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?
- 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.
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?