Plant the idea of spring, even as the snow flies

Granted, in many parts of the U.S., winter’s icy fingers keep tap, tap, tapping at the window. But one of these days in the not-so-distant future, it really will be spring. Really. Until its much-anticipated appearance, help kids--and grown-ups, too--jump-start the season with color, crafts, and creativity.

Visit the Hands On as We Grow blog, created by Jamie Reimer, former marketing manager, and now stay-home mom of three boys. Among many terrific ideas, find “36 Simple Spring Crafts for Kids,” including Water Color Coffee Filter Flowers and a Rainbow Scavenger Hunt for Clues.

Yearning for the real thing when it comes to flowers? Try forcing crocus, tulip, hyacinth, daffodil, or narcissus bulbs indoors. Some bulbs need a few weeks of chilling first, but some less than others. Better Homes and Gardens offers a great ‘how to’. Want to sprout something edible fast? Watch this You Tube clip on how to grow bean sprouts in a jar.

For those moments when “hands on” means digital, give preschoolers an app that celebrates their creativity, as they learn letters, shapes, and numbers with I Like to Paint! They can choose a picture to “paint” from one of five image galleries that feel like spring: Mammals, Nature, Favorite Foods, Fun Characters, and Things That Go, each with 16 pictures. Pick a monster truck, a prancing pony, or bird’s nest. Then select Paint by Letters, Paint by Numbers, or Paint by Shapes. It’s easy! Like the final result? Share it with Grandma or others by Facebook or e-mail without even leaving the app.

Share your "think spring" ideas!