submitted by Primrose Schools
As winter fades to spring, young children have new opportunities to channel their inner explorer by playing outside and interacting with nature. This time of renewal can be a great way for children going through a transition, such as moving to a new city, neighborhood or school, to get more comfortable with their surroundings.
You can use the change in seasons to help your child adjust to a new environment and learn about growth, seasons and plants through easy and fun activities in your neighborhood. There’s no better time than spring to bring out the natural scientist in your child while spending quality time together playing and learning outside!
Spring Scavenger Hunt
An outdoor scavenger hunt is a great way to celebrate spring and get to know a new area. Explore your backyard or a nearby park while encouraging your child to observe his environment.
Start at home by discussing signs of spring or reading a story with pictures of spring. Tell your child you are going on a “Spring Scavenger Hunt,” then go on a walk together and look for different spring-related objects. Point out plants, birds or landmarks that your child hasn’t seen before. Download a sample scavenger hunt checklist here.
You also can take photos of your observations and print them at home to create a “Signs of Spring” book for your child.
Bring out your child’s inner scientist through imagination and play. Read the story “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle, then ask your little one to tell you what happened in the story.
Pretend to be seeds together by crouching down on the floor. Discuss what it takes for seeds to grow into plants. Next, pretend the sun is shining and “grow” a little. Pretend it is raining and grow a little more. Continue to pretend it is either raining or sunny, then finish by spreading your arms out to the side like leaves opening up.
To extend this a step further, plant seeds with your child in your yard and observe them over a couple of weeks. (Click here for a list of seeds safe for young children.) Look at various seeds together and talk about the differences and similarities. Review the items and care needed for the seeds to grow then work together to plant the seeds. This activity helps your family settle into your new home and your child will love checking the seeds for growth and watching the plants come to life.
Encourage Scientific Thinking Year-Round
Springtime lends itself to many activities that can nurture your child’s natural curiosity and help him feel more at home in a new environment. No matter what time of year it is or what subject you’re exploring together, you can encourage critical thinking, problem-solving and other important skills by asking questions, investigating your child’s theories and playing creatively together.