Feed Me Books Friday: Activities for Observing the Seasons

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Even When Spring is Being Stubborn
I’ve lived in the same city for 25 years, and we’ve never had clearly defined seasons. Much as I’d like to think a date on the calendar means it’s time to bring out the spring wardrobe, I know better. Doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed that the first week of spring has been gloomy, rainy, and colder than the several weeks prior that were supposedly winter! So how do I explain to B that spring is more than just a flower on the calendar square?

Look Around!

Though we may not live where crocus in the melting snow signal spring’s arrival, or red and orange leaves blanket the ground in the fall, we can still find outdoor indicators of the seasons if we look closely. We’ve been noticing buds appearing on the trees during our neighborhood walks, and B has compared color, shape, and even scent! He noticed late last week that the tree in our front yard is now full enough of buds and tiny leaves that he can hide behind it again without being spotted through the branches. The urn of lilies I received from the boys for Mother’s Day last year spent the winter on the patio, and with no encouragement what-so-ever from me it is full of lush new green growth. Choosing a particular tree, bush, or field to observe as the seasons change is an excellent way to help children become aware of weather, life cycles, and the passage of time.

  • Join your scientific observation with scientific expression by drawing or painting the object of your attention several times a year.
  • Develop language and vocabulary skills by drafting a list of descriptive terms for the object, then comparing and contrasting the descriptors that apply during different seasons. (The tree may always be tall, but it is only sometimes full or fragrant.)
  • Photograph the object you are observing each month on the same date, and create a time-line of seasonal changes. Older children (and more organized parents) might even photograph once a week to observe more minute changes. A collection of such photographs would make an attractive calendar display or computer screensaver.
  • Ask an imaginative child to consider how the object feels about the season and weather changes. Use as a writing prompt for older children or take dictation.

Just Ask!
Where Is Spring?
If you’re not sure where to start with your hunt for spring, pick up a copy of Where Is Spring? by Yang-Huan. Orginally a poem written in Chinese, Yang-Huan lyrically describes the sights, sounds, and feelings of the arrival of spring. Illustrations by H.Y. Huang and A. Yang add to the airy and fresh feeling of the book. Each page highlights different spring details, and on several pages the text becomes part of the illustration as it flows down river, meanders through a field, or blows on the wind. The simple storyline begins with a boy looking for spring, and he relies on his kite overhead to “ask around,” and assist with the search. Each response offers a different poetic personification of spring, such as “mopping the sky bright and blue,” “putting new clothes on the fields,” and “smiling on the faces of flowers.” The language and the pictures are just beautiful and you’ll enjoy seeing spring arrive in the pages of this book even if it hasn’t arrived at your house yet.

Appropriate for: toddlers, preschoolers, primary grades.

What signs have you seen of changing seasons? Are you recording them in some way?

Look Around


Wonder Mom March 25, 2011 at 10:45 AM  

Oh, that sounds like a LOVELY book...

JDaniel4's Mom March 25, 2011 at 12:13 PM  

I love the idea of photographing an object during each season.

Brimful Curiosities March 26, 2011 at 9:01 AM  

Our pussy willow is what we watch for signs that spring is near.

Anonymous,  March 27, 2011 at 1:25 PM  

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Anonymous,  March 31, 2011 at 4:55 AM  

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Tracey M. April 2, 2011 at 3:14 PM  

I love this post about Spring. We are finally back to warmer temps here and love watching things coming up. We also listened to fun books about Spring at our library story time. Yea Spring!

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