The Plan for Spring
My plan for this spring is to:
- be outside as much as humanly possible, and
- not plan ahead for any official “school days” but have a mix of fun activities on-hand to do together
Spring is a great season for us to enjoy the woods where we live since the weather is ideal and new spring wildflowers are blooming every week.
That said: I do not want to ignore all the school things we enjoy like reading books, counting games, play and just expanding our nature-learning. We also have been switching our letter-learning to more of a Montessori approach and I would like to continue with that. I just mean that for several weeks I would like to have a more relaxed, spontaneous approach to our days.
SO: my idea for this spring was to do a lot of up-front preparation and planning and just make a list of OPTIONS of activities for us to do through the next several weeks, and we may or may not do them as my kids show interest.
Any given day we may do 3-4 things off of that list, or nothing at all!
To start: in order to gather ideas for seasonal activities I looked to the following three books for inspiration, drawing ideas from the natural world:
The spring themes I’m centering the activities around are:
- Bird Nesting
- Spring Weather
- Pond Life
This is A LOT!!
Again, I more want to just have activities related to spring available. I also see this going on for likely 4-5 weeks (or possibly longer) before I move on to something different.
Below I’ve detailed what I’ve prepped for each theme and will continue to add what we do to my Pinterest boards.
Before I lay out the details for each theme, I wanted to first provide my free printable Spring Life Cycle photo cards because this set crosses several themes including flowers, gardening, birds, insects, and frogs.
I recently created this free Spring Life Cycle card set (and a Life Cycle control mat). I laminated each set and cut each card out so the kids can place the cards on to the blank mat, depending on which life cycle we are looking at.
Obviously we will cover the real story of Easter, but we will also include some fun bunny & egg themed activities.
- Alphabet egg uppercase and lowercase matching (free printable via Teach Mama)
- Easter count and clip cards (free printable via Fun with Mama)
- Paper plate bunny craft
- Easter mini eraser math, sorting, patterns (I found my mini erasers at a local Meijer dollar spot) — The kids will transfer the mini erasers with tweezers
- Dye Easter eggs
- Easter egg hunt
- Easter egg scissor skills practice
- Easter themed “color volcanoes” fine motor skills activity: baking soda + a few drops of food coloring inside the Easter eggs, then the kids add vinegar with eyedroppers
- “Five Little Bunnies” singing game from Games Children Sing and Play
See my Spring: Easter Pinterest Board for more details
We naturally are in love with our local Indiana spring woodland wildflowers, but this year I wanted to include some more common garden flowers in our springtime fun.
- Flowers Are Calling
- The Tiny Seed
- Pick, Pull, Snap!: Where Once a Flower Bloomed
- Planting a Rainbow
- A Seed is Sleepy
- The Jesus Storybook Bible (“The Singer”)
- Nature Anatomy (pages 62-67)
- Hunt for our favorite spring wildflowers in the woods & use the home-tailored scavenger hunt I made!
- Match our flowers from the Safari Ltd Flowers TOOB to 3-Part Cards (free printable via Treehouse Schoolhouse)
- My Number Garden counting activity (see below for free printable)
- Play with our Flowers Families Game
- Life cycle of a flower (daffodil and sunflower)
- Parts of the Plant nomenclature cards printable (via The Helpful Garden)
- Cork stamped flower art project
- Paper plate flower art project
- Flower garden sensory bin invitation to play
- Dissect flowers and sort parts
- Visit our local daffodil garden
See my Spring: Flowers Pinterest Board for more details
MY NUMBER GARDEN – FREE PRINTABLE
I created this My Number Garden printable with the idea that the kids would add pom poms to each flower, and count the total number for each card, then write the numeral with a dry erase marker. This activity combines counting with number-to-numeral matching and some fine motor skills. You could also skip the numeral writing part and cut that off the card, leaving just the flowers to transfer pom poms. The kids could transfer pom poms with their fingers or with tweezers.
ALL THE BUGS. I have really enjoyed celebrating insects in a number of ways with my kids since we have begun our homeschooling adventure. It feels like we don’t let a month go by without doing some sort of insect related activity.
- The Big Book of Bugs
- The Alphabet Tree
- Inch by Inch
- In the Trees Honey Bees
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- Waiting For Wings
- Nature Anatomy (pages 68-81, 88-95)
- Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing (“Bless You”)
- Beehive Counting Cards (see below for free printable & details)
- Butterfly Symmetry Puzzle (see below for free printable & details)
- Invitation to Build an Insect with Natural Materials and Insect Silhouette Cards (see below for free printable & details)
- Insect Life Cycles (butterflies, bees, ants, ladybugs)
- Pattern-making with our hand-painted rock bugs
- Sensory bin to play with our hand-painted rock bugs (play/pretend ant hills, bee hives, etc.)
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar activities from Simply Learning
- Insect Symmetry Coloring Pages (via Art For Kids Hub)
- Visit a Botanical Garden to view butterflies
- Visit our local Honey Bee Farm
- Plant native plants for pollinators in our garden
- “Caterpillar Crawls Along” singing game from Games Children Sing and Play
See my Spring: Insects Pinterest Board for more details
BEEHIVE COUNTING CARDS – FREE PRINTABLE
Back for our Letter B Unit, I made these Beehive Counting Cards. We used our rock bees that I had painted, and also Honeycomb cereal to count and fill the cards. I printed them on yellow card stock paper and laminated them. You could also use bee mini erasers or bee stamps.
BUTTERFLY SYMMETRY PUZZLE – FREE PRINTABLE
For this activity I printed our Butterfly Symmetry Puzzle on to white card stock, laminated the page then cut out the squares of each butterfly. Then, I cut each butterfly in half, and glued the left half of the butterfly to a yellow piece of card stock. I then provided a basket of the right side of the butterflies to match to the sheet. A fun way to explore insect symmetry.
INVITATION TO BUILD AN INSECT – FREE PRINTABLE
This is a favorite activity! We have built ants, bees, butterflies, and spiders using only natural materials. For this spring I decided to create a whole set of Insect & Spider Silhouette Cards, which I’m sharing with you. So, this way the kids can select which insect they would like to try and create rather than me saying “we’re making bees today.”
If you do not have natural materials on-hand, you could use craft sticks and toothpicks and wood circles, or just cut circles, ovals, and lines for legs out of construction paper!
My husband is an avid birder & nature photographer, so we are pretty in to birds on a regular basis (we did a whole B is for Bird unit last summer), but I thought it would be fun to celebrate nesting birds in the spring. There are about 20 bird houses for nesting birds on the camp property where we live, and we will try to keep track of the nests, eggs, and baby birds in them throughout the spring.
- A Nest Is Noisy
- Mama Built a Little Nest
- Have You Heard The Nesting Bird?
- Nature Anatomy (pages 172-177)
- Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing (“The Little Bird Teachers”)
- Build bird nests with natural materials & play with Safari Ltd Backyard Birds
- Use nest printout (via Ms. K’s Kreations) and count and make eggs using play dough
- Life cycle of a bird
- View nesting birds in bird houses
- Bird coloring pages (I will print out appropriate birds as we see them in the woods)
- Paint wooden eggs
See my Spring: Nests Pinterest Board for more details
Rain, rainbows, wind, clouds, splashing in puddles, flying kites. LOVE.
- Spring from Circle of Seasons
- Worm Weather
- Singing in the Rain
- Winnie the Pooh and the Windy Day
- Toot & Puddle: You Are My Sunshine
- It’s Spring
- When Spring Comes
- When Rain Falls
- The Wind Blew
- Nature Anatomy (pages 44-53)
- Cloud art with cotton balls
- Rain in a jar
- Rainbow art and/or rainbow play dough
- Count raindrops with blue play dough
- Outdoor rain art
- Measure amount of rain outside
- Wind sock or wind chime craft
- Origami boats to float in puddles or the creek
- “Here is a Tree With Leaves So Green” singing game from Games Children Sing and Play
- Fly a kite, blow dandelions, play with pinwheels!!
See my Spring: Weather Pinterest Board for more details
We did a lot of fun gardening activities last spring, and I’m all for repeating exactly what we did. Why not?
- The Curious Garden
- Growing Vegetable Soup
- Compost Stew
- How Does My Garden Grow?
- Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt
- And Then It’s Spring
- Lola Plants A Garden
- Farm Anatomy (pages 64-65, 70-95)
- Life Cycle of a Carrot paired with The Carrot Seed
- Make a play dough garden using our free Vegetables 3-Part Cards
- Grow a bean sprout in a plastic bag
- Garden Tools 3-Part Cards (via Every Star is Different)
- Sort seeds
- Cut seed catalog pictures out and make a fun collage art piece
- Plan out our garden
See my Spring: Gardening Pinterest Board for more details
We’ve been hearing frogs already and I’m so excited to spot some turtles on property (my favorite animal). Last May we encountered a snapping turtle the size of a small child, no joke.
- Frog & Toad
- Over and Under the Pond
- All About Turtles
- Turtle Splash!
- The Hare and the Tortoise
- A Frog in the Bog
- Fish is Fish
- Nature Anatomy (pages 194-195, 202-203)
- Life Cycle of a Frog
- Build a pond Invitation to Play with play dough & natural materials (pictured above)
- Frog craft
- Turtle craft
- Frog & Toad coloring pages
- Find frogs & turtles in nature!
See my Spring: Pond Life Pinterest Board for more details
One Last Note
I know this seems like a ton of work … but because I did up-front prep work, I’m honestly feeling very relaxed about spring and hope to be able to enjoy the outdoors and free play as much as possible. On a stormy day or a day where we all need a little indoor boost, I’ll just go to my little arsenal of fun activities and grab something to do! Or, I’ll let the kids decide based on what’s available on our learning shelves.