As early childhood educators and caregivers, we have all witnessed how children become bursting bundles of energy as the seasons change, eagerly awaiting outdoor adventures. Referred to as Spring Fever, this excitement provides us with an excellent opportunity to cultivate growth, resilience, and discovery through risky play and outdoor activities.

This excitement that you see in children as Spring Fever arrives is more than just a fleeting feeling; it is an essential part of children’s explorative nature. While it may seem like some children are restless and fidgety, the transition from winter to spring presents us with the perfect opportunity to channel that enthusiasm into play that is both structured and unstructured.

Understanding “Spring Fever” in Early Childhood Settings

Spring Fever can show up through a variety of behaviours, from excitement and restlessness, to feeling settled and lethargic. All of these diverse reactions are interwoven with the warmer temperatures, changes in routines, and a sprout of physical growth that children are experiencing. The first way to transform those behaviours into learning is first through observing them.

At our childcare centres, this natural curiosity and urge to stay active is met by infusing our programming with risky play in the great outdoors. This thrilling and exhilarating play, where there is a chance of a small physical injury, serves an important role in the development of children. It allows them to test the limits they have, gain confidence, strengthens their problem-solving skills, and much more!

Strategies for Embracing Spring Fever

Merging Routines and Flexibility: While Spring Fever can create a varied number of routines, we try to strike a balance by keeping our days generally structured and changing them when necessary to head outside on a whim. That could mean more time outside than normal on a particularly warm day, or a complete exchange of indoor activities for outdoor explorations!

Make Comfort a Priority: Transitioning from winter to spring/summer clothing can be a tricky time. Parents and caregivers should dress their children in comfortable clothing appropriate for the season so they can jump, run, and explore the outdoors, even if it is a bit messy or they get wet. Remind parents about the change to seasonally appropriate, outdoor-ready clothing in upcoming communiques.

Be Aware of Health and Growth: In the spring, allergies and growing children can certainly affect energy levels and fine/gross motor skills. Paying close attention to this allows us to be sure all children are able to participate and enjoy the outdoors safely and at their ability level.

Foster Risky Play: It is important to brainstorm how to create environments that promote risky play, environments that are challenging yet safe. You can involve your staff in idea engineering such environments or create a committee to propose a riskier play environment outside.

This may include having climbing structures, balancing beams, and spaces where children can use their imaginations to transform a simple object into anything they like (a cardboard box comes to mind). They are able to learn how to assess and navigate risks during risky play, a skill they then take and use throughout their whole life. It is one of the most crucial things a child can learn, and risky play is the ideal place to do it. The best-case scenario – an adventure filled with possibility that mitigates the odds of an injury.

Be Present: It will come as no surprise that Spring Fever is all about being in the moment, encouraging children and adults to embrace the season with all of their senses. Why not revel in the sensation of the tickling grass beneath your toes, engage your senses to immerse in the aroma of freshly bloomed leaves, or allow the symphony of birdsong to transport your spirit? These are the moments that forge an enduring bond with Mother Nature.

Spring Fever transcends mere seasonal enthusiasm; it beckons us to embrace the outdoors, even if it means traversing muddy paths. It is a time to seize opportunities, foster growth, and embark on daring adventures!

Happy Spring!

Warm regards,


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