More Preschool Fun!
Lessons and activities for Springtime fun and learning
We all know that the days are longer in Summer than they are in Winter. This is because the Earth tilts a little sideways on its axis, about 23 degrees of perpendicular. And while the sun always shines strongly at the equator, the amount of light hitting the northern and southern parts of the Earth changes as the planet makes each year long orbit around the sun.
In mid June, the Arctic Circle gets the most light it will receive all year-- while at the same time, the Antarctic is the darkest. At the same time, Australia and South Africa and other countries of the Southern Hemisphere are having short cold days and long dark nights -- Winter, in June. But of course the countries of the Northern Hemisphere, like the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, are having Summer! However, by mid December the opposite is true: the Arctic is plunged into darkness, while the Antarctic is bathed in light.
But on March 21st, and September 21st, the hours of daylight and darkness are exactly the same -- in both hemispheres! This is called the "equinox". The only difference is that what Canadians and Americans call "Spring" is actually "Fall" in Australia. And when Fall rolls around to the northern hemisphere nations, it's Spring down under. Got that? Great, now cruise on down the page for some great Spring curriculum activities!
Spring Stories and Poems
Echo and Narcissus
What kind of story can you write using insect related science words? Maybe a mystery tale, or the story of a science expedition -- or the tale of strange buggy aliens? You decide! Use this Vocabulary List & Definitions to help you with unfamiliar terms.
Poetry Writing Resources
Having trouble finishing your poem because of rhyming troubles? This interactive Rhyming Dictionary allows you to enter the word you're trying to find a rhyme for... hit go... and magically get a list of words that will rhyme with it! Pick the one that fits your poem and away you go.
Print this sheet to use with a bug sorting and collecting activity. Or just poll your friends, family, or classmates to see what their favorite (or least favorite) bug is, then record the results on the graph.
It's spring training for your brain!
Spring is the time that major league baseball players work hard to
gear up for the big season ahead. Give your math skills a
healthy workout with this game from funbrain.
Spring Themed Math Challenges
Use this graph to help you think about the similarities and differences between human beings and insects.
Learn About the Desert
No biome responds more dramatically to Spring than the desert! Cactuses and other plants come briefly into bloom, animals take advantage of the brief boost in moisture to become more active and to reproduce.
Plant some seeds!
assortment of seeds and potting soil. Reuse old butter or cool
whip tubs as pots (you could paint them with acrylic paints first,
if you wish). Have kids read the back of the seed
packets to see how deep to plant each type of seed, how much light
and water it requires, and how many days until germination and
maturity. Plant the seeds and label the containers with
the seed type and the date planted. Water the seeds.
Cover the containers with plastic wrap (you might need some rubber
bands to help secure it) to help keep the soil warm and speed up
germination. Place the seeds somewhere warm, and make sure
they have the proper amount of light once they sprout and begin to
Observe the growth of a popcorn plant from seed to plant. Learn where popcorn comes from, how it is grown, learn a plant's life cycle, and how many people (careers) are involved in the growing and marketing of popcorn. This lesson plan comes with links to power points, short films, activity ideas, and is tied to the following recommended books...
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to closely examine seeds, determining differences and similarities. Students will learn to recognize where seeds are contained on a plant and how they may be dispersed.
This is the classic bean sprouting activity. Tips for using this in a school science project are included.
This lesson has students using observation and experimentation to think about the different ways plants get spread from their parent plant to a new location. Magnifying glass or microscope recommended. From Scholastic.
This is a simple project -- if you have someone to cut the Plexiglas for you.
Help detective Leplant and his partners Bud and Sprout unlock the mysteries of plant life. (Grades 3-6) Sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension.
Learn About Insects
Butterflies and caterpillars are favorite spring themes. But don't forget about silk worms, earthworms, and ladybugs -- any of these could come visit your classroom! Tie in thematic books, makes observations of your little visitors, and add in some of our songs, poems, crafts, and games to go along with the theme.
Watch your own larvae grow into caterpillars then transform into butterflies right before your eyes! Release the butterflies outdoors into your yard.
All About Eggs
Kids know eggs don't really come from bunnies. But few have stopped to consider all the different kinds of animals that DO lay eggs, and those that don't. Get yourself a copy of Chickens Aren't the Only Ones, and read it to your children. The illustrations arebeautiful and amazing, and the book ably communicates the diversity of creatures that do lay eggs, from birds to insects to fish and beyond. Even children as young as 3 will appreciate this book, however you may need to paraphrase some of the text and focus on discussing the pictures. They will still get the idea, and the wonder.
Afterwards, create your own follow up activities. Have children draw a picture of a creature that lays an egg. Go outside to look for egg layers. Take a field trip to an egg farm or an egg processing plant. Older children could even do a report on the journey an egg undergoes to come to our table.
For even more egg-citing ideas, check out this page of Oviparous Animals lesson ideas.
A nice page from Enchanted Learning with plenty of explanation and even diagrams. Includes printouts and worksheets.
Students will explore which colors need to be mixed to create desired colors. For K-2.
Frogs & Friends
Learn about the difference between frogs and toads, meet some really strange and wacky frog species, and find out all about the life cycle and adaptations of different frog types. Part of the great Frog Land site with lots of cool frog photos.
Did you know that April Fool's Day originated as a tradition of pranking people who still believed in the old way of celebrating the New Year on April 1st? Learn more!
Click a day on the calendar to find out what happened on that day in history! Sports, politics, and more.
March is Women's History Month! Learn about women pioneers, women in science, important political developments and more.
Learn about famous people and events commemorated in May.
Learn about the original meaning of May Day and its traditions. Be sure to also read about Law Day
Learn about famous people and events commemorated in May.
Songs & Games
Play with Bubbles!
Spring is a great time to play with bubbles. The frisky spring wind catches the bubbles and carries them on unpredictable eddies this way and that, provoking gales of giggles from young children. Check out these recipes forbubble liquid. For more bubble fun, click here!
Science springs to life when little ones move with the breeze! All you need are paper streamers (see below) and a windy day. From Scholastic.
Spring themed games to play free on your computer. From Kaboose.
Baker's Clay Flowers
In this fun activity flowers are cut out of Baker's Clay. Then when dry and hard they are mounted with a glue gun onto craft sticks. Then, children can paint them with tempera paints. Lovely!
Start by choosing one of our Baker's Clay recipes (click here) and whipping up a batch. Place your dough atop some waxed paper or pastry paper, then roll the dough flat. Get out a flower shaped cookie cutter and carefully cut out the flower shapes. If you don't have a flower shaped cutter, try use a large coffee mug to cut our a round shape, then with a knife (plastic works) you can cut out little wedges of the clay to give the appearance of individual petals.
Transfer your "flowers" onto the baking sheet and follow the recipes instructions for baking. Afterwards, let your flowers cool completely before attaching them to the craft sticks with the glue gun. Finally get out some pretty paint colors and get decorating! You can even paint the craft sticks a nice green. (Note: you can use either popsicle sticks or tongue depressor sticks for this project, depending on the size of the flower.)
For more fun, paint some tiny flower pots and fill them with Styrofoam. Then "plant" your flowers in the pot and display them to brighten up a room or a patio for springtime.
Egg Carton Caterpillars
For this craft you'll need to save up some old egg cartons-- preferably the grey papery variety as these hold the glue better. Cut off the carton lid and discard it (or save for another activity). Then cut the egg cup side into sections -- you'll want about three bumps (or cups) person section. Each section will be a caterpillar.
Next, cut some fuzzy pipe cleaner into pieces about 3 or 4 inches long. You'll poke one through the end of each segment of egg carton -- to form the caterpillars antennae. Bend the tips of the pipe clean over, for safety.
Now turn the children loose with collage materials and glue! Show them how to drizzle on the glue and layer on tiny pom poms, colored craft feathers, confetti, glitter, and etc. The end result is a very "fuzzy" and colorful caterpillar.
Coffee Filter Butterflies
What you'll need: Liquid watercolor paint in various colors, large coffee filter papers, and wooden clothespins -- the old fashioned type that don't pinch open and shut. Take a large coffee filter paper and paint it using either small paint brushes or eye droppers of liquid watercolor. Let filter paper dry, then bunch it up, pinching the middle and insert the middle portion into the slot of the wooden clothes pin. You're done! If you like you can paint the wooden clothes pins ahead of time -- or even decorate them with markers. You can also glue gun a bit of fuzzy pipe filter onto the "head" of the caterpillar ahead of time -- but be sure to bend the tips over, to prevent accidents.
These are great fun to do with preschoolers or young school age children. Start with some clean socks -- white cotton tube socks work best. Glue gun a 4 to 6 inch length of fuzzy pipe cleaner a few inches from the toe of the sock. Children can decide how to "style" the antennae in wacky twists and turns. Next, provide the children with markers (permanent can be used if children are in "painting clothes"), as well as thick craft glue, fuzzy pom poms, googly eyes, scraps of yarn, and colorful craft feathers.
Encourage children to start out using markers, drawing a face and fanciful stripes and spots -- then have them finish up by gluing on additional materials. Let finished projects dry overnight (might take longer depending on type and amount of glue used). When puppets are dry, have a puppet show! Note that older children (5th grade and up) might be able to use small low temp glue guns instead of craft glue.
Egg Carton Tulips
You'll need: fuzzy, green pipe cleaners, large pony beads, and egg cartons. Cut the egg carton up to create individual cups, that resemble the shape of a tulip flower. Poke a hole in the center of each "tulip" and thread a pipe cleaner through the hole -- and through a pony bead. Wrap end of pipe over pony bead and back through hole. Then twist or fold end around pipe cleaner stem to tie off. Alternatively, you can skip the bead and simply secure the craft wire in place with a glue gun. Now let children paint "tulips" in bright colors. Show them how to hold the tulip carefully by the stem to get color both inside and out without slopping too much onto stem. For added effect, sprinkle flower with glitter.
To create a pot like the one shown, stuff a styrofoam ball into the bottom of a small clay pot (both available in the floral department of your craft store). Poke the bottom of the craft wired into the styrofoam. Cover with dried moss or green paper shreddies. We used green paper Easter "grass", crinkled. Children can decorate the pot.
Make Your Own Streamer Wands
You'll need: Crepe paper party streamers in bright spring colors, tape, cardboard tube. First, find yourself a cardboard tube -- an empty toilet paper tube or paper towel tube works fine. Then cut lengths of party streamer; about 18 inches works well. Have children select their colors and tape 3-6 streamers on to one end of the tube. They can decorate the tube with markers and stickers. (Be sure to write their name on the tube!) Now play! If there's no wind, put on some music and dance around with the streamer tubes.
Amazing Seedy Sponge Craft
This craft calls for a natural sponge, a string to hang it with, and some birdseed that will turn the whole thing into a hanging garden. Tie a string around the sponge and then soak the sponge thoroughly in water. Remove and let drain; then poke seeds into the little holes and crevices of the sponge. Hang in sunlight.
A cute project that could be done simply or embellished upon.
Large tissue paper blossoms. Great for May Day, Mother's Day, or Cinco de Mayo.
Printable Coloring & Activity Pages
Melt butter in microwave in large glass mixing bowl. Remove carefully and stir in marshmallows saucepan over medium heat. Continue heating in microwave until marshmallows have melted completely (be careful not to overcook). Carefully stir in cereal or "noodle" crunchies and coat thoroughly.
When mixture is cool enough to touch, remove small portions to wax paper and shape each into a "nest". Let cool and add jelly beans into the nest.
For a fun variation, add chocolate chips in with the margarine, then add marshmallows.
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Spring Curriculum Books
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