Spring in the Midwest—and much of the nation—is in full bloom. Your toddler or preschool-age child has probably noticed the change of seasons and may be ready to explore her blossoming world. As you are your child’s first teacher, now is a great opportunity to get her learning. Here are some fun seasons activities for preschoolers (or toddlers) that my own kids love.
1. Activate Prior Knowledge / Make a List
First, activate their prior knowledge by asking your child what he already knows about the season you are going to explore. The goal is to build upon what they already know and have observed. For example, last week, Big C and I started talking about the season of spring. I asked her, “What words do you think about when you hear the word spring?” She came up with five things: blue sky, wind, trees, sun, and flowers. We wrote those words down on a piece of paper. Then, we kept adding to the list each day when we were outside “exploring.”
2. Take a Nature Walk
Go on a nature walk around your yard or in a familiar city park. Tell your child to talk to you about what they see. Make sure to take a camera with you. Take several pictures of your child near trees and other plants. If you do this in each season, you can compare the pictures, noting the similarities and differences in the environment. For example, the same tree is in each picture, but in the winter, it has no leaves. In the spring, it has flowers. In the summer, it has green leaves, and in the fall, it has yellow leaves.
3. Make a Seasons Scrapbook
Use your pictures to make a seasons scrapbook. Put pictures of your nature walk, stickers, and words to describe each season in your scrapbook pages. Feel free to include holiday pages as well. When your book is finished or even as you work on it, you can look through its pages with your child. They will love reading a book with their own pictures and words in it.
4. Read About It
Buy or check out books from the library about seasons and holidays. Talk with your child as you read the stories. What do they predict will happen in the book? What words do they expect to hear? What pictures do they expect to see? What have they experienced or seen that happens in the book? For example, if the story shows a picture of a flower or tree you saw on your nature walk, you might ask your child, “Have you seen those flowers anywhere?” Have a conversation about how their experiences connect to the story.
5. Paint Pictures
In addition to making a scrapbook after your nature walk, you can also paint pictures of each season together. Hang them up in your child’s playroom. Your child will be proud of their artwork, and it will give you more opportunities to compare the seasons with your child. (Helpful hint: Sponges are great painting tools for grass, snow, and trees!)
6. Sing Songs
Learn songs about the seasons or holidays. Listen to them in the car, or sing them together around the house. You can even put arm motions or dance moves with the words.
Children are naturally curious creatures. You can foster their curiosity by allowing them to explore their world. Not only that but making books together, reading, painting, and talking about the seasons builds your child’s literacy, science, and fine motor skills. It really is worth your time, and it’s fun time together too!
Q: Do you have any creative ideas for teaching your child about the seasons?