Spring/Gardening Unit/Theme for Homepreschool/Homeschool
Posted by homeschoolmentormom on March 23, 2010
A springtime/gardening unit offers us many opportunities for learning and fun. What fun it is to look for the first signs of spring! This post is a mish-mash of resources for Springtime units.
Signs of Spring
Spring is a great time to teach your children to observe nature, and learn some names of common plants and animals. Here are some of the plants and animals we commonly think of during spring:
Crocus flowers are grown from bulbs. The Crocus is known to be one of the earliest spring bloomers–they sometimes bloom right through the snow! If you have Crocuses planted in your area, go on a nature walk and take a look at them; if you don’t, at least show your children the pictures.
Another plant we identify with spring is the Daffodil. It’s fun to make your own Daffodil craft by drawing a long green stem on a light-colored sheet of paper. Next, cut out (or help your child cut) 2-3 inch long, fat triangular-like petal shapes (they can be yellow or white.) Arrange the petal shapes to make a flower, and then glue a yellow or white mini cupcake liner on top to make a daffodil.
Pussywillows, like Crocuses, are plants we traditionally look for in spring. Ideas:
Read the book, Pussywillow by Margaret Wise Brown (a Little Golden Book.) If Pussywillows don’t grow in your area, visit your local florist shop and see if you can purchase a few cut branches. They make a beautiful display…and children love to touch their velvety-soft buds…be sure to let them! Next, try your hand at some Pussywillow art. Click HERE for a site that has several different craft/painting ideas, and some flower crafts, too.
Spring growth: Other signs of spring we look forward to are new green grass, budding/blossoming trees, and wildflowers. See if your area has a wildflower or tree blossom trails like ours (Bakersfield, CA Wildflowers; Fresno, CA Blossom Trail). If so, try not to miss them! Idea: Bring some “spring” inside by clipping a branch from a tree that is blooming (or about to bloom), and putting it in a vase. At the very least, go for a nature walk in a nearby park and look for signs of spring growth (etc.) Fresh cut flowers from your own yard are always enjoyable. If you are really ambitious, you could try your hand at forcing some bulbs.
Spring Poem: I looked out-side and what did I see? Popcorn popping on the apricot tree! (Author unknown.) For more spring poems, click HERE.
– Have your child draw a “tree trunk” onto light-colored construction paper (or draw it for them.) Pop popcorn and glue it on the branches for “blossoms.”
-Paint with branches, OR paint flowers and then use them to make prints.
-Collage with seeds (be sure to use only edible seeds such as lentils, beans, etc, in case your children try to eat them.)
– Purchase a variety of different seeds. Look at them, and compare (try to have a varity of types and sizes, such as avacado seeds, bean seeds, corn, sunflower, mustard seeds (or other very tiny seeds.)
-In a mason jar, sprout the avacado seed; in another, sprout the beans (put dampened paper towels in a mason jar; place beans right next to the glass. Place them in a summy window, and then watch them sprout.) Watch and compare. Experiment: What happens to the seeds without light or water?
-Plant some of your seeds in peat pots or starter trays (available at home and garden stores), or sow them directly in the ground.
-Learn about trees. Is your area known for certain types of trees? If so, make sure your child can recognize them. Take a nature walk and look for signs of spring.
Books to read: The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree, by Gail Gibbons; The Apple Pie Tree, by Zoe Hall; A Tree is a Plant (a Let’s Read-and Find-Out Book), by Bulla; How a Plant Grows, by Bobbie Kalman (beautiful pictures); A Tree is Nice, by Janice May Udry (this one’s considered a preschool classic); Planting a Rainbow, by Lois Ehlert; Jack’s Garden, by Henry Cole; The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Kraus (another classic; great for younger preschoolers); The Sunflower House, by Eve Bunting (you can look for grown-up books about sunflower houses, too, and some for kids AND grown-ups.)
Vocabulary: Bud, blossom, fruit, shoot, root, seed, and so on.
Animals and Spring
Make a paper bird: Enlarge any one of these bird patterns and copy onto heavy paper. Let your child paint the bird with water colors, and let dry. Glue wings on to complete the bird. Click HERE for an alternate pattern.
For a craft activity, consider making/setting up a bird feeder, bird house or bird bath to attract birds to your yard. Here are a variety of bird/bird feeder craft ideas: http://kidsactivities.suite101.com/article.cfm/easy_bird_feeders_for_kids
For the ambitious: See if anyone you know has an incubator you can borrow and hatch some chicken eggs.
Other books about birds:
An Egg is Quiet, by Dianna Aston Book, by Jane Werner Watson (Out of Print)
Birds: A Child’s First Book About Our Most familiar Birds, a Big Golden Book, by Jane Werner Watson
What Makes a Bird?, by May Garelick (may be out of print)
It’s Nesting Time, (an older Let’s Read and Find Out book) by Roma Gans (out of print)
Baby Animals: Many animals have their babies during spring. This is a perfect time to learn about baby animals and their special names. If you can, visit a petting zoo, zoo, or nearby farm to observe baby animals. Books to read:
Baby Animals (a Little Golden Book), by Garth Williams
Baby Animals, by Harry McNaught
Kitten, The Little Rabbit, and others by Judy Dunn.
You can find other books about Spring, plants, baby animals and more in the series, Books for Young Explorers, from National Geographic (one of my favorite science series for ages 4-9; beautiful photos.)
General Books About Spring/Seasons:
What Happens in the Spring, a National Geographic book Young Explorers, by Kathleen Costello Beer.
How Do You Know It’s Spring, a Rookie Read-About Science Book, by Allan Fowler (ages 2-6.)
Over and Over, by Charlotte Zontolow (contains references to Halloween, but they are easily skipped.)
Other related/possible units: Bunnies, Plants and Trees, Gardening, Weather, Insects and more!
Note: I can only recomend the pages I link to, not the entire content of each site. Further note: Many of the books I recomend are out of print. But thanks to Amazon, it’s no problem! (I am not an Amazon Affliate; I don’t get any money if you purchase any of the books. They are simply books I’ve enjoyed with my children.)
This post contains excerpts from the book, “Homepreschool and Beyond”; used with permission. © 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.