Springtime and Hope…
Every year I am surprised by the deep relief I feel when the first signs of spring appear. My children roll their eyes as I yelp with excitement at every new bud, blossom or birdsong. This year, after a winter lockdown, spring feels more hopeful than ever and I for one am savouring every moment…
Spring offers so many fantastic, real life learning opportunities and it’s such a pleasure to share the wonder of new life with small people. Here are 6 simple ideas of how to enjoy this particularly hopeful spring at home…
1. Spring Detectives
Make every outdoor excursion a challenge to spot as many signs of spring as possible. My children loved this game when they were younger, and it became quite competitive! Even when they were toddlers, they loved to point out all the new flowers and stroke the petals (whilst I ‘gently’ encouraged them not to destroy every flower they found!).
2. Outside In
We love to collect beautiful things from the outside and bring them in. These can either be lovingly displayed or become part of our play. It is fascinating to watch a fir cone slowly unfurl but equally exciting to see it become, ‘the crystal’ in an imaginary game hidden in a sock draw to stay safe! The more nature is seen as treasure the deeper interest little people take in it.
Another way of embracing nature’s treasure is potion-making and this is still a family favourite. Take a bucket outside in the garden or to the park with a big spoon and a bottle of water. Encourage the collection of nature’s treasures to create magic potions – literally hours of fun.
4. Beautiful Birds
Make a bird feeder, there are loads of simple instructions for fat balls and the like online. Hang the feeder from a window or a tree and this creates an ongoing source of excitement as you get to marvel at who turns up. In our old house we had a whole season of the same bird we named ‘Claudia’ and she became a much-loved family ‘pet’!
5. Tree Watching
Choose a favourite tree (preferably not evergreen or dead!) in an area you visit/see frequently. Make a point of really noticing the changes which take place throughout the year. Look at the buds, the blossoms, the visiting wildlife and encourage your children to notice the changes. It’s also really lovely to regularly take photos of your children with the tree. You can notice the change in the tree, your children and the different clothes they wear according to the weather at the time…
Handsdown, planting seeds is my favourite ‘long’ activity to do with children. The very fact that they have played a part in creating and nurturing new life is so powerful and rewarding. Sunflowers are my favourite, but cress is great fun too. If you would like to make it more educational you can provide different environments for your seeds e.g. in a dark cupboard/in direct sunlight, watered/not-watered and see what your little scientists can find out!
So as spring unfurls and Lockdown begins to ease, I hope you get to enjoy the relief, share the joy and make some beautiful springtime memories with your children.
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