Daylight Savings in fall used to be my favorite day of the year. Get an extra hour of sleep? YES please! Fast forward, and now I have kids. Two little ones, 2 years old and 6 months old, and I dread when we have to move the clock. But after practicing later sleep times and getting creative when my oldest did wake up earlier (or slept through the extra hour, praise!), I don’t dread this weekend anymore 🙂 And you don’t have to, either!
Read below for some fun tips on owning, surviving, and thriving through your fall-back daylight savings weekend, along with learning tools and craft ideas to make the most out of your evenings when it gets dark earlier:
FIRST THINGS FIRST: plan ahead for Sunday morning
Just accept the fact that your little kids might not sleep in a whole extra hour to wake up at their “normal” time. And that’s okay! To make the most out of the time change, figure out what your game plan is if your kids’ sleep gets wonky.
Have breakfast prepped, their clothes picked, and an engaging activity out in the living room waiting for them. And be ready to embrace the day! If you still have time before your day starts, go on a family walk or head to the park for a little romp. Start off with a bang, that way your kids won’t feel restless or bored in the morning.
Ideas to keep your kids entertained inside (and outside!)
when it gets dark outside earlier
The biggest thing I had to figure out was what to do with my energetic (and easily bored) little one once it got dark outside at 4:45pm. Yikes! It felt like it was too dark to go outside and do anything – but I learned that was not the case 🙂 There’s plenty of fun things to do in the evening before and after dinner! Check out these ideas below on what to do with kids during the evening after we fall back for daylight savings:
1. Go on an evening/dusk nature walk
Nature walks are loads of fun with little ones. Make it at night, and it’s an adventure! Bring flashlights and head lamps, and watch/listen for bugs and night animals! Owls, bats, crickets, fireflies, and frogs are all active at night. It’s exciting for little ones to experience these sounds (and sights, if they’re lucky!).
–Make it a learning experience: read a book about nocturnal animals beforehand, to learn about what comes out after dusk.
–Make it come to life: make paper insects with this sensory craft by Woven Childhood
2. Have a star/moon gazing party
My two year old is obsessed with finding the moon and saying goodnight to it before bed. My husband and I have the moon phase tattooed onto our arms, and she likes to match the moon phase in the sky to the one on either mine or my husband’s arm. For even more fun, use the SkyView app to find constellations and planets.
–Make it a learning experience: teach your child about the moon phases! Talk about weaning and waxing, full moon, new moon, and what the moon might look and feel like if they could walk on it in real life.
–Make it come to life: Make this simple lunar phase craft by Woven Childhood, and click here for a video tutorial of a lunar mobile to make with your kiddos!
3. Have a camp out in the yard or patio
Kids love anything out of the ordinary. Especially when ordinary experiences become extraordinary 🙂 Such as, a camp out in the living room, backyard, or patio! You can make a fort, or bring out the tent for the full effect. Plan to eat dinner (and dessert!) outside – you can roast s’mores and hot dogs, and lay out blankets and pillows to combine your night with #2 (above).
–Make it a learning experience: teach your littles the basics of cooking. Help them roast over a flame, assemble their meal, feed you or their sibling (for fun), and talk about the texture and shape of their food.
–Make it come to life: have them design their own place mat with drawings (or cut outs on construction paper glued down) of their favorite foods.
4. Nighttime bike ride
This would be a fun way for them to get energy out before bedtime, when they’re feeling “bored” or restless. Take out the bikes, scooters, helmets, and the dog for an evening ride around the park, lake, or trail near you. Make it fun and have a race between parents and kids, or make it festive and head to a nearby friends house with some baked goodies. Nothing says fall/winter hospitality like sharing good food with friends 🙂
–Make it a learning experience: Talk about “things that go.” Point out different cars and name their colors, make it a game and find things that start with letters of the alphabet (A for acorn on the ground, B for slug bug, C for cat under a car, D for etc.)
–Make it come to life: Bake cookies, muffins, or bars and bring them to a friends house. Call ahead and turn it into a pre-bedtime play date!
5. Play pretend with cardboard
Kids + cardboard box(s) = unlimited possibilities. Bonus points if you still have little ones in diapers, because you have cardboard boxes at your disposal! Use them to build towers, color the inside to look like a space ship/castle/car/etc., and let your little ones create. My husband loves making rocket ships out of cardboard boxes for our toddler (I’m talking cut out flames, handles, and everything).
–Make it a learning experience: Talk about what you’re making! Little ones love to engage their imaginations, and especially so when mom and dad play along. Talk about how big the ship is that you’re building, the colors, the buttons, where you’re going, who you’ll see, and watch their eyes glimmer with the magic of childhood.
–Make it come to life: Help them use scissors to cut, cut tape to assemble, and use extra “parts” to add on to their box. Toilet paper rolls and construction paper make for awesome additions 🙂
Which ones are you going to do with your kids tomorrow and this week?
Photos by: Woven Childhood – one of my favorite accounts to follow for homeschool and nature-based education ideas.