Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring has sprung!

The spring equinox this year actually coincided with the warming of our cold weather here in Minnesota, and much melting of snow. That's not always the case, so this year we reveled in the diminishing white drifts and enjoyed feeling the warmth of the sun again. For this week, I had originally decided to start with the book "Spring Things" by Bob Raczka, but that made too many books that had too little text, so I left it out in favor of "The Tiny Seed".

Book 1: Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck by Lisa Westberg Peters
This is a perfect book for the transition from winter to spring. Especially for us in Minnesota where it can change within a day (and then change back to winter, and then to spring, winter, and then spring again). A little duck flies north too early and lands on a frozen lake. But never fear, his warm thoughts cause the weather to warm up and spring arrives! Few words on each page, and there's an echo of three words (duck, duck, duck; cold, cold, cold; etc) on each page that I thought might be distracting, but the kids really enjoyed that extra touch.

Book 2: Mud by Mary Lyn Ray
Another book with minimal text on each page, describing the mud that results from the melting of winter into spring. The wonderful illustrations show a boy reveling in the mud - starting off in shoes, then disposing of them and enjoying the squishyness with his bare feet.  Before I read this book, I asked the kids what kind of boots they wore to go out in the mud with and told them to keep an eye out for what color boots this boy was wearing. A few of them got the joke at the end - he wasn't wearing any boots!

Book 3: The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Classic book about growing from a tiny seed into a flower. Of the group of seeds that begin the book, none of them survive except the tiniest seed, which grows to a flower.  Not just any flower, of course, but "the biggest flower anyone had ever seen". And the seeds come out of that flower and the cycle begins again. I used this book to talk about what seeds need in order to grow: sun, water, and dirt. We saw how some of the seeds didn't get all three of these, so they didn't grow. This provided a good transition to the activity we were doing. You would think someone planned this out!

Activity: Planting seeds
I gave each of the children a small dixie cup that they decorated on the outside. Then we filled them with damp potting soil. Then everyone got to plant either a bean or a pea. I figured those were the largest seeds with the shortest germinating time that I could think of. Plus I had some left over from my own garden last year. Yay for cheap activities! So we had the "dirt" need covered, and I did get out a plant mister and water each of their cups to fulfill the "water" need before they set their pots on the windowsill for the "sun". With the open storytimes, I had the kids take the pots home with them, but I had the daycares leave theirs here, and by the next week we had little tops peeking out, and then in two weeks, we had bean plants nearly half a foot tall! I sent the plants home at that point. A little reluctantly, since it's been fun watching this greenness growing on the desk next to me, but they're getting too big for their cups and need to be set free.
 Theme used week of March 22, 2010.

Next week: Easter is coming, with a real bunny!

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