Happy March! This month's calendar will provide all educators, parents, guardians, and educarers with ideas for getting ready for spring to sprout - quickly, slowly, or in spurts :). While many of my friends know I'm always holding out for one more snow, I'm also excited to watch our neighborhood become more colorful and vibrant as flowers bloom and animals come out to play. Last season, I didn't start germinating seeds until April (or...late April), so part of this month's focus is to help us all start a garden on time! We had such a blast growing carrots last year - we actually still have a few in our pot that we need to pull. I cannot wait to start the process again with HG! There is a book list and materials list, as always. I combined the materials into one list this month as many of them will be on hand. I think the biggest thing we might need to go out and purchase are our plant seeds! If you follow along with the calendar in order, this week or next weekend would be perfect for getting seeds :). In my research to add to the book list, I found Sing a Song of Seasons by Crow, Waters, and Preston-Gannon, a book that has a poem for each day of the year, that I can't wait to use and was reminded to get Abracadabra! It's Spring by O'Brien and Gal from the library again because HG loved it last year. And, even though I'd be happy with another snow, I'm ready to pull out Spring is Here and put away When Winter Comes (both by Henkes and Dronzek). What are your favorite spring stories? Take a picture and share it with us on Instagram using @watchwonderbloom and #watchwonderbloom.
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Here's your weekly overview for this month's calendar and some suggestions on using this calendar with younger kiddos!
Week 1: Garden Tools - Design your garden and plan how to tackle the task of planting by trying out different garden tools. See if you can match form to function by thinking about what garden tools and kitchen utensils scoop and scrape! With little ones, think even smaller. Can they scoop yogurt or water? What do they do with a comb? Sit in your yard or garden on a blanket and reach for the grass, look up at the sky, and snuggle up to read a story together. At the end of the week, try designing your own garden tool or painting a pot for your patio! Next Sunday morning is Spring Forward, so take time to notice a sunrise and sunset as we'll track how this changes this month.
Week 2: Seeds of Spring - This week, start thinking about how plants grow. Can you imagine that entire huge trees come from teeny seeds? Make a 3D garden and use loose parts to poke in roots and seeds and to create model flowers. Then, explore the parts of seeds and the germinating process. Try some seed snacks and make one for the birds! With littler ones, act out and try out the seed-needs yoga ideas together. You can ball up small together and pitter-patter rain on your baby's head. Go outside and feel soil and look for the Sun. Crouch down low and jump up or stand up slow and say, "Some plants grow FAST and some grow slooooowwwwww!". Bird feeders can be made in bags - once you spread nut butter or an alternative on the toilet paper tube, your little one can shake the tube and birdseed in a bag to make less mess. Try sprouting seeds on sponges and focus less on fancy names and more on noticing changes each day and looking closely and feeling the wet sponge.
Week 3: Ring in Spring - This week, we'll celebrate the start of spring with poetry, a tea party, and phenology. Phenology is the study of timings in plant life cycles and the data we learn from studying phenology sheds interesting light on the impacts of climate change: it is a problem when plants bloom too early or too late for the insects that pollinate them, which changes ecosystems; and temperature increases reduce maximum plant growth and reproduction - potentially reducing crop yield (Want to know more? Head here). Soooo... how do we study phenology with kiddos? Go look at weeds/wildflowers! Visit your backyard or a patch of grass down your block. Track what kinds of wildflowers you see, how many buds you notice, etc and head back a few times in the next weeks and look for change! Kiddos will practice close observation and focus. You or they can record what they see. I highly recommend taking pictures of your patch of wildflowers/weeds so you can use that to help you notice changes. Read some poems and try writing your own spring inspired poem and enjoy some tea outside to celebrate the start of spring! This week with little ones, focus on the colors and textures of different wildflowers. Maybe collect a few and put them in water in muffin trays and then freeze them - sit outside in the sun and throw, roll, or watch the ice melt and take another look at the flowers. Simply read poems, exaggerating alliteration and rhyme.
Week 4: 101 Bucket Ideas - This is partially a repeat from last year. I'm obsessed with buckets. Bringing them on walks and filling them with water and letting HG stir while I cooked changed our lives :). The start of this week is World Water Day - a day that is designed to spread awareness and action about access to clean drinking water. In developing countries, the average woman and child walks 6k or 3.7mi to get water A DAY - which reduces female education rates and increases malnutrition. Since we're focusing on our own gardens, try carrying water from the farthest water source in your house to your germinating trays. What if you had to go mucccchhhh farther than that? Then, play with gross motor skills, balance, swings, and size. End the week by recording what brings each family member joy! With little ones, most days are pretty easy to little-kid-ify. For World Water Day, focus on playing with water and scooping it and then drying up spills with a cloth and wringing it out carefully to conserve water (also builds muscle and motor skills).
Week 5: Spring Nature Table - Have fun combining all that you've created and learned this month to create a nature table together! With little ones, you might do all the creating and then let them play! Be sure to add any treasures they found outside this month!
I can't wait to see what you and the kiddos in your life do this month as you #watchwonderbloom! Remember to take pics and share :). THANK YOU!