I’m trying, I’m really trying to get my act together and get back on schedule with my activity plans, I promise! My intention has always been to get new plans out on the Thursday before the next week so that you have time to plan and gather supplies if necessary. For the most part my goal is to keep activities easy enough to just do on the spot, but for planners like me I like to have it out ahead of time. I could go into detail about all of the stuff going on the past 3 months keeping our family extra busy, but everyone is busy! So, it’s time for me to get back on track!
And, hello, Spring! Yes you read that right, we have moved into Spring! There’s just something about that word, Spring, that makes me want to sing it or say it extra loud, or hold the “i” obnoxiously long. And this is coming from someone who actually loves winter! I do believe I love the change of the seasons equally as much though, and maybe this is why my activities center so much around the seasons, because I looooove what the different seasons have to offer in learning and activities! Weather, tons of changes in nature, colors, and experiences, & holidays to name a few. Lots of opportunity for fresh activities and learning together. Now, I realize Spring doesn’t technically start until March 20th, but march to the beat of my own drum. Really it’s just to make activities and the weeks fit together nicely- so from March through May we are in Spring!
Here is the first plan of this season. I’m excited because this is the only season that we haven’t done yet! We launched last Summer and have almost completed a full year of fun and playing with our kids! I am so looking forward to that landmark and the possibility of adding to this information current research for parents and their kids! Join us on Facebook @realmeaningfulfamily to keep up with new posts, quotes, inspiration in parenting, research and news about the site that I don’t always get posted here.
Before I keep rambling about everything that is not the activity plan for the week, I should stop myself and share the new activities!
There are a couple of options with this activity. If it’s warm enough and you feel like making this an outside activity, head on out and collect some of the Springy things you are seeing (obviously without harming new growth). Maybe a green leaf, green grass, etc. Then, use what you find to glue onto a page and create a spring collage.
If it’s too chilly or you don’t have any signs of spring yet round up some magazines and go through and find pictures of spring to make your collage. For instance, find pictures of flowers, grass, the sun and clouds, and activities that we get to enjoy as the weather starts to change. Once you’ve found some pictures, gather the glue and construction paper and make a collage. Talk about the changes in the weather, trees, and grass as well as different animals you might start to see to introduce these activities. Keep in mind the age of your child. Young toddlers aren’t going to be able to go through and find this stuff. Instead use it as an opportunity to look at pictures, describe, point, describe some more, practice ripping for fine motor work. Then, you can help them with the glue and sticking on the pictures. Older children may be more active in picking out pictures and talking about what to expect, as well as tearing out pictures and doing their own gluing. Keep in mind your child’s experiences and what things will be completely new, whether concepts or materials, and tailor your words and descriptions to fit their level of understanding.
Stuff to Have
Spring concepts from magazines
Fine motor, colors, textures, science/change
There are two main concepts in the seed sort, fine motor and classification, which is an early math concept. This week the focus is the actual movement of sorting seeds. Add spoons, tongs, tweezers, and cups to utilize different fine motor muscles. They can sort them into a muffin tin or ice tray, but focus more on the movement of picking up the seeds, whether by their fingers, tongs, tweezers, or spoons. Younger children may be challenged just using their fingers. As children progress, they may want to try a spoon, then tongs, then tweezers. The smaller the object (ie. Tweezers) the harder they tend to be to hold. Keep talking about colors, shapes, and any other characteristics you notice as your child goes through this. What utensil is easier or do they prefer? What are these seeds for? What do they look like? Take advantage of simple activities, and draw out learning experiences from all areas of development.
Stuff to Have
Various seeds (larger seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, and corn seeds are good for this)
muffin tin or ice tray
Utensils: spoons, cups, tweezers, tongs, etc. (optional)
Fine motor, math (sorting), sensory
Early Science & Math
Make A Nest
Gather items from around the house and outside to spread around for birds to collect. Birds begin their nesting search well before we see many birds or nests starting to appear. Use the opportunity to talk about what process a bird goes through to make a nest and why they do it. Talk about what your “nest” is like, and how it is the same or different.
Stuff to Have
Yarn, scraps of fabric, grass, other light materials (be sure to use materials that are natural and not harmful to birds)
Early science, sensory
Cooking & Baking
You might be thinking why on earth does this woman make a plan and include free activities?! Well, it’s because when I am doing these activities, when I’m on top of it and we are doing something every day I need a break. Since cooking and baking activities are more involved than the others, I see this one is a good one to take a break from occasionally. I keep them free so that you can take a break or choose something that you’ve been wanting to try for a while.
Keep in mind we ARE NOT trying to create toddler “school!” Toddlers (1s &2s) and your preschooler (3s and maybe 4s) don’t learn the way school agers learn (actually I would argue that preschoolers and kindergarteners don’t either, but I won’t go there right now). All this is, is an opportunity to spruce up the activities you enjoy together, to add to the toys and fun things you have. For me, it was a way to make sure I was sitting down every day and doing new things with my kids. I want my priority to be playing with my kids, and doing it in the most productive way possible.
With that said, I encourage you to make sure you are doing large motor activities, things that get their big muscle groups firing like jumping, running, riding a trike, climbing. This is so important for building their strength, balance, and coordination, and I strongly believe that my kids are way better behaved when they have had some exercise!
Reading should also be a big part of your day! Go to the library and pick out some of your child’s favorite characters, read about spring and the change of the season, try some new books and add to your favorites. Reading is extremely multi-dimensional and is a must do every day!
Similar to reading are music and rhymes. These are so fun and so beneficial for language development and future reading skills. Do an internet search for Spring songs for kids. You will find a lot of great little rhymes and songs to add throughout the day. You don’t need to have a set “music time” that you sit down and sing, just sing them as you go about the day!