Signs of Spring : Preschool Unit
Spring is finally here. Today a huge group of bloggers are sharing various ways to Teach Our Children about the Earth. This time of year, when the world starts to look more green and colorful and the days are longer and warmer is a great time to explore our world. To me, time in our natural environment is an important part of childhood and of parenting. This is the time of year for hours in the backyard, nature hikes, and lots of playground climbing. If your child is showing an interest in the budding signs of spring, here are some fun ways to take advantage of their curiosity. (Make sure to check the bottom of the post for a Free printable lesson plan!)
Our learning often begins with an adventure. These real life experiences make the stories in books and ideas in pictures take shape and have meaning for young children. For a Spring adventure;
*Go for a nature walk and look for signs of spring. Collect rocks or take pictures of flowers and bugs.
*Go for a rainy day walk or puddle walk. Explore puddles and experience the rainy side of Spring first hand.
*Go for a Flower walk and collect a rainbow of colors.
*Head to the Plant Store and gather supplies to do some planting.
While you are on your adventure, pay attention to:
*What your child notices.
*What do they talk about on the ride or walk home?
*Does any theme from your trip get repeated in their pretend play?
Try to expand on these interests or their questions by reading books, doing activities or going on further adventures together. Here are some ideas that go with common toddler and preschool interests about Spring.
This is an obvious Spring activity. This is a great way to explore what plants need to grow and develop self help skills while you care for your own budding plants. I shared some tips for planting with toddlers and watering plants with kids in the past and this year my daughter is especially interested in flowers. I recently shared about our Planting Project for preschoolers that focused on her interest in flowers. Here are some general tips for planting with kids:
Set Up: Prepare a planting station for each child. Each should have newspaper to cover surface. Small pot for each type of seed. Packets of seeds unopened, nearby. Have a large bowl or two of dirt with measuring scoops to be shared. Have a watering can on hand.
Activity: Have them scoop dirt into their pot. Demonstrate how to poke a hole for the seeds and then invite them to try. Put seeds in holds. This does not need to be perfect, but try to have them spread out. Scoop more dirt to cover the seeds. Have them fill up watercan (or cup) at sink to water their seeds. Place the pots in a sunny spot.
Clean Up: Wash their hands. Remove pot of dirt and paper from the table. Sweep the floor. Remember to have your child water their plants a few times a week.
Sorting by Color
After the constant brown and white of Winter, color is one of my favorite parts of Spring. Learning to recognize and sort by color are important early learning goals and Spring seems like the ideal time to tackle these items.
Set Up: Gather items of different spring colors. If you are able to, do this on a nature walk together. Photos of items work as well, but real materials are preferable. Another option is to sort crayons and then color with shades a chosen color. Depending on your child’s age you could pick two or three colors or more if they are older.
Activity: Invite them to help you sort your findings. Start with a color, “I see a green piece of grass, do you see anything green?” and go from there.
Clean Up: Gather materials and place them in a basket on a low shelf for repeated exploration.
Rainy Day Mirror Painting
We love painting on different surfaces and one of our favorites is on the mirror. This painting activity can be done inside or outside. Given our interest in weather, painting outside with the clouds and sky reflecting in the mirror is especially fascinating.
Set Up: Lay Floor Covering out with mirror on top | Place cups with paint and paintbrushes around the mirror | Have Paint Shirts Available
Activity: Open-ended painting activity. Encourage your child to mix colors and talk about what they are doing. Ex Question – it looks like you are mixing those colors, can you tell me about what you see?
Clean Up: Have child wash hands. Place painting materials on mirror and remove mirror until you have time to wash. Put floor cover in washing machine with paint shirts.
If your children are like mine, Spring and Summer are the times of year when their pockets, your pockets, and the floor of your car are filled with rocks that get collected in various places. Here are some simple and fun ways to examine these little treasures.
Set Up: Prepare station for child or several children. Each station a mirror with a pile of rocks on top, several containers and ball of playdo or clay.
1. Start with rocks and mirrors. Encourage the child to examine rocks. Observe what interests them and ask questions such as “how does it feel on your arm?” “you are looking closely. Tell me what you see”
2. Invite the child to help you sort the rocks. Sort into smooth and rough or my other category.
3. Explore how the texture of rocks interacts with clay. Some things to try: push the rock into the clay. Build with rocks and clay.
Clean Up: Wash the rocks and store them on the shelf next to the clay for further exploration.
If we are being honest we know that mud is one of the best parts of Spring for kids. I am not super comfortable with a big mess, but I have to admit that this is one of the most fun activities we have ever done. It is super fun, but if you are hoping for a little less mess try containing it in a smaller bin or the sensory table. Doing this outside is highly encouraged.
Set up: Gather the materials and have a clean up plan and supplies ready. Are you going to hose your kids off? Put them in a bath?
Activity: Invite your child to help you make mud. Scoop dirt into big bowls or the sensory table. Fill containers with water and pour into the soil. Mix with your hands and spoons. Explore! They are exploring texture, capacity, weight, and more.
Clean Up: Pour mud into preexisting muddy areas (garden?) Hose down what is remaining and your child. Wrap your child in a towel and carry them to the bathtub.
CLICK IMAGE BELOW
TO VIEW AND DOWNLOAD A FREE LESSON PLAN FOR THIS UNIT:
comments powered by Disqus