Thinking About Spring

Child examining flowers with a magnifying glass

Spring will officially occur at some point this month.  Though one can never really predict the weather (though the tv weather people seem to be getting better at it with all the technology available to them) you can be pretty certain that March, the month when spring springs, will contain a variety of wind, rain, sun and sometimes a bit of snow.  Here are a couple of activities to add to your ‘looking forward to spring’ days.

LOOKING FOR SIGNS OF SPRING

Exploring and talking about signs of spring:

As children come into your classroom, ask them what they think are signs of spring.  Write their responses on chart paper,  a white board, or better yet, individual pieces of construction paper.  At circle time, read a book about signs of spring/spring weather.  All of these books can serve as springboards to a variety of spring and weather activities.  You may already have your favorites but here are a few suggestions:

  • And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
  • Flowers and Showers by Rebecca Fjelland Davis
  • My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell
  • The Thing About Spring by Daniel Kirk
  • Wind by Carol Thompson
  • Feel the Wind by Arthur Dorros
  • The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins
  • It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw
  • Gilberto and the Wind by Marie Hall Ets
  • The Rain Came Down by David Shannon

At free play or choice time children might choose one sign of spring to illustrate at the art center.  Use their pictures as posters in your classroom.

Take a ‘signs of spring walk’ outdoors.  Use clipboards to have children draw what they see and/or make maps of things they see.  Use the maps to revisit the spot on another day.

Rain and wind process art:

Materials:

  • Blue tempera paint mixed with a bit of water (so it easily drips)
  • Blank sheet of white construction paper
  • Small eye droppers
  • Straws

Using the eye droppers, children can drop paint onto the paper to make puddles.  When they are finished making puddles they can use the straws to blow…create wind…on the drops.  Depending on how hard or soft the children blow the paint, it will spatter into patterns similar to how water will spatter when the wind blows on it (or when we stomp in a puddle.)

Take advantage of the language possibilities.  Do thick blobs of paint move faster or slower than the thinner blobs?  What happens when you blow through the straw in one direction/a different direction?  As the paint spreads out does it stay the same color?

Growing grass

An early sign of spring is new grass beginning to shoot up on lawns.  Children can experience the growth of grass from seed with planting and caring for grass in clear containers.

Materials:

  • Plastic cup or clear container for planting;
  • Tray to hold containers
  • Potting soil
  • Toy shovel or measuring cup
  • Grass seed
  • Water
  • Watering can or water spray bottle
  • Craft sticks
  • Permanent marker

Have the children fill their cups ¾ of the way to the top with potting soil using the shovel or measuring cup.  If you don’t have clear cups or are averse to adding more plastic to the environment you can use school milk cartons or yogurt containers. The disadvantage is that the children will not be able to observe the roots.

Invite the children to sprinkle grass seed on top of the dirt. Planting grass seed is not an exact science; no specific measurements are necessary. The more seeds that are sprinkled on top of the dirt, the more grass will grow. Place a little more dirt on top of the seeds and use the marker to write each child’s name on their cup.  Have them care for their grass by watering, preferably with the spray bottle.  Place the cups in a sunny spot in your classroom and watch the grass grow.

This activity is perfect for discussing science concepts around agriculture, and building vocabulary…things seeds need to grow like soil, water, and sunlight.  Talk about roots and sprouts and sprouting.    Encourage children to make pictures of their grass as it grows to see the process or take pictures each day to display and talk about.

A fun book to read to help children understand the concepts is Planting Seeds by Kathryn Clay. (This idea came from Vanessa Levin’s PreK Pages on Pinterest.)

Finally, here’s a favorite spring song of mine…one that you can…or the children can…insert signs of spring. Don’t worry about the tune…you can probably use any tune you or the children are familiar with…experiment a bit.  It goes like this:

The flowers are blooming, the flowers are blooming, the flowers are blooming

I know, I know it’s spring.

Think of other things you can insert for the first line…blowing wind, pouring rain, or even our grasses are sprouting!