hmm mm-hmm.

Mark: You know, the colors of flowers, the, the mating plumage of birds the, the fruit trees leafing out and flowering and we associate bright colors with this. Both with childhood you know, those kind of primary colors that are used in a lot of children's toys and so forth. But also with this time of year with brightly colored eggs and jelly beans and things like that as well.

So, that's something else that I associate with this time of year is just really super colorful, bright color palette.

Yucca: Right. Yeah, I see that too. And for us also, the getting back outdoors. And our climate, this really is when we can be spending lots of time outdoors again. I mean, we, we do anyways, but it's far more pleasant to do it when it's not literally freezing, right? When you can go out and, oh, you don't have to have the shoes on and you can not worry about bundling up every, you can just go out, right?

You don't. Make it this whole ordeal to get them all wrapped up and to get you and the, you know, you can just go, there's just, there's a, there's a freedom, there's a just sort of, what's the word I'm looking for? Like

Mark: Well, there's, there's an exuberance that goes with that, right? I mean,

you, you feel that soft air on your skin.

Yucca: yeah.

Mark: You know, that wonderful soft spring air on your skin and after being indoors for months,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: that's a, a very pleasant change of pace.

Yucca: Yeah. Well, why don't we get into some of the things? Yeah.

Mark: okay. That's what I was gonna suggest. Let's do that.

Yucca: All right. Well, we were brainstorming a little bit before and came up with a huge list of stuff to get into and I'm sure that we'll miss some of the things.

Mark: will.

Yucca: but the first thing that really pops into my mind is the spring cleaning. I know you might think of this as more of like a grownup sort of thing.

But I think that at least for us, having the kids fully involved with all of the household activities is really important because they're part of our society too. Right. And if you want them to be able to do their laundry when they're 20, well, They need to start doing their laundry earlier on. They need to be part of that process, not have it be this huge ordeal when suddenly they're on their own and Oh goodness, right?

Like, no, they just, you know, they're part of the household. They're, they're involved in that. And so same thing with any other activity we're doing. And so the spring cleaning it, there's something about spring. I know it's cliche. There's, I think we've recognized it for a long time, that it's, you know, you're opening up the windows, you're letting that fresh air in.

There's that new beginnings happening in the outside world, and so we kind of bring that into the inside world. And I, I think it's really important for the, you know, their agency, their self agency and that, and getting to choose, okay, well, you know, let. Get rid of these things, they don't fit you anymore.

Is there one or two that you wanna save as a keepsake? And if so, where are you gonna fit that? Because there's a limited amount of space right there. Right. And just having them be part of that process and, you know, making it kind of a fun thing, I think is, is really powerful.

Mark: Sure. Yeah. When you've been closed up inside for months, things pile.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: just, just a lot of junk. You know, you, you put something down and forget about it and then two months later it's still there. Well, it's time to move that thing now.

Yucca: With three things on top of it.

Mark: well, yeah.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And one thing, you know, kids really like doing adult stuff.

They like being involved in things that feel real. Right. So, you know, you'll. You know, kids with like toy razors and, you know, stuff like that cuz they, they want to pretend to be adults

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: and so, you know, hey, why don't you help me clean out the garage is, I mean, you know, to an adult that may sound like I don't want to clean out the garage, but to a kid it's like, Hey, I get to clean out the garage.

Yucca: Yeah, I mean, it depends on how you sell it. Right. And it depends on what else they're doing. If you're saying, why don't you stop playing Minecraft right now and come do something else, you might not get the buy-in, right?

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: you, you gotta kind of think about how to do it and have it be an invitation. And I mean, it's such a tricky balance that, you know, every family figures out what works for them with their values and the particular people that are involved.

But for me, I, I try and be very careful about not making it a requirement. Right. Not making it this sort of, well, if they aren't, you know, if they don't wanna come work with me in the greenhouse, like that's okay. I wouldn't force my partner to do that. Right? So why would I, you know, force my kid to do it?

I don't wanna make it this obligation thing. And so there's a, there's some trust in there, right? That kind of has to be built between the people involved. And, but most of the time I find that it ends up is, you know, if I'm mindful about what space they're in, they often are pretty interested in coming and participating and doing.

You know, their share of it. That's not to say that we don't have things that are their responsibility, right? They certainly have their chores and things like that, but when it's inviting them to come do new things and learn new things and participate with, fully, participate in that, like the adult world of running the households making sure that it isn't this gloomy pressure thing I think is really important.

Mark: Yeah. And I think as you say, there are ways you can sell it. You know, if it's, if it's like, you know, in the morning at breakfast, The next three days are special days. They are spring cleaning days. We're going to, we're going to, you know, get our whole place together here. It's really exciting. So I'm gonna be working in the garage who'd like to help me?

Yucca: Yeah. And ooh. You get to pick out the music when we're in the garage, right? You're working with me in the garage, you're the one who gets to pick the song or you know, that kind of thing. And again, it's just always gonna depend on the particular person, because for some people that's exciting. And for others they're like, I get to pick out the music, so what, like, that doesn't mean anything to me.

Right. But, you know, yeah. But setting aside, it's that time. And. This is one thing that this kind of general parenting thing that we found because I know that a lot of other parents really struggle with the, ourselves included. I'm saying this is something that we as a society have is that struggle with the balance between screen and non-screen time.

That we try and set an expectation of, well, during the morning time, like that just isn't screen time. Nobody's doing screen. And the hardest thing is just if parents aren't doing screen, kids aren't doing screen. It's just not, that's not, when you do screen. Screen is something that happens in the afternoons and sometimes into the evening, but not at night.

Right. Like you just set up the expectation. And just kind of have to stick to it and, and be the, the model for it. And I always find that the hardest part. It's easy for me to like tell them what to do. Be like, you can't be on the screen. It's a lot harder for me to put mine away, but it's absolutely ineffective if I tell them not to do it while I'm sitting here doing it because they're not stupid.

Right. They have humans. Humans have a fierce sense of fairness. yeah. So,

Mark: Yeah, and you know, the, the, the concept of injustice is something that we developed very early.

Yucca: Oh,

Mark: Yeah. You know, if you're doing it and I'm not allowed to do it, there's something wrong.

Yeah. So one thing that, it occurs to me, because we were gonna talk in a moment about decorating the

house for, for the season.

Right. And it occurs to me, you can actually tie this to the spring cleaning piece, where it's like we clean it first and then we decorat.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Yeah.

Mark: to get to the fun, crafty decoration part, we gotta clean it first. And so it becomes, you know, a kind of a seamless project where the whole thing, you know, we're decorating, but of course to decorate we've gotta get this stuff out of the way first.

Yucca: Yeah, you, you gotta have a clean wall to do that with. Get rid of those hand prints. We all have those hand prints. You know what hand prints I'm talking about, right? Yeah. There's just so many of them everywhere, so I love that. Yeah. And again, just always making it into that kind of fun thing. The point of it is to, is I think of it as to be joyous, right?

That this is, this is life we get, you know, why is it that we want our houses to be clean well, so that it feels good to be in them, right? So that we're healthy so that we enjoy being in them so we can be productive. But why do we wanna be productive so that we can be happy, right? It all comes back to, you know, what's to.

Just enjoying the life that we have. Right. And, you know, we we're taking care of our loved ones, but again, so that they can be happy because we love them.

Mark: Really well said. Yeah, I, I think it's important to always, you know, root. Root, our actions, our re you know, and our recommendations of actions in exactly that, you know, how is this making your life better or how is this making the world better or both?

Right.

You know, those, those, those are the, you know, to, to my mind, those are the two edicts that we have being alive, you know, live a really full, joyous, amazing life and.

You know, leave something better than it was when you got here. And I mean, that's a very fulfilling kind of life to have. And so, yeah. Exactly. So

Yucca: Yeah, so there's the decorating, the spring decorating. I always think bringing some of what's happening in the outside world, into the inside world. I was just sharing with Mark earlier, our daffodils have just start, so we're recording on the 15th. So where I live, our daffodils just bloomed. And Mark, you were saying they were blue for you.

It was January, right?

Mark: of January. Yeah.

Yucca: Yeah. But a couple cut daffodils, you know, in, in a little. We don't have any fancy vs. So it's mason jar, right? So we have it sitting in a mason jar on the table and bringing in some of the things. We still have a lot of our feathers up and things like And just bringing some of the stuff from outside in.

And of course, my kids love bringing in rocks. We have piles of shiny rocks all over the place. The cat then goes and knocks down cuz they're the perfect size for knocking down. So in the middle of the night,

you're

Mark: You got a whole ecosystem going there.

Yucca: We do, yes. And then you step on them. And it just reminds you that you're alive when you step on rocks, brought in by children, knocked over by cats and all of that. I think the, that gets at just to re to remember also that, that. When it comes to kids, you just kind of gotta go with the flow with them sometimes.

And they're not gonna be perfect at things. They're learning. This is them learning for the first time. And we've had years and years of practice at everything from, you know, how to move our hands to regulating our emotions when we're disappointed and, and they haven't yet. And this is them learning to do that.

And so, It can be tricky to let go of some of the expectations of how it's gonna look and how well to get it done and just say it's okay. It, it's really okay. As long as it functions, as long as, you know, nobody's in danger and gonna get hurt and it's healthy. Right. You're not, it's not dirty to the extent that it's unhealthy or something like that.

It's okay. Right. You know? so, and I think that's good to remember with ourselves. Coming back to the, there being inner children and all of us just to, to give ourselves that Grace A. Little bit sometimes too. So

Mark: Yeah, that's, that's well said. I, I really agree with that.

Yucca: yeah.

Mark: you can bring in flowers from the outside. You can bring in like bows from a lilac bush that's blooming or cherry tree that's blooming. All of those things make for pretty nice sort of tabletop decorations. You can bring in bright, bright spring leaves.

I mean, we tend to think of leaves as being more of an autumn thing. But those bright green spring leaves, you can string 'em on. And hang them up or just use them sort of to carpet the horizontal surfaces in your, your house, whatever,

Yucca: Or a little clear bowl, like if a little glass bowl, put those in them. It, you know. Very beautiful. Yeah. So next, why don't we talk a little bit about crafts. So art, there's art and craft, right? And people are gonna, there, there, there's a vinn diagram there and where they overlap people is gonna depend on each person's preferences, right?

For me, I think about art as something that doesn't necessarily have a purpose other. Just the, the process of making it and the enjoyment of looking at it. Right. Whereas the craft has a, has another purpose behind it. Like a, kind of, the traditional kid craft is weaving the pot holder or something like that.

So you have the process of making it, but then it's also an object that has a, has a, a purpose afterwards. Right.

Mark: Uhhuh Uhhuh.

Yucca: so springtime, there's definitely lots of the sorts of, you know, making the bird feeder or that kind of outdoor sorts of things. What we look for is things that the kids can do that's important to the.

The household where they get to be part of what needs to happen, and that has a real purpose to it. Because again, coming back to they're, they're not, they're smart, right? They know when we're just making something up to give them busy work and they know when it's something that really matters and it's so important for their.

Like they're self-efficacy, right? To, to know that they are contributing and they are able to contribute. So when we can come up with things, tasks for them to do that can be uniquely theirs that are kind of crafty sort of things. I think that's a really nice opportunity. Right. And that's just gonna depend on what's happening in your, what your household is like.

What are you rural, urban, are you. Temperate, tropical. You know, all of those things are gonna vary.

Mark: Right. Although that said, bird feeders are a pretty good choice because there are birds pretty much everywhere

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: of one kind or another, and if you put out food for them, they will eat it.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: They, they, they will show up and they will eat it. We have a very active couple of bird feeders here at our place.

One for hummingbirds and one for PA birds, and yeah, they they sure go through that bird seed. It's amazing.

Yucca: Yeah. Well, and that's one of the, the jobs, which is my kids, they go out and they. They take out the bird seed and they clean the water dishes as well, because we we're in a very dry environment. So having water out is almost more important for our wildlife than. The bird, the seed, right? It's easier to find food than it is to find water.

But we wanna make sure that that's clean so that we're not spreading diseases, right? So they go out and they swap out, depending on the dish. We have a couple that they bring the dish in and we just swap it out every day, right? So it gets washed every day with the dishes and then it goes back out.

And and so that's one that that they know. If they don't do, then the birds. Get their food, the, then the chipmunks don't get their food and the squirrels

don't. Now, I could imagine for a kid who struggles with anxiety, that might not be the, a good fit for them, right? Where if they, that might be anxiety inducing.

But depending on the personality, you know, for mine, that that's something that is an empowering experience for them and just as, as their grownups, we just need to be kind of tuned into how is this? How is this likely to be received with the particular person that we're shepherding and, and helping?

Right.

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: But it's lovely for them to be like, oh, I haven't fed the birds yet. The poor things. They're gonna be so hungry. Right. And it's like all the eight in the mornings like, yeah, it's okay. You could go do it. They'll, they'll appreciate it.

Mark: they're not quite that fragile, but yes, you, you remembered and it's your job and that's great.

Yucca: So, and I think I shared my favorite one. This is not a spring activity, but just for a suggestion of types of activities that we did this year that worked out so lovely. Is our, our house We heat with passive solar and a wood stove. And so we have to light a fire in the cold months of the year.

And so in the fall, the, the kids gathered lots of little sticks and made the little Kindle bundles. And that was their job. And so, When every time we lit a fire, we were lighting it with the bundles that the kids made. Right? So that kind of activity, and that was just so lovely because every day it was something they, they're a little bit too young to actually be starting the fire on their own right.

We're really big on them doing. Doing lots of stuff in the household, but they're still, my, my oldest is only six and a half, so I th you know, wait a few years till she's lighting fires. But she still got to be part of that really important thing. And the littlest, he got to be part of that as well and get to feel like, wow, I contributed, I'm part of the family.

I'm important and. You know, I, I plan to be there as long as I can for them, right? I, I wanna make it to the triple digits if I can, but there will be a time when I'm not there to help them and they have to do it on their own, right? And so I want them to be as, as prepared for that as possible in a way that is as Smooth, right?

As, as could, can be, right? Because people, we'll figure out how to do it. Humans will figure out how to survive. But if it can be as painless a process as possible, I think that's nice.

Mark: I think so too. Yeah.

Yucca: then they can spend that effort on, on something else.

Mark: Mm-hmm. So yeah. So do you want to talk about other kinds of craft activities? I mean, the, the, the classic for this time of year is dying eggs.

Yucca: Absolutely.

Mark: It's a little late in the year this year for doing that. But it's still really cool especially if you use, especially if you use natural dyes. And.

There are techniques you can use to put like leaf prints on the sides of the eggs and stuff, really make them beautiful. And it just then, then you have hard boiled eggs you're going to eat. And just a little more color to your breakfast.

Yucca: Yeah, and you can also if you're using natural dyes, you can boil your eggs, peel them, then dye them. And then you actually, when you eat your eggs, you have colorful eggs. And that usually goes over pretty well with the kids,

Mark: I

Yucca: right? It, it won't go all the way through to get that top, you know, few millimeters or so.

So you get like the little ring and if you slice the eggs in the like discs, that's really nice.

Mark: Okay.

Yucca: oh, and doing deviled eggs and dying it different colors. That's really fun.

Mark: Okay.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: I can't imagine deviled eggs with blue blue yolk mixture.

Yucca: yes. Well, and if you, if you dye the the outside of it a little bit too, and this is, and this might be just a little kid thing, but a lot of kids that I've known really like when you, when you play, when you present the food in a more fun way. Right.

We, we we'll make little like scrambled eggs and I have cookie cutters and so I'll fry them in the pan in the cookie cutters.

So it's the shape of a T-Rex when they eat their eggs. Right? So much more fun. Now you have t-rex eggs, right? So, and you could definitely

Mark: And then,

Yucca: the sort of spring themed things, right?

Mark: then they can, they can tell their friends that they had dinosaur eggs for breakfast.

Yucca: Well, and they did My, my kids are very fond of telling me that chickens are dinosaurs,

Mark: Oh, okay. There you go.

Yucca: yeah.

Mark: They sure act like dinosaurs.

Yucca: Yep. Well, why don't we talk also about the outside stuff, because since spring, you know, this is when we can get back outside. There's all kinds of fun games. There's all the, you know, the classic childhood games.

You're capture the flag. Hide. Yeah, hide and seek. You know, setting up little like scavenger hunts. Oh, speak. As long as we're talking kids. One of the traditions that we have started doing now that, that we're in the losing teeth time period, is we don't do any of the like tooth fairy or Santa Claus or any of that because I'm uncomfortable with.

Lying about it. Right. And I know some peop that's just something that is not comfortable for me. So instead of having a tooth fairy come and give the kids money, we do a scavenger hunt every time they lose a tooth. And then there's something like a little prize at the end. Yeah.

Mark: Nice. Nice. So there's still a ceremonial recognition of this thing that's happened and a fun activity and a little reward. Yeah.

Yucca: For the, my oldest one, they lost their first tooth. They'd been asking for a watch for a while because I wear a watch. And I had been reluctant to give them a watch because the. Pretty rough with their hands and breaking things and all of that. But when they lost their tooth, I got a watch for them and that was their prize.

But each of the steps on the scavenger hunt was going to places where they have done things that they've been growing up and maturing in the family. So they went to the greenhouse where they help water the plants and we went out to the wood pile where they help go get wood and out to the bird feeder.

Where they feed the bird. Right. And going from spot to spot with a little note about like, How you've been contributing and growing up. And then at the end, they got to get their watch. They were mature enough and that they had shown they were mature and old enough to get their watch when they lost their first tooth and all of that.

Mark: Oh, that's love.

Yucca: so so I think that they're with families, it's, there's so much. Possibility. And it's just, it's coming up with ideas like that. It's just you get to play, right. Play with these ideas of what, what is it? And, and bringing in some of the silliness to it or the fun, you know, I tried to write as teeny, teeny tiny as I could with that, right?

Cuz we were, pretend we were playing with the tooth fairy thing. She's very insistent though that that stuff doesn't exist. She's. You know, we don't believe in God's. They're important stories, but we don't believe in them. And the tooth fair is kind of like a God, but not really. Because I don't have any books about her.

And I'm like, okay, well we could give you a book about her. So, but coming back to the, the outside stuff, I think that getting outside, playing outside and something that we don't, it's amazing how much we don't have of this in our modern lives, but just having free unstructured time is just so critical.

important for littles and really important for adults too. Just to be able to be out and just do whatever your curiosity leads you to, or notice that butterfly that's going there, or, you know, enjoy. Taking that stick and seeing how many times you can break it in half, whatever it is that coming up with your adventure games, your make-believe stories about how you can transform into a giant snake or whatever it is.

It's just so, so important for kids. And the spring just feels like perfect for that because we, you cannot do all, you can do that stuff inside, but there's something very different about being outside out of the physical structure. Right. Out of these boxes that we live in, these literal boxes, right?

If you're inside, I'm guessing that there, a few of you might be listening to this on a walk right now, but the vast majority of of people listening, I bet you're inside a box right now. You're inside a metal box, which is your car. You're inside a, a wooden frame box, which is your house, or maybe it's concrete or steel.

But we spend a lot of time in these really defined structures that just feel very, very different than being outside with. Messy lines and flowing forms that are moving because there's a little bit of wind going through them in the clouds and there's just so much more,

I don't even know the words, but you know, it's, it's outside is messy. Right.

Mark: Yeah. There's so much more to experience out there, obviously.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: It's, it's always moving and changing. The sky is always changing. And it's full of those shaggy fractal shapes, right? The repeating patterns that make up the shape of a, of a coniferous tree or a particular kind of shrub or whatever it is, and having those kinds of patterns.

For some reason is very reassuring to people. It's good for our mental health to see those kinds of things and we find them very beautiful which is, it's good for us. The experience of beauty is good for us. So, while you're outside, you might want to have something to drink. So I have a recipe for raspberry lemonade.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: And so let me give you this, it's pretty, should be pretty simple. You can jot it down, you know, you can stop the podcast, jot things down, and then continue. It is tasty and refreshing childlike beverage for spring.

So, what I'm, what I'm about to, to tell you about serves 12.

Yucca: Ooh.

Okay.

Mark: So you need three quarters of a cup, and I'm not gonna give the metric conversions. I've got 'em, but I'm, I'm not gonna give them three quarters of a cup of fresh or thawed, frozen raspberries, nine cups of water, two cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice, which is about 12 lemons, and then two cups of very fine or powdered.

Which is less than was in the original recipe that I adapted this from. Because I like my, my lemonade kind of tart. I don't like it. Super sweet.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: So you puree the raspberries in a blender and strain them through a siv to take the seeds out into a pitcher, and then you add everything else and whisk it together until the sugar dissolves and pour over ice and. It's very simple, but it's delicious. Really, really good. And if you need an adult version of this, it goes well with vodka.

Yucca: Yeah. And with the sugar you could probably put less in, taste it, and then just keep adding to taste.

Mark: Yes, that's a, that's a good idea because people have different amounts of tolerance for sugar, different amounts of, of taste for sugar, so

Yucca: But it seems like it's such a simple, easy recipe that you can just add in as you need. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: Yep. And it's, it's a delicious, tasty beverage to have on one of those warm spring days.

Yucca: Yep.

Mark: When kids have been running around and running around and running around and running around and they're finally starting to flag, might be time to plunk them down and have something with some electrolytes in it and you know, get some water into

'em.

Yucca: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And then before we know it, it'll be the hot time of year, right?

Mark: yep. Yep, indeed. It's not far off for sure.

Yucca: Hmm. Well, is there anything else, mark, that we should touch on in our

Mark: You know, not that I can think of

Yucca: activities?

Mark: other than just to encourage everybody to go out and play, you know, go out and, you know, kick a ball around or, you know, do whatever it is that you like to do outside. That's fun. It's this is a great time of year in the Northern Hemisphere to be out under the sky and just really enjoying the great outdoors.

So, really encourage you to do that in whatever manner works best for you.

Yucca: Yeah. Well, thank you for joining us, everyone.

Mark: Lovely to, to have you with us. As always, thanks so much for supporting the podcast. And just a quick reminder, the conference that we're doing in June ticket sales are still registration is still open and will be until a few days before the conference. The. We'll, we'll put the link to how you get the information and register and all that kind of stuff in the show notes.

Yucca: And I will be doing a kids activity. So there will be an activity for kiddos if they want to come and join us for this, for that. So,

yeah.

Mark: Okay.

Thanks everybody.

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