Spring has Sprung!

Springtime is here! The days are getting warmer, trees are budding, flowers are starting to bloom, and we’ve all suffered through daylight savings time (can they please just get rid of that? Either my kids wake up an hour early or have a hard time going to bed…every time…it’s brutal! LoL) This week I mostly focused on plants since after a long winter of dormancy they start to grow again in the spring, but I sprinkled in some April showers activities too! If you still have snow on the ground, no worries! You can get some fresh flowers at the market to use for the activities that require them! Don’t forget to pop over to my toddler post “Fun with Flowers” for more spring themed ideas like flower arranging, a garden sensory bin, and flowering tree art where you paint with broccoli!

Literacy:

-Flower petal letter match: I saw this activity on Happy Tot Shelf and thought it was a fun way to practice letter recognition! I drew stems and flower centers for each of the letters my little is still working on mastering. I wrote the capital version of each letter in the center part of the flowers, then wrote 2 matching capital and 3 matching lowercase letters on dot stickers. I had him match the centers of the flowers with each dot sticker, placing the stickers around the center like flower petals. I also had him name each dot sticker letter as we worked since he knows the letter sounds, but is still working on some of the letter names. Since we did 12 letters, we did 6 one day and 6 the next.

-Flower beginning sound match: I printed this flower beginning sound match from Teachers Pay Teachers, laminated them and gave my little 6-7 at a time. I had him “read” the pictures then find the letter that matched the beginning sound of each word.

-Rainbow letter sort: Draw a large rainbow on a piece of easel paper. Then give your little a set of magnetic ABCs and have them place the red letters on the red, the orange on the orange and so on. As they work, have them name each letter. I got this idea from Teaching Special Thinkers. Also- this and the April Showers math activity are my only spring weather activities this week (everything else is about plants!) so we did them on the same day!

-F is for flower: Our letter of the week this week was “F”. We talked about it each day during calendar time and on the last day my little practiced writing it using this F is for flower printable. I really liked how it started by having him trace the whole letter, then part of it (adding the rest on his own) and then writing it by himself.

-Spring booklist: you’ll find stories about planting seeds, baby birds hatching, and all things springtime in this collection! “When Spring Comes” has some pretty amazing 80’s/90’s outfits in it that gave me a good laugh!

Math:

-Plant a number line: This activity was SO cute and fun, I knew my little would love it- and he did! You make flowers out of cupcake wrappers by writing the numbers 1-10 in their centers and hot gluing them to pipe cleaners or straws. Then give the flowers to your little out of order along with some floral foam and have them place the numbers in the foam in the correct order. This makes for a cute springtime decoration when you’re done too! I got the idea from 1 2 3 Homeschool 4 Me.

-Flower dot count: I drew stems and flower centers for each of the numbers my little is still mastering, then had him identify each number and use a dot marker to count out that amount of petals around the center.

-Pollen count: We also did this activity during our bee unit last summer and I’m all about reusing activities that I’ve already prepped so I pulled it out again! If you don’t have a set made, you just cut out some large flowers from construction paper, write the numbers 1-10 in the center of the flowers, then have your little identify each number and count it out using “pollen” (ie. yellow pom poms).

-April showers number recognition: I stapled 2 sheets of construction paper together to make a book and drew clouds at the top of each page. I wrote the numbers my little is still working on in the clouds, then had him identify them and use a do-a-dot marker to make raindrops to match the number.

Science:

-Plant part sorting: I gave my little various plant parts from our yard, then had him sort them into the correct plant part they represented- flowers, leaves, stems or roots. Then we talked about what each part of the plant does to help the plant grow.

-Celery and food coloring experiment: This is my favorite way to demonstrate how stems transport water through a plant! Before you start, ask your little what they think will happen if you put celery in water that’s colored with food coloring. Add some color to the water (blue and green work best- red just makes the celery kind of brown as the color mixes with the green) and place a leafy stalk of celery in the water. Within a few hours, you should see the leaves begin to change color as the blue water is soaked up through the stem and into the leaves of the plant. We also tried this with white flowers, but the celery definitely worked better!

-Grow a garden: Confession- I have a black thumb. I kill all the plants I try to grow, including air plants, no matter how careful I am to water them and make sure they get good sunlight. For real you guys- my first year teaching we tried to sprout beans in the window and I literally ended up baking them because the afternoon sun coming through was way too hot! I only realized it when my class started smelling like baked beans… true story! LoL Despite this, every spring the littles and I have tried to grow a few vegetables and I’m really hoping this year it works! I got some advice from my cousin Garth who grows amazing vegetables every summer, and I’m hoping it’ll pan out! Fingers crossed! Basically for this activity, you just fill a large pot with potting mix- NOT a small pot because they need room for their roots to take hold, and NOT top soil or any of the cheaper dirt- I learned that’s for actual gardening, not container gardening. Then have your little choose a few seeds to plant in the pot and watch them grow! Hopefully in a few months they’ll be able to harvest some vegetables to eat!

-Sprout seeds in a bag: Growing a garden is a great hands on learning experience for littles, but this activity allows them to watch seeds germinate up close, which you can’t see when the seed is planted under the dirt. It’s great because you can see all the parts of the plant as the seed sprouts- roots, stem and leaves- and you can talk with your little about how the seed is changing and what they see as the baby plants grow. Plus it’s super easy to set up! You just place a wet paper towel in a ziplock baggie, place a few different seeds in the baggie and hang it in a window!

-Flowering trees video and painting: I saw this art activity on Welcome to Nana’s (cutest blog ever!) so I tied it into some science and made it a full lesson! First I had my littles watch the National Geographic Kids clip “Nature Boom Time: Cherry Blossom Festival” on YouTube to learn about flowering trees and see what they look like. After watching, I asked my preschooler 3 things he learned from the video. Then I gave them background scenes I made from blue and green construction paper with tree trunks drawn on in brown marker, as well as a plate full of pink, white and purple paint and some broccoli…yep. I said broccoli! I had my littles use the broccoli to paint flower blossoms on the trees and they turned out beautifully! Thanks Nana! This was such a fun idea!

Art: All of my art activities this week were appropriate for both toddlers and preschoolers (I usually only post the art ideas here that are a little too technical or tricky for my toddler to successfully execute). Check out my toddler post “Fun With Flowers” for 8 spring themed art and sensory play ideas!

Supply/shopping list:

  • letter magnets
  • floral foam
  • cupcake wrappers (10)
  • pipe cleaners or straws (5)
  • seeds
  • potting soil
  • pots
  • plants from your yard (or from a purchased bouqet)
  • sunflower seeds
  • broccoli
  • celery
  • spinach
  • carrots

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