Helping children welcome spring season
Adults can help their children discover the changing seasons by sharing the excitement of watching for signs of spring. You will need vases, water, sprigs of bushes and trees, books about spring and seasons.
Read some books together about spring. Talk about the seasons. Then on a nice day take a walk in your yard or neighborhood. Look for signs of spring. On rainy days notice how water runs downhill, forms puddles of water when it is backed up by sticks, or soaks into sand. Push away mulch in the flower garden and look for any bulbs sending up shoots. Are there any very early flowers blooming? Can you find any green grass? Are farmers or gardeners preparing to plant?
Cut some branches off a few bushes like willows or dogwood and bring them inside where it is warmer. If you cut some forsythia branches, they should produce yellow flowers. Put the branches in a vase of water. Notice how the branches have little closed buds. If you have time, take a photo or draw and color a picture that shows the branches on the first day. Over the next week or two, watch what is happening to the branches and keep the vase filled with fresh water. Where is the water going? Talk about the buds getting bigger and becoming leaves. You could take another photo or draw a final picture to show what has happened. Later, on a warm day, check around the yard to see if the buds are growing on the trees or if any new leaves are appearing. Check around the garden to see if spring flowers are blooming. Take along a magnifying glass for a closer look.
Check what is happening in the flower beds. Are the bulbs growing? Are there some flower buds beginning to show? Watch for birds building nests or finding worms for their new babies. Can you find any bugs flying or crawling around? What is the weather like in spring? What happened to the snow? When can you plant vegetables or flowers in the garden?
Provide children with a small rake to help carefully remove old leaves. They can pick up sticks in the lawn and count them during spring clean up. Winter leaves paper and other garbage behind. Spring is a good time to fill a bag with litter during neighborhood walks. Write down the different kinds of garbage you find. Can some of it be recycled?
How Will This Help My Child?
Children will be learning to observe nature. They will be developing new vocabulary words about seasons and parts of a plant, as well as first-hand knowledge about the changing seasons. For more, see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com; wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Season; Facebook, and Pinterest.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.