• Melanie Patric

Spring Marches In!


After the winter months have passed us by, the warmer temperatures and the warmth of the sun are most welcome! The children and I had a wonderful time this month exploring the changes that begin to appear around us as winter's snows are melted away by spring's bright sunshine.

Since the snow melted, the children had a great time playing outside. Rain gear helped us all keep dry as we looked for the first green leaves. Our first discovery were the shoots of the hardy chive plants in the garden. In addition, the children enjoyed playing at being a "choo-choo train" as they used a rope to stay attached in a line. Even the littlest Blue Sky Daycare child enjoyed outdoor time, exploring the uphill and downhill terrain.

Even though the weather was changing, there were still plenty of chilly days in March, and the children and I enjoyed making bread and nice, warm vegetable soup together.

The children did a wonderful job adding all the ingredients to the big yellow bowl we always use for bread. It's hard for them to wait for the dough to rise, but the children are always surprised to find how big the dough becomes. They also love to press and roll the dough as they form it into little balls. Perhaps they love best to eat the tasty whole-grain bread that they make with their own hands.

We spent the first part of March learning about rainbows. The children and I read books about rainbows and reviewed the colors we could find in rainbows. I introduced a prism and some faceted crystals for the children to experiment with. We learned that the best rainbows are produced on sunny days. We also learned that we need something clear to make rainbows with. We took some inspiration from one of our stories, A Rainbow of My Own by P. D. Eastman, and made rainbows with water.

Soon, the children were able to spot rainbows wherever they saw one. We found rainbows on our clothes, on the wall when the window strikes the glass just right, in our storybooks, and even our toys- some are rainbow-colored. We even learned about rainbows and plants at the same time when we used colored water to color white carnations. The children examined the flowers before we put them in the colored water, noting that they were all white. The next day, the color had traveled up the stems of the flowers and had produced colored patches on the flower petals. The children and I wondered how it happened, and after some thinking and some questions, the children agreed that the flowers used the stems like a straw to suck up the water. Great thinking!

It was fun for the children to point out the colors they saw in the flowers and touch their soft petals.

The middle of the month was spent learning about what we saw around us as St. Patrick's Day approached. The children and I read a book about leprechauns and did several fingerplays about leprechauns and shamrocks. The children's favorite fingerplay was about leprechauns that went like this:

Have you every seen a leprechaun

A leprechaun,

A leprechaun?

Have you every seen a leprechaun

That comes from Ireland?

Oh yes, I've seen a leprechaun

A leprechaun,

A leprechaun?

Oh yes, I've seen a leprechaun

That comes from Ireland!

Where did you see a leprechaun,

A leprechaun,

A leprechaun?

Where did you see a leprechaun

That comes from Ireland?

I spied it in the forest green,

In the forest green,

In the forest green.

I spied it in the forest green,

The tiniest man I've seen!

The children particularly enjoyed working on a leprechaun craft, tearing orange paper for the leprechauns' eyebrows and beard and gluing the pieces together.

We spent time looking at a real shamrock plant and counting the leaves on each stem. This was great practice counting to three over and over. We wondered if the shamrock plant would bring us good luck. We thought about how the carnations drank up the water and talked about how we needed to give the shamrock a little water every day to keep it healthy.

St. Patrick's Day arrived, and the children and I had a great time celebrating! Everyone wore green and got a special shamrock to play with.

The children enjoyed green pancakes for breakfast, and later in the morning, the "leprechauns" scattered some gold coins around the daycare for the children to find. It was so much fun collecting the coins and putting them together. The children and I counted 20 coins in all!

After the coin hunt, the children worked together to make delicious mint-chocolate-chip cookies... which were, of course green! They did a great job adding the ingredients and helping to drop the dough onto the cookie sheet.

The cookies were a delicious way to end our celebration, and the children were happy to bring home cookies to share with their families.

Mid-month the children and I celebrated another very important day- our littlest Blue Sky Daycare child's first birthday! The children loved singing the "Happy Birthday" song to the birthday boy, and everyone loved eating cupcakes to celebrate.

As March drew to a close, the children and I learned about wind. There were some very windy days, and our first encounter was with how the wind moved our hair outside. It was fascinating to the children watch their hair get pushed and pulled around by an unseen force. We spent time wondering about what exactly the wind was and where it came from. The children had some good guesses!

In another activity, we used our own "wind" power to move a variety of pom-poms. We built little funnels on the end of straws, added pom-poms in a variety of sizes to the funnel, then blew into the straws to move the pom-poms.

The more we experimented, the more the children realized that the largest pom-poms were impossible to move with our breath, but the smaller pom-poms zoomed all over! We thought about what would happen to the pom-poms if we put them outside on a windy day.

Another project we made was a recycled, sparkling "wind spinner." The children used old CDs , self-adhesive jewels, and beads to create eye-catching spinners that would twirl in the wind. The children refined their fine motor control as they painstakingly attached the tiny jewels. They were proud to see them flying in the small mulberry tree in the back yard later in the afternoon.

When the weather allowed, the children and I looked for what we dubbed "secrets," they tiny green heads of spring bulbs, lilies, and more poking through the earth.

The soil became warmer and the "secret" plants grew as the month progressed. The children loved taking note of the changes. They also loved tossing, rolling, and kicking balls, playing tag, and running all over!

One of our last adventures of the month was a culmination of our trips to the nearby wooded trail. The children had been noticing that there was a lot of trash in the woods, so they became my "trash finders," and I picked up the trash with gloves on. We brought along trash bags to collect the trash, and by the time we were done, the children and I found enough trash to fill two trash bags as well as several other larger items that were too large to fit into the trash bags. It felt so good to take care of the spaces we enjoy using, and the children were so proud of their accomplishment!

#seasons #finemotorskills #outdoorplay #gardening #naturewalks #cookingwithchildren #nature #earlyscience #holidays #weather #colors #sensoryactivities

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