Here are a few ideas and resources for sharing the enchantment of Spring with the children in your life:
Take a “Signs of Spring” Walk or Ride
Next time you are on a walk, bike ride, or even a car ride, make a list together of all of the signs of Spring you can see, hear, or smell: budding trees, fragrant flowers, bird songs, and so on. You just might be surprised what your kids will notice. My son and I did this on the way to school on the first day of spring. We only counted 5 signs of spring. (By the way, it was 32 degrees F that morning.) Then, we did it again this morning and we counted 14 signs of spring, which reminds me of this quote:
The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month. - Henry Van Dyke
Fill the Feeders
Set up several different kinds of bird feeders and with various types of feed near a window at home or at school. Notice the different types of birds that visit the feeders. Kids enjoy learning the names of birds and feel a connection to them when they begin to recognize the birds in the area. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has free mini-posters you can download and print that show pictures and names of the birds in your area. We tape the posters right on the window where we can see our feeders. It’s fun to figure out what types of birds we are seeing and whether they are male or female. http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/FreeDownloads.htm
Don’t let the mud keep you from going outside! Designate a pair of “muddy shoes” for the season. Tromp through the mud and feel it squish beneath your feet. Look closely at the ground to see if you can notice anything sprouting. Lift up some rocks and see if you can find any insects, slugs, worms, or other invertebrates crawling around.
In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.- Margaret Atwood, from Bluebeard’s Egg
Name a Tree
Watching a tree change throughout the seasons is a great way to connect with nature. Choose a tree in your yard, the school playground, or any place you spend time on a regular basis, and ask your kids to give it a name. We chose a maple tree in the front yard, which our son named “April” (not after the month, but after the character on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). In the mornings on the way to the car, one of us will say, “Let’s go check on April.” So far, we’ve noticed some things about this tree that we have never noticed before, like all of the red buds on the tree contain 5 small parts and inside of them is a small green leaf. Here’s a photo I took of “April the Maple” this morning. We’re looking forward to watching the dramatic changes our tree will go through this Spring.
I would love to hear your ideas about sharing Spring with your children and/or students. You can post them on the Next Time You See Facebook page: www.facebook.com/NextTimeYouSee.