Teach your preschooler about the four seasons or review them with your older child more scientifically by having a Seasons Theme Day. Have fun exploring what seasons make up a year.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
Listen to some classical music, specifically Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Have your child guess which season is being represented by the music.
“The Seasons,” by Loreena McKennitt gives a beautiful summary of what the four seasons are all about.
“Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season)” sung by the Byrds would fit this Theme Day. There is a lovely picture book with the words of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 taken from the King James Bible To Everything There Is a Season, by Jude Daly that could be a good companion to the song.
“Thirty days hath September” Check here for words: http://www.rhymes.org.uk/thirty_days_hath_september.htm
For spring try “Rain Rain Go Away.” http://www.rhymes.org.uk/rain_rain_go_away.htm
You can find many free coloring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Seasons Coloring Page” or print out my “The Four Seasons” Coloring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
NOTE: I had my 5 year old son do the journal entry last (after reading books about the seasons and all the other crafts and activities). He wanted to try to spell the words himself without help.
Write out one or more of the following questions in the family notebook or on a piece of paper to glue in your family scrapbook: What are the four seasons? What is your favourite season of the year and why?
Choose the level of your child:
¨ Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
¨ Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well. You could also have him sound out the words himself or write the letters as you dictate them (it depends on your child’s skill level and age).
¨ Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
¨ Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
¨ Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
¨ As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or a poem about the four seasons.
Print out my Easy Four Season Word Search and help your preschooler/ Kindergartener find the words.
Check here for the answer key: Easy Four Seasons Word Search
Older siblings my like to try the Difficult Four Seasons Word Search
Check here for the answer Key: Difficult Four Seasons Word Search Key.
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books on or about the four seasons.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about the seasons.
Go to the library on your own to find books about the four seasons from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject. Reserve them if you can to save time.
Here are nonfiction/learning titles about the seasons:
· All About the Seasons, by Joanne Randolph, PowerKids Press, 2008—This simple bookoffers photographs of children throughout the seaons and simple rhyming text.
· Earth’s Cycles: The Seasons Cycle, by Cheryl Jakab, Smart Apple Media, 2007—A thorough yet easy to read book about the four seasons.
· The Greenwhich Guide to the Seasons, by Graham Dolan, Royal Observatory Greenwich, 2001—This offers more science for grade schoolers as it looks at the tilt of the earth in a little more detail but is still really accessible.
· The Reason for Seasons, by Gail Gibbons, Holiday House, 1995—with bright illustrations and easy to understand text, this book looks at the four seasons and the position of the earth around the sun among other things.
· Seasons, by Claire Llewellyn, Sea-toSea, 2007—This is a beginner reader’s book or for small children as it offers simple text, photographs and a discussion question on each page.
Here are some picture books about the four seasons:
· A Bunny For All Seasons, by Janet Schulman and illustrated by Meilo So, Alfred A. Knopf, 2003—Watercolour illustrations accompany this gentle story about a bunny visiting a garden through the seasons.
· Hello, Squirrels! Scampering Through the Seasons, by Linda Glaser and illustrated by Gay W. Holland, Millbrook press, 2006—The seasons are explored through the eyes of squirrels.
· In the Small, Small Pond, by Denise Fleming, Henry Hold and Company, 1993 – Bright illustrations and simple rhyming text shows the activities of various creatures living near and in a small pond as the seasons pass.
· Our Seasons, by grace Lin and Ranida T. McKneally and illustrated by Grace Lin, Charlesbridge, 2006—This book has a number of different haikus for each season and offers some science too by anwering seasonsal questions like “why do leaves change color?,” “what is snow?,” “Why do bees like flowers?,” and “why do I tan?”
· Seasons: Change in the Natural World, Play Bac Publishing, 2009—This beautiful book offers bright photographs and poems that present different aspects of each season.
· Snowy Flowy Blowy: A Twelve Months Rhyme, by Nancy Tafuri (based on an old poem by Gregory Ganger), Scholastic Press, 1999—There are large illustrations for each month showing the passing seasons and one descriptive word for each month.
· When the Earth Wakes, by Ani Rucki, Scholastic Press, 1998—With playful illustrations this book follows a bear and cub through the seasons.
THE FOUR SEASONS HOLIDAY COLLAGE:
Materials: a copy of my The Four Seasons Holiday Collage Worksheet, various stickers that depict different holidays throughout the year ( thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, snowflakes, Easter eggs, Suns, Flowers, beach stuff, etc.).
NOTE: If you’ve already done a lot of our Theme Days you will have a great assortment of stickers already. If you have not done many Theme Days yet and are just beginning, you may still want to invest in some of these stickers as you will be sure to use them again in the future if you choose to do more of our Theme Days.
NOTE: As well, these stickers are great to use to make easy homemade cards.
Step 1: Discuss what holidays take place in each season. (You may want to do the Learning Activities below first or you can use this sticker collage as the first step before you do those activities.)
Step 2: Help your child sort the stickers and place in them in the appropriate spot. We choose to do one season at a time.
Step 3: Display or glue in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
FOUR SEASONS HANDPRINTS:
Materials: Orange paint, blue paint, pink paint (or red and white paint mixed together), and yellow paint, a piece of waxed paper or a paper plate to put the paint on, paint brushes, 2 pieces of white paper, a piece of coloured paper for the background (your child’s choice), child safe scissors, glue stick, newspapers or plastic to cover the table, art smock or old clothes to wear, a basin with water and some soap for easy washing if you are not close to a bathroom.
Step 1: Put a glob of each colour of paint on the wax paper or paper plate. Discuss which colour best represent which season and why (orange is for the changing leaves, blue is for the cold ice of winter, pink is for the pretty flower buds in spring, yellow is for the bright hot sun of summer).
Step 2: Help your child paint one hand one of the colours and then gently press the hand on the white paper to make a hand print.
Step 3: Either help your child wash that hand immediately or use the other hand and paint it another colour. Then gently press that hand on the white paper to make a second hand print.
Step 4: Help your child wash both hands and then help him/her paint one hand a third colour. Again, gently press the painted hand on white paper (second sheet) to make a third hand print.
Step 5: Either help your child wash that hand or use the other hand and paint it the last colour. One last time press the painted hand onto the white paper to make a forth hand print.
Step 6: Help your child wash up again and then let the prints dry before proceeding to the next step.
Step 7: Either cut the dried hand prints out yourself or let your child do it himself/herself if able.
Step 8: Apply glue with a glue stick and let your child glue the hand prints onto a piece of coloured paper.
Step 9: Review the colours associated with each season and then display or glue in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
Materials: Pink, green orange, brown and yellow or blue paper, child safe scissors, a small bowl to trace around, a pencil, glue-stick, a damp cloth for sticky fingers, crayons or markers.
Step 1: Using a pencil trace around a small bowl on the pink, green, orange and brown paper to create four circles of the same size.
Step 2: Fold each circle in half so that they will flip up when glued correctly.
Step 3: Have your child draw brown twigs on the brown paper to represent the tree in the winter when there are no leaves on it.
Step 4: Have your child draw orange red and brown leaves on the orange paper to represent the tree in the autumn when the leaves turn different colours.
Step 5: Have your child draw green leaves on the green paper to represent the tree in the summer when the tree is full and lush.
Step 6: Have your child draw pink flowers (or use a stamp with flowers as we did) on the pink paper to represent the tree in the spring when the flower buds appear.
Step 7: Cut out a trunk shape from the brown paper and a green strip or hill for below the trunk and have your child glue both onto a yellow or blue sheet of paper.
Step 8: Fold each circle in half with the drawings inside the fold.
Step 9: Help your child glue one half of the back side of the brown paper onto the tree. Glue the top have and then fold the other half over to cover the picture.
Step 10: Help your child apply glue onto one half of the back side of the orange paper and stick it to the exposed back half of the brown paper. Then fold the other half of the orange paper over to cover the picture.
Step 11: Help you child apply glue onto one half of the back side of the green paper and stick it to the exposed back half of the orange paper. Then fold the other half of the green paper over to cover the picture.
Step 12: Have your child apply glue onto the back of the pink circle (both halves this time) and help your child glue in onto both the tree trunk and the exposed back half of the green paper.
Step 13: You should now have a tree that will flip and change. The first season shown will be spring (pink) and then when it is flipped you will see summer (green). When summer is flipped autumn (orange) will be exposed and when that is flipped winter (brown will be seen).
Spring Cheese Snack :
(invented by my 5 year old son)
NOTE: When I didn’t have a snack planned for this Seasons Theme Day my son quickly informed me that he had a recipe! I did what he told me and we made a yummy and healthy snack to represent spring! Here is his recipe:
Ingredients: Block cheese cut into a slice, golden raisins.
Step 1: Cut the cheese into the shape of an umbrella (half a circle) and cut a cheese handle as well.
Step 2: Arrange the cheese into the shape of an umbrella on a plate then sprinkle raisins as rain on top!
Have a Four Seasons Lunch:
1) Make a whole wheat tortilla wrap with coloured peppers, lettuce and cheese for spring,
2) Serve vegetable soup to represent the plenty of the summer garden,
3) Chop up some apples and sprinkle cinnamon on them for fall,
4) Serve some hot cocoa/hot chocolate for winter.
Four Seasons Pizza:
NOTE: There really is a Four Seasons Pizza and this is not the proper recipe for it. I decided to make a more kid friendly one and have it really reflect the four seasons via colours.
Ingredients: Pizza dough or ready made pizza crust, pizza sauce (or tomato sauce with fresh or dried herbs and fresh or powdered garlic mixed in), and the following toppings for each quarter:
1) Shredded mozzarella cheese ,and crumbled feta cheese for a white winter,
2) Ham, pineapple, and shredded mozzarella for the bright colours that start to appear in the spring through the snow
3) Shredded spinach and/or basil , and shredded cheddar for the bright summer with lots of green plants,
4) Diced red, orange and yellow bell peppers, and shredded cheddar (optional: add mushrooms if your kids will eat them) for autumn colours.
Four Seasons Ice Cream Sundae
Ingredients: Oatmeal, peanuts (if there are no allergies in your family), vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, coloured candy sprinkles, a round vanilla cookie, (optional: Orange icing—we happened to have left over from another Theme Day dessert).
Have your child help you do the following:
Step 1: Sprinkle oats and peanuts (if there are no allergies in your family) in the bottom of the bowl as if leaves have fallen in the autumn.
Step 2: Place a scoop of ice-cream on top as the snow of winter.
Step 3: Pour candy sprinkles on top for the budding flowers of spring.
Step 4: (Optional) Add orange icing to a round vanilla cookie.
Step 5: Place the round cookie on top as the sun in the summer.
CALENDAR COLORING OR FAMILY BRAINSTORM:
Print out my Calendar Worksheet and as a family discuss what events (traditions, holidays, seasonal activities) happen in each month. Write them down for your child or have an older sibling do this. Then discuss what the weather is like and what season the months fall in. Have your child colour the winter months blue, the spring months pink, the summer months yellow and the autumn months orange.
If you think the concept of months is too difficult for your younger child print out my “What Do You Do In Each Season” Family Brainstorm Page and discuss as a family the events (traditions, holidays, seasonal activities etc.) that happen in each season. You could then have your child colour the winter space blue, the spring space pink, the summer space yellow and the autumn space orange.
THE ROTATION OF THE EARTH:
Use an orange for the earth and a beach ball for the sun to show how the earth moves around the sun. Check here to help illustrate the rotation even more: http://www.historyforkids.org/scienceforkids/physics/weather/seasons.htm
For older kids try this with a flashlight to explain how the rotation of the earth creates the seasons : http://www.ducksters.com/science/experiment_sun_angle_seasons.php
For information on the Earth’s seasons watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuiQvPLWziQ
Older kids may want to read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows about one or all of the seasons.
For young children try these titles:
· Bear in the Big Blue House: A Bear for All Seasons – This one has three episodes: “Summer Cooler”, “Falling for Fall” and “All-weather Bear.”
· Baby Einstein: Baby Monet: Discovering the Seasons – With art, classical music (Vivaldi of course) and puppets the seasons are introduced to little ones.
Go for a family walk and discuss what season it is. What signs are there to indicate what season you are in?
One Tree: Four Seasons
The Four Seasons Holiday Collage
Four Seasons Hand Prints
The Four Seasons: Flip Tree Craft
The Four Seasons: Ice Cream Sundae
My 5 year old son’s “Spring Snack”
Our Four Seasons Pizza
The Four Seasons Colouring Page