It’s hard to believe that spring is here. It actually snowed last week – not much, but in the DC suburbs, any snow is news. I’m not sure that the rest of you are snow-free, but how about a bit of springtime fun to get you in the mood for spring? With the days getting longer, I’m sure your kids are already balking at bedtime. Why not give them fifteen minutes of extra time to do a bit of word work?
Pre-K Crowd: If your littlest guys are anything like mine were at that age, they are pointing to the bright sky behind the window shade and wondering why on earth you’re putting them to bed. How about a bath time for spring? You can talk to them about all the things that are happening or going to be happening. You can tell them how the tiny shoots of plants and grass are going to be peeking up any day now. You can bring them outside to have a look each day and talk about how, soon, they will be flowers or grass that is tall enough to tickle their feet. You can also talk to them about the way the branches of the trees are soon going to be growing lovely green leaves. Pick a few leaves and press them so you can make a book of the types of leaves in your area. Teach them the appropriate words for each part of the leaf or flower. You’ll have as much fun as the kids!
Grades K-1: The schools in our area get a butterfly kit for each kid. The idea is that the caterpillar will build a chrysalis and ultimately morph into a butterfly that can then be released. One year my son collected every caterpillar he saw and hatched a bunch of moths, so you could do this on your own, but you may not get a butterfly. Either way, you can try this or you can get some books or look online for pictures of caterpillars turning into butterflies. If there are cicadas hatching in your area, you can also go and observe them. Whatever you decide, have your kids draw pictures of what they observe. Help them make notes of what they think are the most important things. Make sure they are using the appropriate words for each part of the object they observe. Need a site? Try The Children’s Butterfly Site.
Grade 2: These bons vivants are the perfect age for a program at the nature center. If there isn’t one, then take a nature walk. Live in the city? There’s gotta be some birds somewhere! Live in the country? Chances are good there are baby deer or full nests close by. Nothing? Observe the leaves and the characteristics of different trees and plants. Cut some pussy willow or forsythia branches and put the ends in water. They’ll grow buds and flowers. Have your children keep a journal of their observations. Be sure they include the appropriate names for the parts of things they observe.
Grades 3-5: This is not their first spring activity. They’ve been drawing flowers and counting caterpillars for years. They need a challenge. We have a very active hawk’s nest near where we live, so baby bunnies are not something we see often. We do, however, have more baby deer than seem possible. If that’s the case where you live, keep a camera in the car and see if your child can get a picture or two of a baby deer. If not deer, then perhaps some birds or other baby animals. If none of this works, head for the zoo. Spring means babies! Have your child pick an animal and see what they can learn about that animal. It doesn’t matter if it’s an armadillo or a turtle, the life of a baby animal is fascinating – and a great way to learn some new words!
A perfect site: The Chil