In the Northern Hemisphere Spring officially begins on March 20 or 21st, depending on what day the vernal equinox takes place. In the Southern hemisphere is occurs September 22 or 23. To celebrate the arrival of spring have fun with a Spring Theme Day.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do.
Maybe I’m reaching here but U2’s “Beautiful Day” makes me think of Spring so you could always find that song on your favourite music provider for some spring inspired dancing.
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Spring Colouring Pages” or print out my Spring Is Here Colouring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
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 is your favourite thing about spring? What are signs of spring? What do you like to do in the spring?.
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.
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 about the springtime.
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about spring.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about spring.
Go to the library on your own to find books on spring 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 (search for “Spring” under Children’s Books). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Try to find some of these nonfiction/learning titles:
· Explore Spring! 25 Great Ways to learn About Spring, by Maxine Anderson and illustrated by Alexis Frederick-Frost, nomad press, 2007—A fun activity book with cartoon animals that teach you about different aspects of spring (the sun, trees, plants, animals, weather).
· How a Seed Grows, by Helene J. Jordan and illustrated by Loretta Krupinski, Harper Collins Publishers, 1992—This Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science Book uses paintings to talk about seeds in general and then all the steps of an experiment you can do in your own home growing bean seeds in egg shells.
· Natural Treasures: Field Guide for Kids, written and illustrated by Elizabeth Biesiot, Denver Museum of Natural history and Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1996 – This book is divided into the different seasons, so for this theme day flip to the spring section at the beginning. This would be a great book to take outside on a nature walk. It has symbols which tell you which clues to use (sight, sound, smell and clue to examine by hand) when searching for the various animals of spring robins, earthworms, ants, skunks, rabbit, etc..).
· What Happens In The Spring, by Kathleen Costello beer, The National Geographic Society, 1977 – While the book is dated by the clothing and hair of the boy featured in the photographs, the sentiment is ageless as the text and photographs illustrate clearly different parts of spring: pussy willows, earthworms, flower blossoms, larvae, baby animals etc..
Read some of these picture book titles if you can find:
· My Spring Robin, by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Harlow Rockwell & Lizzy Rockwell, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1989 – A simple story of a little girl who, while searching for the Spring robin she saw last year, comes across many different signs of spring.
· Mud, by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Lauren Stringer, Voyager Books, 1996 – This book celebrates the melting of snow in the spring because it creates mud!
· Naomi Knows It’s Springtime, by Virginia L. Kroll and illustrated by Jill Kastner, Boyds Mills Press, 1993—Gorgeous oil painting make this book about how a blind girl knows it’s springtime by the things she feels and hears.
· Persephone and the Pomegranate: A Myth from Greece, by Kris Waldherr, Dial Books for Young Readers, 1993—Beautiful paintings accompany this myth about the first spring.
· Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic, by Steven Schnur and illustrated by Leslie Evans, Clarion Books, 1999—Bright illustrations accompany the 26 acrostic poems that describe different aspects of spring like BUDS, EGGS, GRASS, KITES, SEEDS…
FLOWER STICKER COLLAGE:
Materials: Green or other coloured paper, stickers with various flowers on them on them, markers or crayons.
· Step 1: Give your child the stickers and paper and have him/her either make a scene or a collage with them.
· Step 2 (Optional): See if your child wants to embellish the picture with markers or crayons by drawing a setting for the flowers.
FLOWER PAPER CHAINS:
Materials: Green coloured paper, other coloured paper (depends on what colour flowers your children want to make), child-safe scissors, glue stick, face cloth for sticky fingers.
· Step 1: Decide on how big you want your paper chain to be and cut that amount of strips from the green paper.
· Step 2: Have your child glue on the end of one strip and curve it over to form a loop. Press the ends together and count to ten until the glue holds.
· Step 3: Put glue on the end of another strip but this time when forming the loop string it through the first loop before pressing together.
· Step 4: Continue to make loops attached together to form a chain as long as you have strips of green paper.
· Step 5: Have your child determine what colour flowers he/she wants. Fold that colour of paper four or five times to form a long folded rectangle.
· Step 6: On the folded rectangle draw a number of elongated ovals which will be petals.
· Step 7: Help your child cut the petals out.
· Step 8: Fold another colour of paper into a similar rectangle but instead of drawing oval petals draw circles for the centres of the flowers.
· Step 9: Help your child cut out the circles for the centres of the flowers.
· Step 10: using the glue stick, show your child how to glue the petals on the circles to form flowers, then let your child do the same.
· Step 11: When the flowers are finished glue them onto the paper chain.
· Step 12: Hang the chain somewhere to celebrate spring.
Materials: Dried seeds or beans (we used lima beans, sunflower seeds), construction paper (needs to be the harder paper to be sturdy), white glue, pencil (optional), waxed paper, face cloth for sticky fingers.
· Step 1: Let your child pick the colour of paper he/she wants to use.
· Step 2 (Optional): Your child can draw a pencil sketch of the spring picture outline he/she wants to create.
· Step 3: Lay out the waxed paper before this step. Help your child draw a picture with white glue by outlining the shape in glue (following the pencil drawing).
· Step 4: Have your child attach the seeds or dried beans to the glue to form the picture.
· Step 5: Let dry then display.
Look for any other spring related crafts at your local craft store, including paint stamps, wooden sets to color with markers, or foam kits.
Ingredients: Strawberries and green grapes.
Step 1: Cut a number of strawberries in half (stems removed).
Step 2: Arrange the strawberries on your child’s plate to form petals. Place a green grape in the middle to be the center of the flower.
Ingredients: 1 apple (sliced into thin rounds), a piece of celery per butterfly, peanut butter or cream cheese, pretzel sticks.
Step 1: Spread celery with peanut butter or cream cheese and place one on each plate.
Step 2: Arrange apple slices around the celery body to make the butterfly wings.
Step 3: Stick two pretzel sticks into the peanut butter or cream cheese at the top of the celery stick to make antennae for each butterfly.
Cheese Flower Melts:
Ingredients: 1 slice of bread per person, thick cheese slices cut into oval or circles, a cherry tomato, margarine.
Step 1: Spread margarine on the slice of bread.
Step 2: Arrange cheese ovals/circles in the shape of a flower.
Step 3: Place a cherry tomato in the middle as the middle of the arranged cheese.
Step 3: Place on a foil lined baking tray and put under broiler for 2 to 3 minutes (be careful not to burn them).
Seasonal Vegetables: Visit your local farmers market to find out what’s in season. Asparagus are a springtime favourite, have some as a side at supper.
Mud and Worms:
Ingredients: Chocolate pudding, crushed Oreo cookie crumbs or chocolate wafer crumbs (optional), gummy worms (or pieces of gummy circles if you cannot find the worms as I couldn’t).
Step 1: Make pudding according to package instructions (or buy pre-made to be quicker) and put some pudding in a dish per family member.
Step 2 (Optional): Add crushed chocolate cookie crumbs over the pudding.
Step 3: Arrange gummy words squirming out of the pudding mud.
SIGNS OF SPRING CHART:
Materials: Print out the Signs of Spring Chart, a pen or pencil.
Directions: As a family, go for a walk outside to record signs of spring. Encourage each family member to use their senses (four on the chart) and when someone spots, hears, smells... something write it down on the chart (bird’s singing, the smell of fresh air, the warmth of the sun, sprouts, ice melting, birds).
BEAN IN A BAG:
Materials: Dried lima beans (from the grocery store), a glass of water, a small re-sealable bag, paper towels, tape, a copy of the Bean In a Bag Experiment Chart, and a pen or pencil to record notes and observations.
· Step 1: Soak the beans in a glass of water one day before you want to do this experiment.
· Step 2: Fold a paper towel until it will fit a re-sealable bag.
· Step 3: Dampen the paper towel with water (gently squeeze excess water out) and place it inside the bag.
· Step 4: Place soaked bean in the re-sealable bag with the damp paper towel.
· Step 5: Tape the re-sealable bag to a window that gets a lot of sun.
· Step 6: Write the date on a piece of paper and write what your child sees. Then tape the paper to the window or place nearby.
· Step 7: Check on the bean in the bag every few days recording what is seen with the date.
http://www.riverdeep.net/current/2002/03/032502_spring.jhtml - Look at the position of the earth during spring, find out if it is true that you can balance an egg on end during vernal equinox, discover the history of spring celebrations.
Q: What flowers grow on your face?
A: Tulips (two lips).
Q: Why did the little boy throw some butter out the window.
A: He wanted to see the butter fly.
Q: Why is the letter “A” like a flower?
A: A bee (“B”) comes after it.
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 with a springtime theme.
Younger kids might like this title:
· Elmo’s World: Springtime Fun!
Go to your local greenhouse to buy some seeds or seedlings, or simply to enjoy all the greenery and see spring in bloom.
Plant some seeds in flower pots or in planters (flowers or vegetables).
Set aside a day for the whole family to work together to clean your home, then treat yourselves to a night out (like Cinderella) and go to a restaurant for dinner as a reward for a job well done.
Spring in San Ramon, California
Fun with stickers
Mud and Worms
Bean in a bag experiment
Flower Paper Chains
Lima beans after 12 days
Photo: C Wright